Football fans rejoiced as the prep gridiron season began Friday night with all seven 3AA South Region football teams in action. STGNews had reporters, photographers and videographers all over the state following our local teams as the 2014 football season began. A lot of good things happened on the field, though 3AA South teams only managed a 3-4 record on the night. Here’s our Breakdown from Week 1.
Snow Canyon 42, Copper Hills 35 (OT)
Written by Andy Griffin
The Warriors won’t get any style points for this win, with a multitude of penalties and soft defense late in regulation. But what Snow Canyon did get was a victory over a 5A opponent.
“It’s always good to go out there and get that first win and make sure we set the tone for what we want done the rest of the year,” SC coach Marcus Matua said. “It was good to see some challenge for us today, to see what we’re made of.”
Chance Thorkleson out-jumped a defender on a pass from Jake Frei on the first play of overtime and walked into the end zone for a 42-35 lead. After an interference penalty, Snow Canyon’s defense held the Grizzlies on four plays, sparking a celebration for the large home crowd, which sat through a game that had 22 penalties and lasted nearly three and a half hours.
The Warriors had led 35-21, but Copper Hills fought back with two TDs in the game’s final four minutes to tie the score. Tanner Fox found Bryson Reed from 12 yards out for the tying score with 17 seconds left.
It was definitely a game of runs. The first half saw two touchdowns called back, one for each team. SC led early on a 12-yard TD from Frei to Thorkleson, but then watched as the Grizzlies scored 21 straight points in the second quarter behind the passing of Fox.
But while the second quarter belonged to Fox and Reed, the game belonged to Frei and Thorkleson. The two paired up for 247 yards and four touchdowns. Shockingly, Copper Hills seemed unwilling to double-team the lanky wide receiver.
“We kept playing offense and Jake got me the ball,” Thorkleson said. “After a while, it got a little surprising (that CH didn’t double-team), but I’ll take it and go with it.”
The duo has been competing together since Pee Wee football and Frei said he was more than happy to keep flinging the ball toward his buddy.
“Chance caught the ball, so I just kept feeding it to him,” Frei said. “Our line did a great job and we just kept feeding Chance.”
Down 21-7 at the half, Snow Canyon came out with both guns blazing in the third quarter. The Grizzlies had four offensive possessions in the third quarter and all four of them ended on fourth-down punts. Meanwhile, SC scored on two of its three third quarter possessions, both on TD passes to Thorkleson (37 and 39 yards).
With the game tied at 21-21, Snow Canyon finished off another drive a minute into the fourth quarter with a 1-yard dive by Sam Slivers. A missed PAT left the score at 27-21.
But the Warriors weren’t done, capping their 28-point scoring run when Josh Barnes intercepted Fox just inside SC territory and made a Madden-esque return of 53 yards for a TD. He broke a half-dozen tackles on the return and even threw in a juke or two and one sweet spin move. Frei found Jackson Nowatzke for the two-point conversion to make it 35-21 with 11:02 left in the game.
CH failed on its next possession, but got the ball back on an SC fumble with Grizzlies 38-yard line with 5:18 to play. Six plays later, Fox found Dallas Brenneman from 10 yards out to make it 35-28 with 3:39 to play.
With just one timeout left, the Grizzlies tried an onside kick, but failed. However, the Warriors were forced to punt with 1:43 to play as CH took over at its 49-yard line. ON a third-and-9 play, Fox hit Daniel Sheehan in the middle of the field for a big gain. The Grizz had the ball at the SC 11-yard line with 1:06 left. The Warrior defense stiffened, but on fourth-and-11 at the 12, Fox found Reed for the tying score. It was Reed’s fourth TD catch of the game.
Frei ended up with 334 yards through the air on 16 of 29 passing. Fox was 14 of 31 for 286 yards.
The Warriors, 1-0, play host to another 5A school, Cottonwood, next Friday.
Highlights produced by Dallas Griffin
Springville 37, Dixie 30
Written by Darren Cole
Down a touchdown with nine seconds left and 60 yards to the end zone, Dixie quarterback Ammon Takau took the snap, made his reads, eluded two tacklers and was finally flushed by a third. Takau tucked the ball, ran right, then cut left across the field, but ran out of room on the opponent’s sideline and ultimately out of time.
On their initial drive, the Flyers moved the ball, but were unable to capitalize, turning it over on downs after driving 48 yards to the Springville 25-yard line. The teams then traded punts, leading to the Red Devils final drive of the first quarter. Springville quarterback Zachary Gordon and running back Scott Averett took turns carrying the ball, culminating in the first touchdown of the game shortly after the second quarter began. The Red Devils led 7-0.
After another three and out by the home team, Springville sustained another long drive and Averett scored his second touchdown of the game to give the Red Devils a 14-point cushion.
Takau finally got the Flyers into the end zone late in the first half by completing six consecutive passes, the last a 35-yard screen and scamper by running back Tre Miller. Dixie still trailed by seven with 4:54 remaining in the half.
“We were a little out of sync to begin the game,” said Dixie wide receiver Logan Schweitzer. “I think once we got the early game jitters out, we settled down and played better.”
On the ensuing possession, Gordon found wide receiver Parker Johnston for a 30-yard strike to set up a Bryce Nelson field goal. Takau reciprocated for Dixie finding two receivers for 42 yards on the next possession and Dixie pulled to within one score again on a McLane Keenan field goal with 38 seconds left. At halftime the Red Devils led 17-10.
“We got off to a slow start offensively,” said Dixie head coach Blaine Monkres. “A combination of things had us out of sync. The offense flowed much better in the second half.”
Coming out of halftime, the Red Devils got two big plays — the first a screen pass to fullback Devyn Tate for 19 yards. Slotback Parker Johnston then ran a counter for 29 yards to the Dixie 5-yard line. Gregory ran it in to put the Red Devils up 13 after the missed PAT.
The teams traded punts before the Flyers would again put together a long drive. Takau found Logan Schweitzer on an out and up for 50 yards to put Dixie in the red zone. Two plays later, Takau faked the handoff on a sweep to the left and ran untouched to the end zone for 15 yards. With 5:15 left in the third, Dixie had again pulled to within one score, 23-17.
After holding the Red Devils to another three and out, Takau drove Dixie 37 yards in six plays to set up another Keenan field goal, this one from 40 yards out. With nine seconds remaining in the third, the Springville lead had dwindled to three, 23-20.
The Dixie defense again held, handing the ball over to their offense in good field position at the Springville 48-yard line. Takau capitalized immediately, first finding Bret Barben for a short gain, then picking up 12 yards on the ground. From the 31-yard line, Takau bounced off two rushers and found Konner Aitken in the end zone to give Dixie its first lead at the 10:20 mark of the fourth, 27-23.
On the next possession, the Red Devils got a big play, again on a counter by Johnston for 76 yards to the Dixie 1-yard line. Gregory plunged in on a sneak to put Springville back up 29-27 after the failed two-point conversion.
“Our defense had problems with the counter and reverse plays tonight,” said Monkres. “It is correctable. Several of the Region 9 teams run those plays. We will break down the film and fix that this week.”
On the next possession, the Dixie drive stalled, but not before Takau put the Flyers in position for another Keenen field goal from 45 yards out. Dixie led 30-29 with 7:20 left in the game.
“Our kicking game was a positive for us tonight,” Monkres said. “McLane (Keenan) hit two field goals from distance, got us several touchbacks on kickoffs, and had some great punts. It is nice to know that we just have to get the ball across midfield to put us in scoring position.”
The first turnover of the game would come on Springville’s next possession. A Dixie defensive back stepped in front of his receiver to intercept Gregory’s pass with 3:58 left in the game. The Flyers took over at their own 46-yard line.
The Red Devil defense held Dixie to a three and out and after a short return on the punt, Springville took over on its 42-yard line with just over three minutes to go. A Gregory pass combined with a penalty put the Red Devils at the Dixie 15. Springville scored on the next play to go back in front 37-30 after a successful two-point conversion with 1:40 to play in the game.
Dixie was unable to put together a scoring drive before time ran out.
“We did not lose to a bad team,” said Monkres. “I think as a team we played well. I am proud of our kids and the composure they had coming back after being down two scores.”
Takau said it was just a few small things that made the difference.
“With the inexperience we have, the leadership on both sides of the ball was there tonight,” he said. “We will get better, iron some things out and improve each week.”
For the game, the Red Devils had 570 yards of total offense including 337 on the ground. Gregory completed 11 of 20 passes for 233 yards and one interception. Takau completed 23 of 41 passes for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns.
For Springville, Johnston led all rushers with 127 yards on four carries. Gregory had 107 yards on 21 carries. Averett carried the ball 15 times for 78 yards. For Dixie, Takau had 73 yards on 17 carries.
For Springville, Garrett Clark had three catches for 94 yards. Bret Barben led the Flyers in receiving with six catches for 82 yards. Schweitzer also had six catches for 64 yards. Miller had 4 catches for 64 yards.
The Flyers will travel to Lehi next week.
Highlights produced by Samantha Tommer
Desert Hills 35, Orem 13
Written by AJ Griffin
PLEASANT GROVE — Desert Hills put on an impressive defensive clinic in the first half, but ultimately it was the offense that sealed the deal in the Thunder’s 35-13 win over Orem Friday at Pleasant Grove High School.
After pitching a shutout, 14-0, in the first half, DH watched its lead shrink to 14-7 and 21-13 before running away with the win in the final quarter. In the end, Orem could not overcome five turnovers.
After a skillful defensive performance that included several turnovers and a defensive TD all in the first half, it looked like the reigning champs were on their way to easy victory. The Tigers, however, were not done fighting. Down 14-0, Orem’s defense bogged down the Thunder offense in the third quarter and QB Tucker Camp and company clawed their way back into the game.
After a couple of exchanges of punts early in third quarter, Camp led the Tigers on an impressive drive, capping it with an 18 yard pass to Kody Codner to cut the lead to 14-7. Orem then held the Thunder to three and out and once again had the ball. Orem faithful were ecstatic and it appeared that the Tigers would once again march down the field and tie up the game.
Tucker and company marched to midfield, but lost the ball on a rushing play. The Thunder took advantage of the miscue and recovered the fumble to thwart Orem’s rally to tie the game. DH signal-caller, Nick Warmsley got away from the defense on the first play of the drive for a 30-yard gain, later setting up Nephi Sewell for a 5-yard TD run as an answer to Orem’s earlier score.
“First of all, we have good leaders,” Sewell said. “And our four captains bring us together and they just called us together and said ‘Alright, we need to get going and we can’t let them get the momentum.’ Then, we just took over the game. Boogie (Sewell) told me to follow him on the TD run and I trust him 99 percent of the time, that one percent I don’t know, but I just followed him and I got in for the touchdown on that one.”
Orem sputtered on offense on the next possession, but took advantage of a Thunder turnover on the ensuing drive. With great field position, Camp and company marched up the field and scored after Camp dodged a defender in the backfield and threw a 29-yard fade again to Kodner. Orem’s PAT attempt was missed, but the Tigers once again were in striking distance only down 21-13.
Warmsley led the Thunder once again down the field, scrambling several times for big yardage rushing and connecting with Sewell on a shovel pass that gained 21 yards. That set up Bridger Cowdin for his second TD of the day. Orem’s attempt to answer on the next drive was unsuccessful. The Thunder was then able to ice the game on a 23-yard Warmsley to Mason Palmer strike to blow things open at 35-13.
Desert Hills head coach Carl Franke said when the game got close, he trusted his guys and just let his players work it out on their own. He pointed out that each time Orem scored, his team was able to answer back with a score of its own.
“I didn’t tell them anything,” Franke said. “They are gamers. They are gonna play all four quarters, it won’t matter. They will grind and grind and we will never be out of a game. I don’t have to tell them anything. There was no giving up. It was like ‘Hey we are going,’ and they wanted to get back and answer. They never ever gave up and they just kept playing.”
When things got tight, Franke said his team was able to recover from some mistakes they had made earlier.
“It was our miscue (defensively in the second half) that helped Orem get back in the game,” Franke said. “They were running the zone read and our end was trying to play two guys and that’s when Orem was able to score.”
Badge Morris, who was responsible for scoring a defensive TD by falling on a fumble in the end zone in the first half, agreed with his coach.
“We came out a little flat in the second half, but we fixed it and we started to read the quarterback because they were getting us on that read and we fixed it and had a good game,” he said. “We had a lot of faith, and we put a lot of practice in and we studied a lot of film and we knew Orem like a book, and that’s how we were able to come away with it.”
The game was played at Pleasant Grove High School because orem’s home field was being re-turfed and was not yet ready to use.
Desert Hills will continue its road swing and travel to Foothill, Nev., next Friday.
Skyline 24, Hurricane 14
Written by Brett Brostrom
Only one head coach in this match-up Friday night could start his career with a win. New Skyline head man Justin Thompson was extremely proud of his boys as they rallied to a 24-14 victory over the Hurricane Tigers.
Hurricane didn’t have an answer for Skyline quarterback Braxton Chipman and his number one wide receiver, Luke Morris. Chipman completed 15 of 19 pass attempts for 228 yards and two touchdowns, with Morris accounting for 5 receptions, 88 yards and a touchdown.
“We were really strong in the air tonight,” Thompson said. “We also ran the ball very well .” Running back Aleck Russon ran for 146 yards and a touchdown.
“We feel like our offensive system is pretty solid, although we’ve got a lot of things we need to clean up. Just play a little bit cleaner overall. Braxton was fantastic. He was struggling getting the snap at times, and that number 5 of Hurricane (Jeremiah Ieremia) is a heck of a player and was getting in his face a couple of times and he stood right in there and did a heck of a job, I’m really proud of him.”
The game started out as a defensive battle. Neither team budging until late in the first quarter, when Chipman threw a 61-yard bomb to Morris. Skyline ended the quarter kicking the ball to Hurricane’s Jayden Long who fumbled and Skyline recovered. That gave the Eagles the ball and the advantage deep in to Hurricane territory. The next play, Hurricane made up for the special teams error with an interception from Kyle Williams.
Offensive errors and penalties led to a Hurricane three and out, giving Skyline the ball back and leading to another Skyline touchdown pass from Chipman to Colton Limpert for 18 yards.
Skyline led 14-0 at the half, but Hurricane ran the ball strong with its first possession and Nick McDaniels scored from 14-yards out, followed by a blocked extra point, making the score 14-6.
Skyline answered right back and scored on its next possession. The Tigers defense gave up 35 yards in penalties on the drive and Chipman passed for 31 yards to give Skyline a 21-6 lead.
Despite the 15-point deficit and the fourth quarter looming, Hurricane wasn’t going down without a fight. With a fumble forced by Russel Cox, Tyson Yardley recovered the ball with great midfield position. The Tigers rushed for 50 yards and ended up in the end zone behind a 12-yard carry from Jeremiah Ieremia and a two-point conversion by Ieremia, cutting the score down to 21-14 with 8:25 left in the game.
Skyline’s next possession got them down to the Hurricane 1-yard line, but the Tigers defense kept the Eagles out of the end zone and held them to a field goal with 1:31 left on the clock. Hurricane got the ball back on the 20-yard line after a touchback, but the Tigers couldn’t get the passing completions they needed to get in a position to score.
“We had some personnel mix-ups tonight” said Hurricane coach Steve Pearson. “We didn’t get guys on and off the field fast enough and that’s something we can clean up. In the heat of your first game, you’re definitely going to have situations like that. And that’s something that’s on us as coaches. I don’t think it was nerves as much as we just have new logistics to work on and that’s something we will get figured out.”
Judge Memorial 18, Pine View 16
Most people figured this one would be a shootout as Judge won state averaging nearly 38 points a game last year and Pine View put up 35 a contest last season. Instead, the defenses took advantage of the pouring rain and turned the game into a proverbial pitcher’s duel.
The Panthers nearly had the last laugh after closing an 18-9 deficit to 18-16 on a Kody Wisltead pass to Preston Allen with 2:02 left in the game. Pine View then attempted — and recovered — an onside kick. That set up a nice drive down to the JM 13-yard line. But Ethan Baer’s field goal sailed wide right with under 20 seconds to play as the Bulldogs held on for the win. Baer had hit from almost the exact same distance earlier in the game.
Judge led most of the game after an early 60-yard TD run by Michael Kearns had made it 7-0. Pine View scored on a short TD pass in the first quarter, but the PAT was no good.
The Bulldogs upped their lead to 10-6 just before halftime on a 48-yard field goal by Sean Hemmersmeier. Baer cut into that lead early in the fourth quarter on Baer’s 29-yard field goal, making it 10-9. Judge countered with a nice drive, capped with a 4-yard TD run by quarterback Ayden Auer. Auer then hit Sport Falamaka with a two-point conversion pass to make it a two-score lead at 18-9.
Pine View responded with an 80-yard drive with Wilstead completing five passes for 67 of those yards, including the strike to Allen. Wilstead finished with over 300 yards passing despite the weather.
The Panthers head to Nevada to take on Agassi Prep next week.
Cedar 20, Grantsville 16
CEDAR CITY – Cedar got its running game going against a tough Cowboys defense — but not until late in the game.
The Redmen led 7-0 early, then gave up 16 straight, including three field goals by Ethan Steinfeldt. But fullback Brock Oldroyd and quarterback Brecken Lewis each scored short TDs to close out the game and give coach Todd Peacock’s team the season-opening win.
Jeff Rogers scored TD early in the game, but Cedar found itself in a 16-7 hole late in the third quarter. Two epic drives turned the tide and the Cedar defense pitched a fourth-quarter shutout.
Provo 19, Payson 8
The Lions led 2-0 and 8-6 in the first half after a safety and an 18-yard Preston Little run. But the Bulldogs ran the ensuing kickoff back 85 yards for a TD off the speed of return man Chase Heiner to seize a 13-8 lead at the half.
Rival Salem Hills hosts Payson next Friday night.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.