ST. GEORGE — At 38 points a game, the Dixie Flyers have shown they know how to put up big offensive numbers. With playmakers all over the field, stopping Dixie seems like an impossible task.
Flyers quarterback Zak Harrah usually has a handful of good options when he drops back to pass. Someone is usually open.
Dixie High wide receivers coach Brent Nyberg knows a thing or two about catching passes.
With that kind of résumé, it’s easy to see why kids at Dixie High listen when he talks. It also helps that one of his players is his son, Hobbs.
“He doesn’t talk much about all that, but I’ve seen a few clips,” Hobbs Nyberg said. “I guess he was pretty good.”
Good enough to become a household name among BYU fans, even to this day. But Brent Nyberg is not one to live in the past.
“I’ll tell you, Hobbs must’ve gotten his athletic ability from me because I don’t have it anymore,” he said. “He is quite an athlete and that’s helped him carve out some good numbers this year.”
That the sophomore Hobbs plays at all is a testament to his playmaking ability, considering Dixie already had one of the top receiving corps in the state, led by seniors Bret Barben and Jaden Harrison.
“One good thing about Bret and Jaden and Mark (Abraham) is that they kind of took Hobbs under their wing,” Brent Nyberg said. “They take him to team lunch every day and hang out with him and include him and that’s really big.”
Hobbs Nyberg has had some huge games this season, earning his playing time among the seniors. He had more than 100 receiving yards in four different games this season, including an impressive 10-catch, 175-yard game against Snow Canyon.
But Nyberg is just one piece in a difficult puzzle to solve when facing Dixie. There’s the big, fast running back, Tre Miller, who has rushed for more than 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“Everybody looks to Tre when it comes time to buckle down and never one time has he failed us,” Dixie head coach Andy Stokes said. “He’s got broad shoulders and sometimes he has to carry us.”
There’s the big, tall Barben at one wideout spot. The 6-foot-4 senior is more than just a possession guy, accumulating three 100-yard receiving games this year, including last week’s nine-catch, 151-yard game in the 3AA semifinals against Tooele.
“Bret’s an amazing kid,” Brent Nyberg said. “He’s tall, so I think it took him a little while to grow into his body. But last year at the end of the season, he realized how good he could become. He’s a hard-working kid with lots of talent who can catch almost anything — unbelievable hands.”
There’s Harrison, who is not big, but is an amazing athlete. He had four 100-yard games this season, including last week’s eight-catch, 210-yard outing vs. Tooele. He also plays almost every down on defense.
“Jaden’s one of the quickest players I’ve ever coached,” Nyberg said. “He has some serious speed and the ability to take a 1-yard pass and turn it into a 99-yard pass.”
Harrison said he is motivated since he’s not the biggest guy out there.
“I have been blessed and I’m grateful for it,” he said. “The biggest thing for me is I’m just running, trying not to get hit.”
Harrison said working with Coach Nyberg has been an important part of Dixie’s success for the receiving corps.
“He’s a technician,” Harrison said. “He picks our routes apart and tells us what we need to do to get better. I really like that because it’s good for us to learn those little things to take our game to the next level.”
Harrison also said he has a lot of respect for the Logan receivers.
“I play defense, too, so I’ve been doing a lot of homework,” he said. “They have some great receivers over there. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
In today’s modern football, with spread offenses and lots of points, Dixie and Logan should put on a modern football classic in Friday’s 3AA championship game. Having multiple weapons is what it’s all about.
“You know, our quarterback Zak (Harrah) has worked really hard,” Barben said. “He knows there are a lot of different ways to get the job done. I don’t really care if I get the ball much or not because we have guys that can make plays and as long as we’re putting up points and getting the win, that’s all that matters. It’s good to have a lot of threats.”
And a coach who knows how to use them.
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