ST. GEORGE – Dixie defensive end Tyson Fisher set the tone early in the Flyers’ game against Canyon View. His tackle for loss of Falcon quarterback Colten Shumway presaged the entire first half, where Dixie held the Falcons to no first downs, 19 total yards and led 57-0. The Flyers backups would add a touchdown in the second half for the decisive 64-0 finish. Canyon View’s first half drives ended in punt, punt, fumble, punt, fumble, fumble, punt, punt, and punt.
“We don’t care who you are or where you are in the standings,” said Dixie head coach Andy Stokes. “We measure ourselves on our performance. We want to improve every week. Tonight we did not approach this game with any complacency.”
After forcing a Falcon punt and getting a pass interference on their first play from scrimmage Dixie had a first-and-10 at the Canyon View 20-yard line. They executed a play that looked like something from an ESPN highlight reel. Jacob Barben took the snap and threw a backward pass to wide receiver Payden Harrah. Harrah flipped the ball behind his back to running back Hobbs Nyberg, who had gone in motion to the left side. Nyberg then threw a 20-yard strike to Nate Mahi in the end zone.
“We call that play “Tia” after Coach Stokes’ wife,” Nyberg said. “We have practiced it for a couple of years. We ran through it this past Thursday. We executed it perfectly.”
The pass had to be perfect because the Falcon defensive back had not been fooled and Nyberg’s pass sailed over his outstretched hands to Mahi with 9:30 remaining in the first quarter.
Later in the quarter, Canyon View took over possession of the ball after forcing a turnover on downs. On its first play, though, Fisher broke through and hit the runner, forcing a fumble. Safety Payton Wilgar scooped up the ball and raced 45 yards for a touchdown.
“We were focused on their running game tonight,” said Wilgar. “I was pinching in and the ball came out right in front of me. “ With 6:13 on the clock, the score was 14-0.
After forcing a Falcon punt, Dixie got the ball again on its 25-yard line. Two runs by Nyberg, the second a 70-yarder up the middle, scored the Flyers next touchdown.
“Both of their middle linebackers blitzed,” Nyberg said. “I was able to get through the middle and there was no one in front of me.”
The two-point pass attempt from Mahi to Harrah was good and the lead was 22-0 with 3:47 remaining.
On the Falcons’ next play, Dixie linebacker Magalei Stevenson hit the ball carrier and forced a fumble. Jake Staheli scooped up the ball and returned it 12 yards for another score. With only 17 seconds elapsing since the previous score, the Flyers lead grew to 29-0.
The Falcon woes continued. On their next possession, Shumway completed his first pass to receiver Gabe O’Connell. Dixie defensive back Sam Westfall made the tackle and in the process jarred the ball loose. Wilgar was again in position for the recovery. He scooped up the ball, but was caught before he could get to the end zone.
“I got away from the first tackler,” Wilgar said. “But that slowed me down and they caught up to me before I could gain any momentum.” Wilgar still returned the ball 12 yards. Five plays later, Barben got his first touchdown pass. He found Harrah with a 13-yard strike on the first play of the second quarter.
After a three-and-out by the Falcons, Dixie took over once again in good field position at the CV 37-yard line. Three straight Nyberg carries got the Flyers a first down at the 4-yard line. Barben found Mahi on a quick slant for a Flyer 43-0 lead with 8:31 left in the half.
The last two touchdowns of the half came on Barben-Harrah connections. The first came from 31-yards out with 4:48 left. The second came as time expired on a 4-yard strike.
The Flyers held a 254-19 advantage in first-half yardage. The defense forced three fumbles and returned two for scores.
In the second half, both sides played backup players liberally. The only score came on Dixie’s first drive. Quarterback Reggie Graff drove the team 56 yards in 10 plays, ending with a 3-yard touchdown dive by running back Preston Moore.
Both teams would drive deep into their opponents’ territory on succeeding drives only to turn the ball over on downs. With the mercy rule in effect due to the large lead, the teams only possessed the ball three times each after halftime. The Dixie defense still came up with two turnovers, the first on a fumbled punt and the second came on the last play of the game with an interception on a ball thrown deep.
For the game, Dixie outgained the Falcons 399-100. Individually for the Flyers, Barben completed 5 of 9 passes for 161 yards. All five of his completions went for touchdowns.
Four of those touchdowns were to Harrah, who had six receptions for 109 yards. Mahi had two catches, both for touchdowns, gaining 24 yards. Travis Muir and Westin Banuelos both had two receptions for 25 and 10 yards, respectively.
Nyberg led the Flyers with 126 yards rushing on 13 carries. Moore had 64 yards on 13 carries.
For Canyon View, backup quarterback Brady Lowry carried the ball 13 times for 51 yards. Backup running back Wendell John carried the ball seven times for 27 yards.
Dixie moves to 3-0 and into a first-place tie with Desert Hills in Region 9 and 6-1 overall. The Flyers will host Hurricane on Thursday night. Canyon View falls to 0-4 in region play and 0-7 overall. The Falcons will host Snow Canyon on Thursday night.
Friday’s Region 9 results
Pine View 49, Hurricane 7
Dixie 64, Canyon View 0
Cedar 34, Snow Canyon 28 (F/3 OT)
REGION 9 STANDINGS
1. Desert Hills 3-0 (4-2)
1. Dixie 3-0 (6-1)
3. Cedar 3-1 (4-3)
4. Snow Canyon 1-2 (4-2)
4. Pine View 1-2 (4-3)
6. Hurricane 1-3 (2-5)
7. Canyon View 0-4 (0-7)
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