Thunder strike late to knock off Panthers

ST. GEORGE – Desert Hills Thunder (4-1, 2-0) running back Mike Needham scored on a 23-yard run with 1:05 left in the game to put the Thunder ahead for good, 21-14 over the Pine View Panthers (2-3, 0-2).

Needham’s run finished off a 67-yard drive that started with 3:33 left in the game. Needham finished with 124 yards on 15 carries with his lone touchdown.

Many people feel the game was won in the beginning of the third quarter by the Thunder defense. Pine View took the ball inside the Desert Hills 10-yard line on three straight drives to start the half. The first time, the Thunder defense came up with a huge stop on 4 and 1. Then the Panthers missed a field goal. The third time the Panthers went for it on a 4 and goal from the 6 but were again stopped. Many coaches in the Region are starting to notice the Thunder defense, not only do they give up the least amount of points but they have not given up more than 14 points all season.

Desert Hills didn’t waste any time getting things started, on the first play of the game quarterback Porter Harris took an 80-yard run to the end zone making the game 7-0.

Freshman quarterback Kody Wilstead got his first career varsity start with starting quarterback Braxton Peterson suspended for his unsportsmanlike horse collar on Dixie’s Tadd Challis last week. (Story and video of the play will be up on St. George News next week.) Wilstead led the Panthers on a scoring drive right before the end of the first quarter tying the game at 7-7.

The second quarter started much like the first; Desert Hills drove the length of the field and scored on a Ty Rutledge 5-yard run.

Just minutes later, the Panthers would find the end zone the same way that they did earlier in the game. Wilstead found Jake Arslanian for a 9-yard touchdown pass. When it was said and done, Wilstead threw for 198 yards with the two touchdowns, both to Arslanian.

Desert Hills hosts Dixie at 7 p.m. next week and Pine View will travel to Cedar City to try and get their first Region win at 7 p.m. Both games are on Friday.

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 Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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