ST. GEORGE — In a Thursday night game that had more injury-stoppages than goals, Dixie defeated Pine View 2-1 and leapfrogged the Panthers and Snow Canyon to land in first place in Region 9.
There were four injury stoppages, the longest a 29-minute delay after Dixie goalkeeper Ethan Poulton collided with a Pine View offensive player in front of the goal and didn’t get up at the 28:58 mark of the second half. Poulton was administered to on the field and an ambulance was called. Medics put Poulton on a backboard with a neck brace and took him to Dixie Regional Medical Center.
“He took a blow to the head,” Dixie coach Burt Myers said. “He also complained of a little pain around his neck, so they were being very careful.”
Myers texted later Thursday evening that Poulton was diagnosed with a concussion and will be monitored closely the next few days.
Dixie was leading 1-0 at the time, with the lone goal coming on a hard strike late in the first half by Av’ry Green. Panther keeper Javier Gaona had just made two great saves against the pressure Dixie offense. But he had no chance against the rifle shot by Green, which came in low and to the left side of the goal.
After Poulton’s injury, Dixie turned to sophomore Bridger Wright, who was ready for the action.
“Ethan wasn’t feeling well before the game, so I was already to go just in case,” Wright said. “Then when he went down, oh man. I look up to Ethan every day. He’s my trainer, my mentor, he’s the person I watch and learn from. I was really hoping that he was OK, but I was also really prepared and ready to go out there on the field.”
Wright had plenty of time to get loose and also to contemplate his first minutes in a varsity game with the half-hour delay.
“Lots of things were racing through my mind,” Wright said. “It’s my first varsity game and it’s a very important game against undefeated Pine View. All the nerves and stuff — but I was ready.”
The Flyers gave Wright a little bit of breathing room at the 12:12 mark when freshman Jose “Tauri” Morales received a lead pass and beat the keeper one-on-one. His strike, which went low and hard on the left side, made it 2-0.
Pine View had several opportunities late in the game, with Michael Wade finally getting the Panthers on the scoreboard with a rebound shot with 4:35 left in the game. Both teams had good looks in the final four minutes, but neither could change the score.
“That was a great game,” Myers said. “Pine View is well-coached. You know, every game in region is like this, the Region 9 wars. One through seven, anybody can beat anyone else. That’s good, because it prepares us for the playoffs.”
Dixie, 5-2-3 overall, takes over first in region at 4-0-1, with a total of 13 points. The Flyers bypass Pine View (4-1-0) and Snow Canyon (4-1-0), which have 12 points each.
It was the fourth goal of the year for Green and the second for Morales for the Flyers. Dixie hosts Desert Hills Tuesday night.
Wade notched his eighth goal of the year. The Panthers battle Canyon View in Cedar City Tuesday afternoon, 4 p.m.
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