ST. GEORGE – A big defensive play helped endure the game would be Dixie’s Wednesday night in the Flyers 42-10 win over Cedar.
Down 21-3 coming out of halftime, the visiting Cedar Redmen had driven to the Dixie Flyer 2-yard line. On first and goal, Redmen quarterback Brecken Lewis and fullback Brock Oldroyd were riding down the left side of the line of scrimmage. Before Lewis could option the ball the duo were hit by Flyer middle linebacker Chris Hall.
Hall stripped Lewis of the handoff and ran the ball back 44 yards before being tackled by the Cedar quarterback. On the next play Flyer quarterback Ammon Takau found wide receiver Bret Barben for a 54-yard pass for touchdown. The 14-point swing seemed to deflate the momentum the Redmen would need to make a comeback.
“Our offense has consistently put up points,” said Flyer defensive coordinator Wayne Alofipo. “But our defense has gelled the last few games and played outstanding football. Tonight was a big test because we have had trouble against traditional running teams this season.”
Cedar was the first on the board with a Jeff Rogers field goal from 20 yards out. With 4:18 to go in the first quarter the Redmen led 3-0. The ensuing Dixie possession was all Tre Miller, almost. Aside from a 7-yard loss on a Takau to McLane Keenen pass, every other play was a handoff to the Dixie running back who gained 87 yards on six carries to the end zone with 1:38 remaining in the first.
Miller would score the next touchdown with a 39-yard run with 4:38 left in the half. The play was set up with a 41-yard keeper by backup quarterback Jaden Harrison, who had replaced Takau for the series of downs. On Cedar’s next possession, Dixie’s R.J. Wilgar intercepted Lewis at the Redmen 25-yard line. That led to a 23-yard touchdown scamper by Takau to close out the scoring for the first half, 21-3.
Miller had 145 yards on 12 carries in the first half. “We never plan on running the ball as much as we did tonight,” said Dixie head coach Blaine Monkres. “But in the first half they were playing their nickel package and daring us to run. Cedar reversed that in the second half so we passed the ball more.”
Barben would add to his touchdown total with a second haul from Takau, this one from 29 yards. The play was once again set up by the Dixie defense. Dixie linebacker Malachi Fakahua hit Lewis and disrupted the quarterback’s pitch. Fakahua scooped the ball up and returned it 19 yards before being tackled by Lewis. “We knew we were facing a good running team tonight,” said Fakahua. “Our coaches made some great calls and we were able to hit some gaps on our stunts and disrupt what they liked to do.”
With the second Barben touchdown the Dixie lead had grown to 35-3. The score would remain that way until midway through the fourth quarter. The Redmen would finally break the Dixie scoring streak with an Oldroyd 7-yard run with 9:17 remaining.
The final touchdown of the night was a hookup between Takau and Keenen from four yards out for the final score, 42-10.
Takau completed six of 112 passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Miller had 203 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Barben had three receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
For Cedar, the Redmen quarterbacks completed three of nine passes for 116 yards. Oldroyd had 88 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries. Halfback Austin Obering had two receptions for 100 yards.
After winning their first three games, the Redmen have yet to win their first region game having lost their last five. They will end the season hosting a winless Payson team on Friday, Oct. 24.
Dixie moves to 5-4 (3-2) with the win and will end the season traveling to Snow Canyon on Oct. 24 to play a game determinant in the state playoff seedings.
Stats: Dixie 42, Cedar 10
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