With their victory Thursday night at Desert Hills, the Hurricane Tigers locked up the Region 9 regular season championship. In what many thought had the potential to be a Region 9 shoot out, Hurricane managed to eliminate the chances of that early on. Meanwhile, the Cedar Redmen showed dominance in a matchup with their cross-town rivals, and Dixie slipped through the fingers of the Warriors to escape with a much-needed win.
Hurricane Tigers (8-0) vs. Desert Hills Thunder (6-2)
Hurricane 35, Desert Hills 8
The Good News: There seems to be nothing standing in Hurricane’s way in their quest for a state championship. That was reconfirmed in last week’s bout with the second-place Thunder. Hurricane made it look easy against Region 9’s number two. Jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, the Tigers didn’t flinch. They held the Thunder scoreless until the final four minutes of the game.
Coming of a bye the previous week, Hurricane looked refreshed and ready to play. Desert Hills’ game plan was surely to slow down running back Brian Scott, who is the state’s seventh leading rusher, averaging 118 yards a game. Scott leads the state in rushing touchdowns with 21. The Thunder did slow him down, only rushing for 78 yards, but Scott still put two of the Hurricane touchdowns on the board.
Quarterbacks Taylor Parker and Zac Prince each played a perfect game. Parker was 9-for-9 passing for 120 yards. Prince was 1-for-1 for 12 yards and a touchdown. Hurricane was dominant offensively, racking up 468 yards. Desert Hills only managed 200 yards of total offense. Prior to Thursday’s game, the most yards the Thunder defense had allowed in a game was 346, back in week five against Pine View.
Hurricane can’t get complacent in their final regular season game against 2-6 Canyon View this week, though it shouldn’t be much of a challenge, even if the Tigers decide to rest some of their key players in preparation for the playoffs. Another bout of state championship drama between Hurricane and Juan Diego is looking highly likely.
The Bad News: Yes, Desert Hills was ran off their own field last week, but it was at the hands of the undefeated Hurricane Tigers. Desert Hills has still put together a very impressive campaign. The loss Thursday snapped a 6-game winning streak for the Thunder, who hadn’t lost since week one when they fell to Syracuse by two points. The Thunder just could never get things moving offensively against the Tiger defense.
All in all, the game was very cleanly played for both sides. Neither side threw an interception, and there was only one fumble that was lost, and that was by Hurricane. Hurricane racked up 22 first downs, and converted on 3 of their 4 fourth down attempts. Desert Hills only had 11 first downs, and were 1-of-4 on fourth down conversion attempts. The Thunder just need their offense to be clicking if they want to win.
Desert Hills should still be widely feared in Region 9. This team was hot, after winning 6 in a row. Now that they’ve had a reality check, they’ll be ready to challenge any team that stands in their way of the state championship–even if that means a rematch with the Tigers.
The Thunder have a big game this week when they take on the resurgent 3-5 Cedar Redmen.
Dixie Flyers (7-2) vs. Snow Canyon Warriors (2-6)
Dixie 24, Snow Canyon 22
The Good News:
Dixie managed to hold on for a victory on Thursday, but they had to hold tight. Taking a 24-10 lead into the fourth quarter, it seemed that the Flyers were well on their way to the win, but two Snow Canyon touchdowns flipped that script. Fortunately for the Flyers, Snow Canyon failed on both of their two-point conversion attempts in the final period. If Snow Canyon had converted on even one of them, the game could have gone to extra time, and who knows what may have happened then.
Quarterback Blake Barney had another big game, throwing 14-of-28 for 252 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Barney is currently third in the state, averaging 245 yards per game.
The win was huge for the Flyers, who held on to the third place spot, which will give them home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Flyers have this week off before starting tournament play next week.
The Bad News: The Warriors came close again. Back-to-back heart breakers, losing to Desert Hills by 3 in week eight, and then to Dixie by 2 in week nine. The Warriors are a mere five points from a 4-4 record, as opposed to 2-6.
Brayden Linde put up big numbers Thursday night, throwing the ball 40 times, completing 19 of them, for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Kallan Webster caught the ball 7 times for 83 yards and one touchdown. The Warriors really played a decent game offensively. They didn’t turn the ball over at all. Their rushing game is what hurt them. Only gaining 65 yards on the ground will limit your chances of picking up crucial 3rd down conversions, on which the Warriors were a meager 2-of-14.
The levels of optimism should be higher than their 2-6 record shows. Snow Canyon has played well as of late. They just haven’t been able to capitalize when they need it most. They finish the season this Friday against 3-5 Pine View. With a win Friday, the Warriors will tie the Panthers’ overall record, and have a better record in Region 9. This might be very beneficial in avoiding one of the powerhouses of Region 9 early in the playoffs.
Cedar Redmen (3-5) vs Canyon View Falcons (2-6):
Cedar 54, Canyon View 7
The Good News: Cedar owns the cross-town bragging rights once more. Sure, they’ve now owned them for 6 straight years, but regardless, this rivalry is big for the people of Cedar City.
The fans of the Redmen have much more to smile about than their rival’s. The Redmen flipped the switch midseason, after starting the season 0-4, they have now won three of their last four. Their only loss in that stretch came to Dixie by two points.
Cedar has a chance to end the regular season in a big way when they host 6-2 Desert Hills Thursday.
The Bad News: The Falcons continued to struggle in week nine, giving up 54 points to their rivals, while only scoring seven. Even worse, the touchdown they scored was their first, and only touchdown in Region 9 play so far this season. Canyon View has only scored 9 points in region games, while giving up 224.
Things don’t get easier for the Falcons, who will finish out the season this week against undefeated Hurricane.
Region 9 has two teams in the Deseret News’ 3A rankings:
1) Hurricane 8-0
2) Juan Diego 8-1
3) Delta 8-1
4) Stansbury 7-1
5) Desert Hills 6-2