ST. GEORGE — Tyler Walden is not a player that is easy to miss for the Dixie Flyers. While getting a good amount of snaps on the offensive side of the ball, he then goes right back out onto the field to play on the defensive side of things. He rushes the ball, he catches the ball and, occasionally, he intercepts the ball. Similar to the “five-tool” recognition in baseball, Walden could be considered a “five-tool” football player.
The Flyers started off the season with a close loss to Springville but won five straight after when they clashed with Pine View. The game was expected to be the biggest game of the Region 9 season, and it was exactly that. Dixie lost by two, but the season could have taken a completely different route than it did. They won out the rest of the regular season and then beat Ridgeline 38-7 in the second round. Walden called Region 9 the “powerhouse of the state” for football.
Friday they will take on Stansbury in the Class 4A football quarterfinals, looking to extend their season once again. Walden touched on the team’s season up to now.
“This season has been tons of fun, playing both ways,” Walden said. “Defense started off rough, but we’ve gotten a lot better as a unit, and offense is just amazing compared to last year. We’re able to put up a ton of points on everyone pretty much.”
Another risk to having a player play both ways is the fatigue that comes with being so involved in almost every aspect of the game. This was an adjustment for Walden, as he had to take some plays off towards the beginning of the year because of that fatigue. That has changed as the season has gone on.
“I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, so I don’t really take too many plays off,” Walden said.
Based on the reps he is getting on defense and his offensive stats, many would never guess that the second leading receiver on the team — with 479 receiving yards this season — also plays on defense. Not to mention the fact that there are four other senior receivers lining up with him. The explosive Flyer offense has one of the deepest receiving corps in all of Class 4A.
On defense, Walden has 41 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss of yards, three interceptions and one caused fumble.
The high school football season is a long one, and every athlete says that towards the end, it starts to get tough on the body. Walden finds ways to get away from football and clear his head.
“Yeah, I definitely need that break,” Walden said. “Football is getting kind of tough now, my body is kind of wearing out, but I still talk about football with my dad; we watch film together. Football has just always been a big part of both of our lives.”
Walden plays “Call of Duty” with teammates in his spare time and focuses in on his academics. He currently has a 3.8 GPA and as a senior, and his graduation from Dixie High School is on the horizon. Walden is undecided on what his major will be in college but hopes to possibly play college football if given the opportunity.
After football season, you can catch Walden on the track at Dixie High — one of his passions outside of football.
“I do track, and I enjoy that a lot,” Walden said.
His name litters the Dixie High track record books. He ran the fifth quickest 100 meter sprint in the school’s history, according to athletic.net.
As for his teammates, they are all very close. Walden said he has been playing with some of them for a number of years, noting that he has played with Keaton Schweitzer since second grade.
“We all love each other; we’re all good friends,” Walden said. “We’re always together, hanging out.”
Be on the lookout for Walden when Dixie plays Stansbury at 4 p.m Friday — he will be hard to miss.
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