Desert Hills and Hurricane are the only two teams left without a region loss after Friday night’s intense action in the 3AA South Region. Both teams protected their home turfs and used a scoring run to beat their foes, with Desert Hills notching 22 straight points against Pine View and Hurricane throwing up 34 unanswered against Dixie. In case you’re wondering, the two teams meet in the last game of the season in Hurricane.
Meanwhile, Snow Canyon edged a tough Payson team by forcing six turnovers. In fact, the winners Friday night all did it by winning the takeaway battle. Desert Hills was plus-4 (5-1), Hurricane was plus-3 (3-0) and Snow Canyon was plus-4 (6-2). When coaches say turnovers are the key to the game, it would be wise to listen, wouldn’t it?
St. George News writers Andy Griffin and Darren Cole, photographers Dave Amodt and Robert Hoppie and videographers Samantha Tommer and Dallas Griffin hustled around the region to give us this breakdown of Week 6 of the 3AA South football season.
Here are our reports:
Desert Hills 35, Pine View 21
Written by Andy Griffin
The No. 1 Thunder forced five turnovers and turned most of those into points en route to a 35-21 victory over crosstown rival Pine View Friday night. The Panthers lost the ball in almost every way possible, with two interceptions, a muffed punt, a fumble on a running play and a fumble on a passing play. Pine View also had a long snap sail over the punter’s head, which led to a Desert Hills score.
“We practice that, we practice creating turnovers,” Desert Hills coach Carl Franke said. “First guy there holds the guy up, next guy in’s yanking at the ball. That’s something we pride ourselves on and we do a pretty good job at it.”
Big 305-pound Boogie Sewell, doing his best Refrigerator Perry impersonation, rushed in the go-ahead score against second-ranked Pine View with 10:54 left in the game after a bad snap on a punt gave the Thunder the ball at the Panther 1-yard line.
Eight minutes later, Bridger Cowdin ran in the clinching score after the fifth Pine View turnover, a Nephi Sewell interception at the Pine View 5-yard line. Sewell, Boogie’s cousin, actually scored on the interception, but his helmet came off and the play was ruled dead at the 5.
Pine View had led 21-13 after Kody Wilstead hit Blake Ence a 36-yard TD pass with 5:05 left in the third quarter, capping a 70-yard drive.
Desert Hills answered with an impressive drive of its own. After a long kick return by Stetson Wood, the Thunder had the ball near midfield. A few plays later,Nick Warmsley hit Mason Palmer with a 13-yard TD strike. The two-point conversion was good on a pass from Warmsley to Brayden Bailey, tying the game at 21-21 with 2:10 left in the third.
Pine View got the ball back, but had a three-and-out. On fourth down, the long snapper hiked it over punter Mitch Stephenson’s head. The Pine View punter kicked the ball out of the end zone, but he booted it while it was still at the 1-yard line and the officials ruled it would either be a safety or Desert Hills’ ball at the 1. The Thunder, of course, took the ball and punched it in with Boogie Sewell.
Desert Hills’ defense ruled the rest of the night and the Thunder improved to 6-0 on the year, 3-0 in 3AA South.
“Our defense is amazing,” Warmsley said. “Our line is amazing, too. I love Desert Hills. It’s just awesome here.”
Desert Hills opened the game with a 30-yard field goal by Christian Cottle. The TD was set up by a muffed punt return by the Panthers. Pine View took its first lead early in the second quarter on a Wilstead TD pass to Bladen Hosner of 26 yards.
Three minutes before halftime, Warmsley hit Bailey on a tight end post for a 21-yard score after a Pano Tiatia fumble gave the Thunder excellent field position and it was 10-7 at the half.
“The coach said to me ‘Don’t be afraid to be the hero,’ this week and it just kind of stuck with me,” Bailey said. “I just tried my hardest to do that for the team. It’s scary for the rest of the state. We haven’t played our best game yet, so when we do, it’s going to be good.”
The Panthers grabbed the lead back on the first drive of the second half and it took less than two minutes. Wilstead hit Colton Miller from 11 yards out to make it 14-10 with 10:10 to go in the third.
Four minutes later, Cottle hit a field goal to cut it to 14-13, but Pine View answered. DH committed its only turnover of the game on a muffed punt that set PV up for Ence’s long TD catch, making it 21-13 with 5:05 left in the third. That was the last decent drive of the game for the Panthers.
Pine View QB Wilstead, a BYU commit, got injured on the Sewell interception play, but did walk off the field. He took a shot to the midsection on the pass.
Wilstead passed for three TDs, but also threw his first two interceptions of the season.
Pine View, 4-2 overall and 2-1 in region, got 105 yards rushing from running back Pano Tiatia. The Panthers had 303 yards and 21 first downs. Desert Hills had 259 yards and 12 first downs.
DH plays at Dixie next Friday. Pine View hosts Cedar next week.
Highlights produced by Dallas Griffin
Hurricane 34, Dixie 14
Written by Darren Cole
HURRICANE – It all changed on one big play for Hurricane and Dixie.
Tied at 7-7, the Flyers were once again knocking at the door with a first and 10 at the Hurricane 11-yard line. Dixie quarterback Jaden Harrison handed to wideout McLane Keenen for a sweep to the left. A surging defensive line pushed Keenen wider than he wanted before he was hit by the Tiger defenders. The ball popped loose and cornerback Noah Elison, who was swarming to the play, picked up the ball and ran it back 80 yards before being horse-collared at the Dixie 3-yard line.
“I was closing on the tackle when the ball just popped out in front of me,” said Elison. “I scooped it up and went the other way. I must have had too much ice cream today though, because (the Dixie player) caught me before I could get across the goalline.”
Hurricane quarterback Kaden Langston converted the turnover into points with a sneak on the next play. That play would turn the tide as the TIgers would score three more touchdowns before Dixie would break the run in the second half.
Dixie’s usual starter at quarterback, Ammon Takau, dressed out, but at gametime was scratched from the line-up.
“We prepared for Takau to play,” said Hurricane strong safety J.D. Stanworth. “We did not find out until two minutes before game time that he would not play.”
Harrison, who took over for the injured Takau last week in the fourth quarter against Pine View, took the initial drive down the field and found wideout Bret Barben for the first touchdown of the game at the 10:09 mark of the first quarter.
It did not take long for Hurricane to answer. Jeremiah Ieremia caught a Langston screen pass, broke through several tackles and rumbled 68 yards up the Dixie sideline to paydirt. The score was knotted at 7-7 with 8:25 to go in the first quarter.
After Langston’s touchdown, Ieremia would sandwich a Nick McDaniel touchdown with two rushing touchdowns of his own, but not before fumbling a potential third touchdown. Hurricane defensive back Tyson Yardley intercepted Harrison on the next possession at midfield.
Two minutes later Ieremia bulldozed his way to the 1-yard line. As he stretched out the ball to get it across the goal line, it was jarred loose and recovered by the Dixie defense.
After forcing a three-and-out, Hurricane drove once again, this time ending with a 13-yard touchdown run by Ieremia with 5:59 left in the half. Hurricane led 21-7.
On Dixie’s next possession, Tiger linebacker Josten Tafili intercepted Harrison and returned the ball to Dixie’s 15-yard line. McDaniel’s sweep around the right end put Hurricane up 28-7 with 5:33 left in the half.
After forcing another Dixie punt, Ieremia would get his third touchdown of the game on a 24-yard burst up the middle, again breaking through several tackles to get to the end zone. After a failed PAT, the Tigers led 34-7 going into halftime.
“In the first half we thought it would be vitally important to stop Dixie’s running game,” said Tiger head coach Steve Pearson. “Dixie is actually more balanced and we knew we had to stop (Tre Miller). We felt that if we forced them to pass, that would play into our defensive scheme.” The Hurricane defense held Miller to only 16 yards on nine carries.
Coming out of halftime, it soon became evident that Hurricane was going to force the Flyers to stop Ieremia.
“We were probably more conservative in our play calling,” said Pearson. “We know that Dixie can score quickly, so keeping them off the field was a priority.”
While the Tigers failed to score, Hurricane sustained drives and chewed up clock. Then, defensively, kept the high-octane Flyer passing game in check. The only score of the second half was a Harrison 83-yard run on a misdirection play up the Dixie sideline.
Dixie was plagued with turnovers. The Flyers suffered three interceptions, three lost fumbles and two turnovers on downs in the red zone. Hurricane’s sole turnover was the Ieremia fumble.
For the game, Harrison completed 22 of 41 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown. Langston completed both of his passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.
Ieremia led all rushers with 151 yards on 21 carries. McDaniel had 76 yards on 12 carries. Harrison led Dixie with 127 yards on 11 carries. Barben had 11 catches for 116 yards receiving for the Flyers.
Hurricane moves to 4-2 (3-0) with the victory and will travel to Snow Canyon next week. The Flyers drop to 2-4 (0-2) and will host Desert Hills next week.
Stats: Hurricane 34, Dixie 14
Highlights produced by Samantha Tommer
Snow Canyon 16, Payson 6
The Warriors offense wasn’t real special Friday night, gaining just 128 yards in the game. The defense was good, but not special either. But the special teams, well, that’s another story.
Heward, a senior speedster and defensive back for SC, also recovered a fumble and had an interception on defense and had over 100 yards in returns for the Warriors. His 37-yard punt return set up a Jacob Frei TD dive that would clinch the game late in the third quarter.
The visiting Lions won in most of the statistical categories in this game — except the most important one, total points.
Payson out-gained Snow Canyon 257-128 and had 21 first downs to just nine for the Warriors. But PHS also turned the ball over six times on four fumbles and two interceptions and SC got back to back third quarter TDs to change a 6-3 deficit into a 16-6 lead.
The Warriors had led 3-0 early in the game on a Kolton Barber 37-yard field goal. Later in the first half, Payson scored its only TD of the game and took a 6-3 lead on 23-yard pass from Easton Smith to Dalton Baker. Smith finished with 233 passing yards. Jacob Frei passed for 120 yards, 43 of them to TJ Taimi, and also rushed in a 1-yard score late in the third quarter for the clinching score. Dylan Parry had a 7-yard TD earlier in the second half to give Snow Canyon the lead.
SC improved to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in 3AA South Region play. The Warriors host Hurricane next week. Payson, 0-6 and 0-3, takes a bye in region next week and will visit Bear River.
Stats: Snow Canyon 16, Payson 6
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