ST. GEORGE — The turnovers give, and the turnovers take away. And no one knows that more right now than the Snow Canyon Warriors.
Last week, Snow Canyon forced seven Dixie turnovers in a stunning 38-23 upset of the Flyers. This week, the shoe was on the other foot as Desert Hills forced the Warriors into five turnovers and the Thunder romped to a 35-0 victory at Warriors Stadium.
“It just gets you pumped up, when you create a turnover,” DH defender Zak Fuchs said. “The whole sideline, all the boys, they just got so excited. That’s what we’ve been missing lately, that excitement to play football.”
The mistakes came early and often for the Warriors. Four of the five turnovers came in the first half and helped DH to a 28-0 lead at the break. The only suspense in the second half was whether or not the Thunder defense would get the shutout. Two red zone fourth down stops by Desert Hills kept the goose egg on the scoreboard.
Trouble started for the Warriors on the very first drive of the game when back-to-back bad snaps created two points for Desert Hills. The first one was recovered by SC quarterback Jackson Nowatzke, but resulted in a loss of 24 yards back to the SC 8-yard line. On the next play, the ball was snapped over the punter’s head in the end zone for a safety.
Snow Canyon then teed up the safety kickoff, which was fielded by Desert Hills speedster Stetson Wood at his own 25-yard line, He faked out a couple of defenders, sprinted to the right and outraced the rest of the Warriors to the end zone. The extra point was missed, but it was already 8-0 for the Thunder just three minutes into the game.
“I was blocking on the other side and when I just saw a crease and I thought, ‘Stetson’s gone,'” Fuchs said. “I knew it was over, cause he’s a quick little guy.”
After an exchange of possessions, DH punted to the Warriors. But the punt returner bobbled the ball and the Thunder recovered at the Snow Canyon 24. Three plays later, Wood scored his second TD on a fly sweep to the right side from 8-yards out, making it 15-0.
“It was really important for us to get that zero on the scoreboard,” DH linebacker Badge Morris said. “Defensively, we take a lot of pride in what we do at Desert Hills. We were really happy with our performance.”
Not only did the D get a shutout, but the Thunder defenders also scored themselves when Kobe Sattiewhite took a tipped pass to the house in the second quarter. It was a 10-yard return after a Warriors pass sailed a bit high and off of a receivers hands. Sattiewhite grabbed the floating pigskin and jogged unmolested into the end zone, making it 21-0.
“I love my boys on defense,” said Thunder running back Marco Jordan. “They played one heck of a game. There was a few bumps. but I love them to death. They did a great job tonight.”
Snow Canyon put together a bit of a drive after that, moving the ball past midfield. But another tipped ball led to a second interception, this time with Ryan Hoppie making a diving pick to set Desert Hills up at its own 35-yard line. A few plays later, D-Hills quarterback Nick Warmsley found a streaking Fuchs on a post pattern and the two seniors made it 28-0 with the 54-yard scoring strike.
The Warriors got the ball inside the 5-yard line in the third quarter and inside the 15-yard line in the fourth, but both possessions ended with the ball going over on downs.
The final score of the night came when DH backup QB Sattiewhite hit Garrick Sharp with a 13-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter.
“You always have to come out and play good because in this region, anything’s possible,” Jordan said. “Every team is tough. For us tonight, we had to come out and play our butts off and we did it.”
The yardage in the game was relatively even, with the Thunder having a 279-247 advantage. Jordan led all rushers with 85 yards on 22 carries. Morris had 10 tackles for DH and Jarom Hansen recovered a fumble.
The Thunder improve to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the 3AA South Region with the win and will be tied with the winner of Friday’s Hurricane-Dixie contest for first place. DH hosts Logan next Wednesday (5 p.m. kickoff) and then finishes the regular season Oct. 23 at home vs. Cedar.
Snow Canyon, which had four different rushers gain at least 30 yards (Nowatzke, Josh Barnes, Kody Jacobsen and Jason Mock), fell to 4-4 overall and 1-3 in region play. The Warriors have one game remaining, an Oct. 23 contest at home against Hurricane.
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