Region 10 football: Desert Hills, Dixie, Crimson Cliffs finish 1-2-3 in region play with blowout wins

ST. GEORGE — The top three Region 10 teams all won big in the last regular season games of high school football action Wednesday night.

Dixie won a blowout at home against Hurricane and captured second place in the region standings, while third-place finisher Crimson Cliffs shut out Cedar on the road.

And at Pine View, the Desert Hills Thunder put together all of its pieces, capped an undefeated region record and won the Region 10 championship with a decisive victory over the Panthers.

Desert Hills 38, Pine View 17

The combination of dominant play at the line of scrimmage and a whopping 316 rushing yards and three touchdowns by Tyden Morris won Desert Hills the region title.

“I’m so proud of these young men, these student athletes, they work hard in the classroom and they work hard out on the field,” Rick Berry, who was defensive coordinator at Dixie before taking over the head coaching job at Desert Hills this year, told St. George News.

“They’ve done everything I’ve asked of them, and the coaches have done a heck of a job,” Berry added. “All around it’s just a great effort. I can’t even put into words how proud I am and how much I love these kids.”

Pine View against Desert Hills in a Region 10 football game, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2021 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

For the Desert Hills seniors, the game was a repeat of their freshman season when the Thunder won the region title at Pine View.

“It was just like the same thing. I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else,” Awsten Turnbow said. “We’re not done. We got three more games we got to focus on. This is a nice stepping stone.”

Both teams traded punts in a scoreless first quarter, but then on the first play of the second quarter quarterback Noah Fuailetolo tossed a 45-yard touchdown bomb to Turnbow and the Thunder took a lead it would never let go at 7-0.

A little over four minutes later, Morris scored his first touchdown run, a 19-yard scamper, and Desert Hills jumped ahead 14-0.

Pine View got on the board behind the hard running of Keith Adams, who took the Panthers down the field and scored a 2-yard touchdown to make it 14-7.

Fuailetolo’s 1-yard rushing score sent Desert Hills to halftime ahead 21-7.

Adams kept Pine View in the game midway through the third quarter, busting into the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown run while carrying half the Thunder defense with him when he did it.

Then Morris took over. He burst for a 48-yard score, then on the next possession barreled into the house on a 6-yard run and the Thunder’s advantage was 35-14.

Meanwhile, the Desert Hills defensive line posted three sacks in the second half to shut down Pine View’s passing game.

“We knew going against such a big, physical offensive line we had to bring some pressure,” said Dawson Bundy, who got a big sack in the third quarter. “And we just used our speed against them. It worked out.”

Pine View against Desert Hills in a Region 10 football game, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2021 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

Pine View rotated quarterbacks with Sawyer Woods, Tyler Brown and Ian Becker getting some snaps, but the relentless pressure from the Thunder front four proved too much.

Robby Tangren’s fourth quarter sack stopped the Panthers last drive.

“It was a hard fought game. All of us boys just worked hard and kept going at it,” Tangren said. “We just kept twisting things up, trying different things, and we got to them.”

The teams traded fourth quarter field goals to provide the final margin. Austin Kogan booted a 46-yard field goal for Pine View and Isaac Poppe nailed a 23-yarder for the Thunder.

Desert Hills is assured a bye in the first round of the playoffs and at least one home game to start, depending on where its Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) finishes.

“Whether we’re one, two or three, wherever we fall, we fall. We can’t control that,” Berry said. “We’ll have that bye and get healthy, and we’ll be there and we’ll be ready.”

In the meantime, the Thunder will celebrate their region title.

“Enjoy it tonight, but we’re back at it tomorrow,” Berry said. “We’re just getting started.” 

Crimson Cliffs 35, Cedar 0

At Cedar, just five days after nearly defeating region champion Desert Hills, the Cedar Reds were unable to score against Crimson Cliffs, as the Mustangs rolled to a 35-0 victory in the regular season finale. 

Cedar had managed to get its field cleared of the several inches of snow that had fallen the day before, but the playing surface remained soggy and muddy. Temperatures were in the high 30s throughout the game.

The slippery turf and cold weather didn’t seem to be much of an obstacle for the visiting Mustangs, however, as they managed to score at least once in each of the four quarters, all while holding the Reds scoreless throughout the game. 

“This was a big win for us to get back on track for the playoffs,” Crimson Cliffs coach Jaron Tate said afterward. “We played our brand of football and we saw success against a very physical team in Cedar.”

Crimson Cliffs vs. Cedar football game, Cedar City, Utah, Oct. 13, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Defensively, the Mustangs not only forced a fumble and an interception, they also caused the Reds to turn the ball over on downs five times.

Offensively, Crimson Cliffs was able to move the ball consistently, something that Cedar struggled to do throughout the night.

“We limited our turnovers and kept the chains moving,” Tate said. “I thought we did a good job of establishing our run game, and then passing once Cedar added guys to the box.”

Both teams started slowly on offense, each punting on their first possession as the game got going.

Easton Droubay made the game’s first score when he caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gunner Orr late in the first quarter.

Then, early in the second quarter, Droubay scored again, this time on a 2-yard run, and the Mustangs took a 14-0 lead into the halftime break.

Cedar got the ball first to start the second half, but ended up punting it away to midfield. Returner Jayton Tanibe ran it back all the way for a 52-yard touchdown giving the Mustangs a 21-0 lead.

As Cedar continued to struggle offensively, Droubay tacked on another rushing TD early in the fourth quarter. A few minutes later, Orr connected with receiver Brayden Parry, who caught a short pass up the middle and ran it to the end zone for a 36-yard score, which accounted for the final 35-0 margin.

Crimson Cliffs finishes the regular season with a 6-4 overall record, while Cedar drops to 2-7. The final RPI rankings and 4A state playoff brackets are scheduled to be announced Saturday by the Utah High School Activities Association.

“We played great as a team and we are excited for our opportunity in the playoffs,” Tate said.

— written by Jeff Richards

Dixie 57, Hurricane 6

The Flyers dropped 43 points on the visiting Tigers in the second quarter alone as Dixie rolled to its fourth consecutive victory.

Hurricane at Dixie football game, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2021 | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News

After Shea Anderson scored on a 12-yard run and Hurricane answered for a 7-6 score after one quarter, it was all Dixie.

Anderson scored again on a 4-yard run and a 30-yard pass from Bronson Barben in the second quarter Flyers explosion.

Dixie’s defense got in the act with interception return touchdowns of 40-yards and 38-yards and a safety.

Seth Takau ran in a 16-yard score, then Barben finished off the dominant quarter with a 20-yard scoring strike to Jakheo Mitchell.

Barben wrapped up Dixie’s scoring in the contest with an 18-yard touchdown throw to Derek Kesterson at the halfway point of the third quarter.

Jonathan Bibiano Vargas was 7-for-8 on extra point kicks for the winners.

Region 10 football standings (region, overall) (as of Oct. 14)

  1. Desert Hills 6-0 (9-1) 
  2. Dixie 5-1 (6-3) 
  3. Crimson Cliffs 4-2 (6-4)
  4. Snow Canyon 3-3 (5-4) 
  5. Pine View 2-4 (5-4) 
  6. Cedar 1-5 (2-7) 
  7. Hurricane 0-6 (2-8) 

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