Region 9 football: 3 teams win on road as regular season begins

ST. GEORGE — The eight Region 9 football teams started regular season play Friday night, with Pine View, Dixie and Snow Canyon all winning on the road and Crimson Cliffs earning the school’s inaugural victory while playing on a neutral field at Dixie State University.

Dixie 62, Desert Hills 36

Dixie took on Desert Hills at Desert Hills High School and won by a score of 62-36.

Dixie started the game off with a bang, as Reggie Graff threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Treyce Simmons. The game went back and forth throughout the first quarter, but Desert Hills could not put the ball in the end zone late in the quarter, forcing them to settle for a field goal.

Dixie heads on to the field as Desert Hills looks on. Desert Hills vs. Dixie at Desert Hills High School, St. George, Utah, Aug. 30, 2019 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News / Cedar City News

Desert Hills then took the lead on a Logan Wilstead rushing touchdown, putting them ahead 9-7 after a failed extra point attempt. Dixie answered with an 85-yard touchdown pass from Graff to Tyler Walden, but Thunder bounced back again with another passing touchdown from Wilstead to make it 16-14 for Thunder.

That would be the last time that Desert Hills led in the game.

After two more second-quarter touchdowns, Dixie went into halftime up 11 points, 27-16.

Desert Hills came out of the half energized, scoring a quick touchdown, and then recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. 

The Thunder had great field position, but the Flyers put pressure on quarterback Wilstead and forced two sacks. Desert Hills was forced to punt, and missed a big opportunity in the red zone.

“The defense didn’t play great tonight, but they stepped up when they had to,” Dixie head coach Blaine Monkres said afterward. “Anytime we make them kick a field goal, that’s a win for us.”

Meanwhile, Desert Hills head coach Mark Murdoch said the sacks should be used as a learning experience for Wilstead.

Jace Mortensen catches a pass from Logan Wilstead for a touchdown, then celebrates with his teammates. Desert Hills vs. Dixie at Desert Hills High School, St. George, Utah, Aug. 30, 2019 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News / Cedar City News

“Unfortunately, those are the times where you have to learn the hard lessons of what to do in situations like that,” Murdoch said. “He (Wilstead) feels bad and responsible for those.”

Although Dixie went on to win by 26 points, Murdoch said he did not feel like the score was representative of the game the Thunder played. 

“We hung right with Dixie, the No. 1 team in 4A, for three quarters,” he said. “I don’t feel like the score reflects how the game went. We know we have a lot of potential, we just have to get it out of these boys.”

The Flyers did most of their damage on the ground. Six of their nine touchdowns were rushing, and with some injuries on the offensive line, Monkres said he was happy with their performance.

“We had about four guys (playing) out of position on the O-line. They all went out and got after it, and got the job done,” Monkres said. “We got a good push up front on the line of scrimmage. We’ll just be that much better as soon as we get all of them back.”

Meanwhile, Graff continued to build on his stellar season, accounting for five of the Flyers nine touchdowns (throwing three passing TDs and rushing for two more). 

“Kids rally around him, and they want to work for him. He does a great job of running our offense. Hopefully he keeps it up on offense,” Monkres said of Graff.

Next Friday, Dixie (2-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 9) plays at Cedar City High, while Desert Hills (0-3, 0-1) will travel to Snow Canyon to face the Warriors.

— written by Ryne Williams

Pine View 23, Cedar City 13

At Cedar High, the Pine View Panthers outlasted the Cedar City Reds 23-13 in the Region 9 season opener.

Quarterback Jaron Garrett of Cedar loses the snap at the 1-yard line, Pine View at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 30, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Both teams turned the ball over on their opening possession of the game. Cedar fumbled into the end zone from the 1-yard-line, and the Panthers recovered. Pine View then drove deep into Cedar territory, only to lose the ball on a fumble during a quarterback sack.

Midway through the second quarter, the score was still 0-0, but Cedar quarterback Jaron Garrett threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Kolbe Meek to put the Reds on the scoreboard with 5 minutes remaining.

Cedar’s 7-0 lead was short-lived, however, as Pine View’s Izaiah Moten ran the ensuing kickoff back 90 yards for a TD, tying the game once again.

Cedar’s next possession ended in a botched punt attempt that gave Pine View the ball back on Cedar’s own 27-yard line. The Panthers capitalized on the advantageous field position to quickly score on a 19-yard run by Jacob Nobili with just over 3 minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Cedar threw two interceptions during the final three minutes of the first half, the second of which set up a 41-yard field goal by AJ McCarroll as time expired to give Pine View a 17-7 halftime lead.

Pine View got the ball first to start the second half, and Moten struck big again, this time scoring on a 76-yard pass from Macloud Crowton. The extra point kick went wide left, leaving the Panthers up 23-7 with 11:43 left in the third.

Although Cedar held Pine View scoreless the rest of the way, the Reds could only manage one more scoring play, a 4-yard TD pass from Garrett to James McNett late in the fourth quarter. The ensuing two-point conversion pass attempt failed, thereby leaving 23-13 as the final score.

Early in the fourth quarter, with nearly 10 minutes remaining, Cedar had driven the ball to within Pine View’s 1-yard line, but once again came up short, as Pine View’s defense stifled the Reds just shy of the goal line.

Cedar head coach Josh Bennett called the loss a “heartbreaker.”

Izaiah Moten of Pine View scores on a 90-yard kickoff return during the second quarter, Pine View at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 30, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“We get inside the one, no matter what we’re running, we’ve got to push that thing in,” he said. “Just finishing sometimes is the hard part.”

“Defensively we played well enough to win,” Bennett added. “You know, our goal was to hold them under 28 and we were able to do that.”

Pine View head coach Ray Hosner said a key to the win was being able to capitalize on Cedar’s turnovers.

“We just had to be patient,” Hosner said. “We didn’t want to give them anything over the top. We had to get some help to the DBs to not let them get over the top.”

Pine View, which improved to 1-2 overall with the win, 1-0 in region play, will host Canyon View next Friday, while Cedar (1-2, 0-1) hosts Dixie.

— written by Jeff Richards

Crimson Cliffs 19, Canyon View 13

Canyon View vs. Crimson Cliffs at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Aug. 30, 2019 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News / Cedar City News

In a game played at DSU’s Trailblazer Stadium, Crimson Cliffs picked up its first football win in school history with a 33-13 win over Canyon View.

Canyon View struck first, with quarterback Brisin Jake throwing a long TD pass to Tyler Maine to give the Falcons a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter. The Mustangs then tied the score 6-6, thanks to a halfback pass from Curtis Sweeten to Ammon Smith on the first play of the second quarter.

After Canyon View turned the ball over on downs, Sweeten scored on Crimson’s very next play from scrimmage, a 41-yard TD run to make it 12-6.

With just six seconds left in the first half, the Mustangs scored another TD, this time on a long TD pass from Chase Hansen to Smith. Crimson’s halftime lead was 19-6.

Canyon View’s Tanner Hardin scored on a touchdown run during the third quarter to bring the Falcons within six points, 19-13, but the Mustangs tacked on a couple more insurance TDs to pull away in the fourth quarter, with Sweeten scoring both.

Next Friday, Crimson Cliffs (1-2 overall, 1-0 in Region 9 play) will travel to Hurricane to face the Tigers, while Canyon View (0-3, 0-1) plays at Pine View.

Snow Canyon 35, Hurricane 8

Snow Canyon at Hurricane, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 30, 2019 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

At Hurricane, the visiting Snow Canyon Warriors stormed past the Tigers, 35-8.

Neither team scored in the first quarter, but Snow Canyon jumped to a 14-0 lead in the second, thanks to a pair of short TD runs. Hurricane answered with a 5-yard pass from Brock Starley to Ian Lambert in the closing seconds of the second quarter. Luke Wright ran in the 2-point conversion try to make it 14-8 in favor of Snow Canyon at the half.

The Warriors then went on to score 21 unanswered points on three successive TDs in the second half, pulling away for the convincing road win. Quarterback Landon Frei threw one TD pass and ran for another to pace the Warriors’ balanced scoring attack.

Next Friday, Snow Canyon (2-1 overall, 1-0 in region) hosts Desert Hills, while Hurricane (0-3, 0-1) hosts Crimson Cliffs.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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