ST. GEORGE — On Friday, the Dixie Flyers and Pine View Panthers are set for a Region 9 football showdown during Pine View High School’s homecoming celebration.
Both teams are undefeated (4-0) with three games left in the regular season, so whoever wins this game, barring any upsets, will likely go on to have a share of the Region 9 title.
Dixie Head Coach Blaine Monkres said the team is approaching this game just like they do every game, but with a twist.
“We’re kind of approaching it that way, but we’re just preparing the same way we do every week, and I’m sure they’re doing the same thing,” Monkres said. “Yeah, I think this is at least going to be for the region championship. You never know, there are always upsets, but for right now, all intents and purposes, it is for the region title.”
Pine View assistant coach Ben Meier is of the same mindset. The Panthers are preparing just as they would for any other team, but with some added variables.
“People are looking at this game as possibly the region championship,” Meier said. “We don’t necessarily look at it that way, we just know that Dixie is one more team that’s in our path to accomplishing that goal of winning the region championship. Our boys are very excited about that challenge, and they’re excited about it being played at our home field on our homecoming, but we just know ultimately this is just one more game that we need to win to accomplish that goal.”
Dixie’s explosive offense has been prevalent throughout the year. In Region 9 play, their lowest scoring game was against Snow Canyon, in which the Flyers still scored 34 points. Their lowest scoring total of the year came in game one against Springville, their only loss of the season, where they scored 20 points.
Pine View, another school known for its offense, is averaging 475.2 yards per game, while also averaging 44.5 points per game. Macloud Crowton is leading their offense and has been extremely efficient in doing so. The senior quarterback is leading the country in total passing yards with 2,268, while completing 139 of 220 passes for a 63.2% completion percentage.
Monkres knows that Pine View has an explosive offense, but his team comes complete with an offense that is just as unstoppable. He sees the big factor being special teams plays.
“They’re really explosive. Coach Crowton does a great job calling plays; obviously he’s been doing it for a long time, and he’s going to find ways to exploit our defense,” Monkres said. “Hopefully, we can do the same on our side of the ball. What it might come down to is special teams. We don’t want to have any big special teams plays one way or the other, and that might be the determining factor and the outcome, I think.”
Pine View attacks teams through the air, with 392.3 passing yards per game, and their top three receivers average over 80 yards per game. The leader of that receiving core is Izaiah Moten, with 124.7 yards per game and 24.1 yards per catch.
Dixie’s passing game can be just as lethal, but they also gain yards on the ground. Being a dual threat quarterback, Reggie Graff can throw and run, averaging 132.3 rushing yards per game. On top of Graff’s running ability, the Flyers also have Preston Moore, who is averaging 114.7 rushing yards per game.
“Defensively, we know that we are going to have to contain some player on the offense of Dixie,” Meier said. “We’ve been around Blaine Monkres’ offense for quite some time. We know it well, we know what he likes to do, and so we are really just preparing for that. There are definitely guys that we are going to have to key on, but nothing real out of the ordinary in terms of preparation.”
The Panthers will be trying to make Graff one-dimensional, as has every other team the Flyers have played. With his running ability, Graff can extend plays, scramble out of the pocket and gain a fair amount of yards on the ground.
“Reggie can be dangerous when he gets out of the pocket,” Meier said. “When things break down on their offense, he’s got that ability to keep the play going with his feet. If he’s trying to pass the ball, we’ve got to make sure that we’re covering guys, and then upfront, if we’re sending guys at him we have to make sure we wrap him up and get him on that ground.”
The deciding factor of the game could be mistakes, and the Panthers will be trying to limit those as much as possible.
“This game could possibly come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes, so our preparation going into this offensively is, we are going to pick our best plays that we feel we can run well against Dixie and their defense,” Meier said. “Hopefully, our guys are executing them to the best of their abilities.”
Monkres aims to do the same.
“We want to eliminate mistakes, especially on offense,” he said. “We had quite a few penalties last week, and we want to clean that up. We haven’t turned the ball over in two weeks, so that’s been good. We can be explosive, but at the same time, we don’t want to handicap ourselves or hurt ourselves.”
With the postseason rapidly approaching, Dixie finds themselves the second team in the Class 4A RPI rankings, while Pine View is currently ranked seventh. This game could have big implications when it comes to seeding going into the playoffs.
“Obviously, you want to finish in the top four,” Monkres said. “If you can finish in that slot of one through four, you’re going to have home games throughout all the way to the semifinals.”
If the playoffs were to start now, Monkres said the Flyers would face Pine View in the third round. He said he’d rather wait to face them in the semifinals or finals of the Class 4A tournament.
“If they beat us, they’re going to close the gap on us, and who knows how far down we’ll go, or how far up they’ll go,” Monkres said.
The result of this game will shake up the UHSAA Class 4A RPI rankings, so a matchup between Pine View and Dixie in the playoffs is uncertain.
The game will take place at Pine View High School, which is celebrating homecoming. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.
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