ST. GEORGE – Turnovers, breaks, momentum swings. Whatever you call them, Pine View owned ’em Thursday night at Panther Stadium over Desert Hills.
After the Thunder and the Panthers had played the first quarter even, the two teams headed into the second quarter having scored on long sustained drives to the tune of a 7-7 tie score. At the start of the second quarter, the Panthers were forced to punt. The Thunder punt returner muffed the catch and Pine View’s Samson Doyle recovered the ball to give Pine View great field position. From that point on, Pine View dominated on the scoreboard en route to a 42-14 victory.
Three minutes later, Pine View quarterback Dallin Brown ran 27 yards on the read option to give the Panthers their first lead 14-7.
The Panther momentum continued. After forcing a three-and-out, Pine View scored again on its next possession. With 2:34 left in the half, Brown had his third touchdown on a 3-yard keeper.
The second turnover of the game came on the Thunder’s next possession. Defensive back Jeshan Allen stepped in front of a Thunder receiver down the middle of the field and intercepted Thunder quarterback Noah Sewell’s pass. With 1:45 remaining in the half, the Panthers were once again in Desert Hills territory at the 45-yard line.
“That defensive interception was key,” Meier said. “It put us on their side of the field with little time remaining. We were able to go up three scores before halftime.”
Running back Jacob Mpungi’s 32-yard run got Pine View into the red zone. Three plays later, Brown called Mpungi’s number on the read option for the running back’s first touchdown from 3-yards out.
“We were keying on their outside linebacker,” Brown said. “Jacob is so dangerous that they were keying on him most of the night. So I got several carries earlier in the game. I was glad to see Jacob score.”
The score came with only 24 seconds remaining and Desert Hills was unable to gain any significant yardage before the half expired on its next drive.
After intermission, the Thunder defense force an early punt from Pine View. Sewell drove Desert Hills 60 yards in 12 plays to cut into the lead, 28-14. Running back Brock Parry burst through the middle for a 1-yard touchdown run. The drive took nearly eight minutes and time was becoming a precious commodity for the Thunder.
After the Thunder forced a Panther three-and-out, they could not capitalize. Desert Hills ending up turning the ball over on downs with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game. Three plays later, Pine View got the backbreaker. Brown hit wide receiver Michael Moten on a 15-yard out route. Moten shook his defender, got a key block down the right sideline and flew to pay dirt for the 66-yard touchdown reception. There was still 8:43 left on the clock, but the Thunder were now looking at a 35-14 deficit.
Desert Hills advanced the ball to midfield on its next possession. Down three scores, the Thunder had to roll the dice on fourth down and this time Sewell was sacked by Panther tackle Solo Katoa and linebacker Christian Reis. The Panthers took over at the DHHS 42-yard line with 7:20 remaining.
“We were keying on (Thunder quarterback) Sewell all night,” Reis said. “Especially in short-yardage situations. But we also wanted to keep him in the box on passing situations.”
“Our defense did a good job most of the night not letting Sewell get a big head of steam,” Meier said. “Even if it just slowed him up, those initial hits were key in keeping him contained till help arrived.”
Panther coach Ray Hosner began running clock on the next possession. Eleven plays netted three first downs and spent six minutes. On first-and-goal from the 1, Mpungi scored his second touchdown on a dive for a 42-14 final score.
In the first quarter, neither offense could be stopped. Desert Hills began its drive at the 20-yard line. The Thunder never saw third down on the drive and nine plays later, Parry gave the Thunder the first lead with a 13-yard sweep around the right side.
Pine View responded with a 90-yard drive that took up most of the remaining time in the first quarter. The drive took 16 plays and culminated with Brown’s first touchdown, a 3-yard keeper.
The yardage battle was nearly even as the Panthers only outgained Desert Hills 258-234. Individually for the Panthers, Brown gained 136 yards on 28 carries. Mpungi had 80 yards on 19 carries.
For the Thunder, Sewell led the rushing attack with 114 yards on 24 carries. Parry had 95 yards on 15 carries.
Pine View moves to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in Region 9. The Panthers will travel to Cedar next Wednesday. The Thunder suffered their first loss in region (3-1) and are 4-3 overall. Desert Hills will host Dixie in an attempt to draw back into a tie atop the Region 9 standings.
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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