Week five was a proving ground for who’s who. With two of the top games slated in Region 9 this season, fans, coaches, and players got a real glimpse at who is the real deal, and who might have come into the week overrated.
Hurricane Tigers (5-0) vs. Dixie Flyers (4-1):
Hurricane 51, Dixie 21
The Good News:
Brian Scott went on a tear for the Tigers at Flyer Stadium Friday night, carrying the ball 10 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns. But Scott wasn’t the only Tiger running through the Flyer defense. In all, Hurricane carried the ball 45 times, and gained a total of 459 yards on the ground, including six touchdowns. Quarterback Taylor Parker only let the ball fly twice, going 1-of-2 for 20 yards. It was a ground assault all night by the Tigers, and most importantly it worked, and it worked well.
The Tigers turned the ball over only once, while forcing Dixie into two interceptions and two fumbles. The Tiger defense didn’t have to work as much as the offense did Friday night. Hurricane’s offense was on the field for just over 29 minutes, while the Flyers only saw the ball for 18 minutes.
The Hurricane Tigers are a fine-tuned machine, running on all cylinders. It doesn’t look like they will be slowing down in their hunt for the state title, after falling short in previous state championship games. Hurricane has two more games before they take a week off. This week they take on the improving 2-2 Snow Canyon Warriors who have won two in a row, then they square off against 2-3 Pine View. Both of these games are in Hurricane. The Tigers need to stay focused each week, but their next true challenge will be after they take a week off, when they head to 4-1 Desert Hills.
The Bad News:
The bad news really isn’t as bad as the scoreboard shows. The Flyers, who’ve played a fairly easy schedule prior to Friday night’s loss to the Tigers, need to keep their heads up. They’re still one of the best teams in Region 9 and still have an opportunity to make a run deep into the state tournament.
Quarterback Blake Barney is still putting up big numbers. He wasn’t as efficient this week, only connecting on 15-of-40 passes for 299 yards, and three touchdowns. If Barney had connected on even five more of these passes, the scoreboard may have not been so one-sided. The Flyers were only 3-of-11 on third-down conversions. They had 60 plays on the night, against Hurricane’s 47, but had over 100 fewer yards of total offense than the Tigers did.
Justin Cummings put up solid numbers, rushing eight times for 49 yards, and catching two passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Cummings led the Flyers with eight tackles.
They Flyers’ biggest challenge of the remainder of the season comes this weekend when they play at 4-1 Desert Hills. After this week, and back-to-back-to-back games against Region 9’s finest teams in Pine View, Hurricane, and Desert Hills, the Flyers should be able to win out if they keep playing at the high level they saw early on.
Desert Hills Thunder (4-1) vs Pine View Panthers(2-3):
Desert Hills 21, Pine View 14
The Good News:
Desert Hills managed to one-up the Panthers, getting the last laugh Friday night. It was a back and forth battle all night. It was 7-7 after the first quarter, 14-14 at halftime and the third quarter, and it was 21-14 when the score matters most. By the numbers, games don’t often get more even than this one. Total offense was 350-346 in favor of Desert Hills. Possession was 24:42 to 23:19 in favor of Pine View.
The area where Desert Hills made an impact was in the running game. Mike Needham led the Thunder with 17 carries for 125 yards and one touchdown. Porter Harris also added big numbers, carrying the ball 12 times for 97 yards and a touchdown, including one run of 80 yards.
This was a huge win for the Thunder, who are now riding a four game winning streak as they prepare for the 4-1 Dixie Flyers this week. This game is huge for both of these teams, as they look to keep pace with undefeated Hurricane in the hunt for the state championship.
The Bad News:
The Pine View Panthers could also be called the Heartbreak Kids. The bad part of this, is that the hearts they’re breaking are their own. No other Region 9 team has lost as many close battles as the Panthers. All three of their losses have come by 8 points or fewer.
The Panthers put up solid numbers Friday night, but their attacks were limited to only a few people. Prentiss Miller ran the ball 33 times, and gained 140 yards. His average was only 4.2 yards per carry, and he was never able to get into the end zone. Kody Wilstead went 18-of-32 passing for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his touchdowns were to Jake Arsianian.
In the end, the Thunder simply got the better of the Panthers. Pine View is still a solid team in Region 9. If they can come up with big wins this week at 0-4 Cedar, and next week against 5-0 Hurricane, the Panthers still have the chance to make waves in Region 9.
Snow Canyon Warriors (2-2) Canyon View Falcons (2-2):
Snow Canyon 38, Canyon View 0
The Good News:
Snow Canyon came to life this week, putting up solid numbers against the Falcons of Canyon View. Behind the arm of Brayden Linde, Snow Canyon out-gained the Falcons by 262 yards. The Warriors had 373 yards, in comparison to 11 for the falcons. Linde threw the ball 18 times, landing three touchdown passes in his eight completions. The Snow Canyon running game is where the major offensive decisiveness showed up. Mitchell Phillips ran the ball for 178 yards on 17 carries, including one touchdown.
The Warriors have rebounded after their slow start. A true test of their character will happen this week as they visit undefeated Hurricane.
The Bad News:
The Falcons have scored two points in their last two games. They’ve given up 77 points. It’s hard to win any game with such a gaping discrepancy.
The Falcons are still sitting on a 2-2 record, but they’re 0-2 in Region 9 play. They’ve got to improve defensively, and more importantly than that, they must get points on the board if they want to win.
This weekend they travel north for a non-region game against 2-3 Ogden.
Region 9 has four teams in the Deseret News’ 3A rankings.
1.) Hurricane 5-0
2.) Juan Diego 4-1
3.) Desert Hills 4-1
4.) Spanish Fork 3-2
5.) Dixie 4-1
Region 9 is also represented in the statewide rankings.
Desert Hills #23