Just a glimpse at scores around the state of Utah will easily confirm that this is the era of offense in high school football. Alta scored 66 Friday night. Lone Peak tallied 53 (and only won by 19). Highland and Skyline combined for 97 points. And Spanish Fork scored 31 points in three quarters, then had to hold off Salem Hills 38-30.
But not so in Region 9, at least not Friday night. Defenses ruled the day. Quarterbacks were hassled. Running backs were stuffed. And receivers were cut in half by zealous safeties.
Defense owned the night in southern Utah.
As outlined in our story, Dixie and Pine View went into the Panthers’ Homecoming matchup as two of the more prolific offensive teams in Utah. With the Panthers averaging 40 points and 423 yards a game and the Flyers weekly scoring 35 points and going 477 yards, the game seemed a natural to reach the “shootout” classification. No one would have been surprised if it had ended up 42-38 or some similar score.
But give credit to the two teams’ defensive coordinators (and players). Pine View scored just 14 points, 36 below its season average. And the Flyers were 11 points and more than 200 yards below their average – and they won the game.
Desert Hills, which currently sits in first place with a 3-0 record in region play, has been impressive on defense as well. Two weeks ago, the Thunder held a hard-rushing Hurricane team under 100 yards. Last week, Cedar found out how good that DH defense is, also failing to reach the 100-yard plateau.
Canyon View did manage to crack 100 yards Friday night (barely), but the Thunder held the Falcons to that first-drive touchdown and kept them out of the end zone the rest of the night. In fact, DH held CV without another first down for much of the rest of the game.
One team making a case for “defense wins championships” is Cedar. The Redmen had a shutout intact for 45 of the 48 minutes of Friday’s 14-8 win over Hurricane. The Tigers were very good defensively, but the Redmen were better. Forcing four turnovers and allowing just 176 rushing yards to a pretty good Hurricane offense is enough proof anyone should need that defense certainly does win football games.
So the Big Picture is this: As good as the offenses have been this season (and they have been very good), the defenses might be even better. It’s easy to name a few of the offensive stars in the region (Barben, Mpungi, Sewell, Day, Sampson, Parry, Moten, Nyberg, etc.), it’s also pretty easy to come up some of the defensive stars (Fisher, Reynolds [X2], Snow, Maile, Wilgar, Mesa, Maurer, Farnsworth, Reis, Stokes, Haley – I could go on all day).
So hats off to the TD makers, but also to the TD takers.
Big Picture Note: A plethora of penalties continue to be a troubling trend in Region 9. In Cedar vs. Hurricane, there were 23 penalties for more than 200 yards. Cedar had two TDs called back on penalties and a third turned a 26-yard chip shot field goal into a 41-yard toughie, which was missed. Not to be outdone, Dixie and Pine View committed 26 penalties for a combined 215 lost yards. Keep in mind, this doesn’t even count declined and offsetting penalties. D-Hills had its own issues with penalties (no official count yet, perhaps trying to find a calculator).
So what gives? Why the high numbers? I don’t know and it even has local coaches a little baffled. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – one of these days, a penalty is going to cost a team an important game. Or maybe it already has.
Friday’s Region 9 results
Cedar 14, Hurricane 8
Dixie 24, Pine View 14
Desert Hills 55, Canyon View 7
REGION 9 STANDINGS
1. Desert Hills 3-0 (4-2)
2. Dixie 2-0 (5-1)
3. Cedar 2-1 (3-3)
4. Snow Canyon 1-1 (4-1)
5. Hurricane 1-2 (2-4)
6. Pine View 0-2 (3-3)
7. Canyon View 0-3 (0-6)
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