Dixie, Pine View advance to final four of Utah 4A football championship

ST. GEORGE — The Dixie Flyers defeated Spanish Fork 31-20 in the state 4A football quarterfinals Friday afternoon.

Dixie High’s Westin Banuelos breaks through the first line of defenders on his way to a touchdown against Spanish Fork, St. George, Utah, Nov. 2, 2018 | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

Dixie started slow, trailing 7-0 after one quarter, as the Dons scored on their opening 89-yard drive, which culminated in a 18-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Parker Swenson. Dixie’s first two possessions both ended with the Flyers punting after managing only short yardage gains.

Spanish Fork then got backed up near its own end zone before being forced to punt on fourth down. Dixie’s Nate Mahi returned the kick to the Dons’ 12-yard line, but the Flyers were unable to put any points on the board that possession, turning the ball over on downs less than a foot shy of a first down on the 2-yard line as the first quarter wound to a close.

Following a Spanish Fork punt to midfield, the Flyers made their first scoring drive of the game midway through the second quarter when quarterback Reggie Graff connected with receiver Westin Banuelos in the end zone for a 12-yard TD. Joshua Stewart’s PAT kick was good, tying the score 7-7 with 6:09 left in the first half.

Spanish Fork then embarked on a 68-yard scoring drive that ended with a 13-yard TD pass from Swenson to Trey Loftin. The Dons’ two-point conversion try failed, leaving them ahead 13-7.

Dixie’s Myles Keenan lays out but can’t come up with a pass across the middle against Spanish Fork, St. George, Utah, Nov. 2, 2018 | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

Dixie returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield, after which they were aided by two 15-yard penalties against Spanish Fork in the span of three plays. On third down and 1, Banuelos ran the ball up the middle for a 7-yard TD. Stewart’s PAT was good, giving the Flyers their first lead of the contest, 14-13, with 1:16 left in the second quarter.

On Spanish Fork’s next play from scrimmage, Dixie’s Tyler Walden intercepted a Swenson pass and was tackled at the Dons’ 25-yard line.

Three plays later, on third down and 18, Graff connected with Tyson Miller in the end zone for a 33-yard TD pass with 31 seconds left in the second quarter, and Dixie went into the locker room with a 21-13 halftime lead.

Dixie’s Travis Muir can’t quite reach a high throw in the corner of the end zone against Spanish Fork, St. George, Utah, Nov. 2, 2018 | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

Dixie head coach Blaine Monkres said the Flyers were able to shake off early lapses and make key plays at the end of the first half.

“Usually we end up starting with the lead and going to sleep, but this time we were able to come back,” he said.

“That  interception was huge. We scored with like 30 seconds to go in the half. So, our defense did their job, got the turnover for us, then our offense was able to go in and put some more points on the board right before halftime, so that was a huge part of the game.”

Dixie got the ball to start the second half, but their drive was interrupted after about 40 yards when Spanish Fork got an interception. Three plays later, however, the Flyers got the ball back, thanks to a fumble recovery.

Shortly thereafter, Graff picked up 17 yards on a carry that took him to the Spanish Fork 1-yard line. The Flyers were stifled on three straight rushing attempts, however, and ultimately settled on a field goal by Stewart that put Dixie ahead by 11 points, 24-13.

Dixie’s Tyson Miller nearly gets an interception while defending against a Spanish Fork wide receiver, St. George, Utah, Nov. 2, 2018 | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

In the closing seconds of the third quarter, Spanish Fork managed to pull within four, thanks to a rushing TD from 1 yard out that made it 24-20 in favor of Dixie.

Dixie needed just a few plays to score again at the beginning of the fourth quarter, with Joshua Cazier catching a 30-yard TD pass from Graff with 10:29 left in the game. Stewart’s PAT kick made it 31-20, and that score would stand as the final. Spanish Fork was unable to move the ball much the rest of the way, turning it over on downs and punting on its next two possessions.

“In the fourth quarter. I think we ran, you know, seven, eight minutes off the clock on that last drive,” Monkres said. “No, we didn’t score, but we got it down inside the five. That was huge.”

The win puts the Dixie Flyers into the 4A semifinals next week at Salt Lake City, where they will face the Park City Miners, who edged previously undefeated Sky View 15-14 Friday night. Park City scored a TD in the fourth quarter to pull within 14-13, then made a successful 2-point conversion run for the upset win.

The Dixie vs. Park City contest is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Rice Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City.

Pine View 65, Stansbury 41

After combining to score the most points in a playoff game in state history (118) last week, the Pine View Panthers offense showed up big again, giving the Panthers a win over Region 11 champion Stansbury and booking their spot in the 4A semifinals.

Pine View led 14-7 after one quarter and extended its lead to 21-7 early in the second when Macloud Crowton found Dallin Brown for a score. Running back Tosh Wright added another Panther score later in the quarter, breaking into the end zone from 14 yards out to give them a 28-7 lead that held until halftime.

The Pine View offense continued to dominate in the second half, scoring 20 points in the third quarter and 17 in the fourth, capping off a 65-41 victory.

Wright led the Panthers offensive attack, gaining 269 yards on the ground while scoring two touchdowns. Brown added two rushing scores of his own and Crowton threw for two touchdowns and rushed for a third score for the Panthers.  

“The offensive line has been really great the last two weeks,” offensive coordinator Todd Shaw said. “They’re getting progressively better each week and really opened up holes tonight for Tosh.”

The Panthers now take on Region 10 champion Orem next Friday, Nov. 9 at Rice Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus, Friday at 6 p.m.

“It’s going to be tougher to put up points, but I think we’ll be able to still score some points,” Shaw said. “We’re going to put forth a good game plan and we’re going to do our best against them.”

— Written by Spencer Rodak

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3 Comments

  • Yvonne November 2, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Please tell me why dixie gets 20+ paragraphs and 20+ photos and Pine View gets 7 paragraphs and not a single snap?

    C’mon st george news- what do you have against PVHS??? Last week tou wrongly reported that PV LOST! Now this???

    • Jeff Richards Jeff Richards November 3, 2018 at 10:13 am

      Short answer: Dixie’s game was at home, while Pine View played at Stansbury. We did not have a reporter or photographer at the away game. If you were at the Pine View game and have some photos you’d like to share, please email them to us at [email protected]. Also, last week, there was a typo in the lead paragraph that briefly indicated an incorrect winner of the PV game, but the story and headline itself were always correct in indicating that Pine View won 68-50. How exciting for two Region 9 schools to make it to the 4A final four! Best of luck to both the Panthers and the Flyers at next week’s semifinals! Thanks again for reading St. George News! — Jeff Richards, reporter

    • Skykook69 November 3, 2018 at 9:23 pm

      Yvonne, you are spot on about the lack of PV vs Stansbury pics and coverage. There was a very nice gentleman with a “spectrum” logo on his shirt interviewing players after the game right in front of me and 20-25 other parents that were on the field after the game. There was someone there taking pics also. We all even joked about the 1 paragraph that will be written on stg news site about the game. What is even more sad is NOT one word about the great milestone the PV head coach reached with the great hard fought win against stansbury. You are not the only one who has notice the total lack of PV Football coverage.. WE ALL HAVE.

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