ST. GEORGE — With stars like Hobbs Nyberg and Payden Harrah, it’s easy for Dixie quarterback Jacob Barben to fly a bit under the radar. But that radar blip got miles larger Thursday night as Barben threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score and the Dixie Flyers rolled to a 42-7 win over the Hurricane Tigers at Walt Brooks Stadium.
Barben and the Flyers started the game off with a bang, scoring on their second play from scrimmage when Barben connected with wide receiver Nyberg for an 82-yard touchdown pass up the middle of the field. Myles Keenan made the extra-point kick to give Dixie a 7-0 lead with 11:41 left in the first quarter.
Later in the first quarter, Barben threw a 2-yard TD pass to Wyatt Forbes. Keenan, who was 6 for 6 on PAT attempts for the night, made the kick to put the Flyers up 14-0.
Near the end of the first quarter, Dixie suffered a setback when senior defensive end Tyson Fisher was ejected from the game after taking a swing at a Hurricane player. Fisher may have to miss next week’s Dixie-Desert Hills game due to th infraction.
Early in the second quarter, Dixie drove the ball to the Hurricane 5-yard line, but the Tigers made a defensive stand, stopping the Flyers inches shy of the end zone on fourth down and getting the ball at their own 20, thanks to a touchback.
The Tigers were unable to get more than one first down on their ensuing drive, however, ultimately turning the ball over on downs at midfield. Dixie then answered with a 42-yard TD pass from Barben to Harrah. Less than a minute later, Dixie senior Sam Westfall intercepted a Hurricane pass and ran the ball back 23 yards into the end zone for a pick-six TD, and the Flyers took a 28-0 lead into halftime.
Hurricane started the second half on a promising note, with Tyler Moore running the opening kickoff back to Dixie’s 47-yard line. Four plays later, however, the Tigers were forced to punt. Dixie then made a sustained 80-yard drive, getting a couple of 20-plus yard gains by Nyberg and finishing up with a 13-yard TD pass from Barben to Harrah. Keenan’s PAT put the Flyers ahead 35-0, and the running clock “mercy rule” went into effect for the remainder of the game.
Hurricane was forced to punt again on its next possession, but the kick was blocked by Westfall, giving Dixie the ball on the Hurricane 10-yard line. The play marked the third blocked or partially blocked punt by the Flyers during the game. A couple plays later, Barben ran the ball into the end zone for a 3-yard TD, and Dixie owned a 42-0 lead heading into the final quarter.
Hurricane managed to get on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter with an 11-yard TD run up the middle by senior running back Jaron Cordova. Fellow senior Ethan Roberts’ PAT kick made it 42-7, which ended up being the final tally, as neither team mounted a serious scoring threat after that.
“We’re trying to get better every week,” said Dixie head coach Andy Stokes, who added he was pleased with the Flyers’ performance on both sides of the ball.
Barben completed 12 of 23 passes for 269 yards and those four TDs, and added 102 rushing yards and that rushing score. Nyberg caught six passes for 172 yards. For the Tigers, Jaron Cordova led the way with 125 yards rushing on 26 carries.
Dixie improved its season record to 7-1 overall, the only blemish being a 24-14 loss to out-of-state opponent Madison, Calif., on Sept. 22. The Flyers are now in first place in 4A’s Region 9 with a 4-0 region record. Tied for second place in Region 9 are Cedar and Desert Hills, both of which are 4-3 overall, 3-1 in region play.
Meanwhile, Hurricane dropped to 2-6 overall, 1-4 in region play, putting them in sixth place out of seven teams with two games remaining in the regular season.
Dixie is scheduled to play at Desert Hills next Wednesday, Oct. 11.
“They have a quality team over there, with great kids and a great coaching staff,” Stokes said of upcoming opponent, Desert Hills. “It should be a good game.”
Thursday’s Region 9 results
Pine View 42, Desert Hills 14
Dixie 42, Hurricane 7
Snow Canyon 7, Canyon View 0
REGION 9 STANDINGS
1. Dixie 4-0 (7-1)
2. Desert Hills 3-1 (5-2)
2. Cedar 3-1 (4-3)
4. Snow Canyon 2-2 (5-2)
4. Pine View 2-2 (5-3)
6. Hurricane 1-4 (2-6)
7. Canyon View 0-5 (0-8)
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