And then there were four.
At the beginning of the 2011 high school football season, there were 26 teams in the 3A ranks battling for a chance at winning the state championship. For 22 of those teams, that dream has been put on hold until next season. For the four teams that have battled week in and week out, and have found a way to win when it was needed most, this is their chance. And it’s good news for football fans in southern Utah, because three of those four teams are reigning from the same region, Region 9.
Cedar. Desert Hills. Hurricane. Spanish Fork.
There really isn’t much bad that can be said for any of the four remaining teams at this point. What they’ve accomplished up to this point of the season is insignificant now. What matters is winning. Each team is only two wins away from the state championship. But only one team will finally hold that title.
Cedar Redmen vs. Delta Rabbits
Cedar 28, Delta 6
This game really was the tale of two opposite seasons. After a rough start to the season, in which the Redmen were 0-4, it seemed as though most had given up hope for Cedar. The team, their coaches, and their fans didn’t. Cedar flipped the script on September 23, with a big win against Pine View. This win sent Pine View spinning out of control, and seemed to propel the Redmen to victory after victory. They’re now 6-1 since their 0-4 start.
As for the Rabbits, they were riding a 10-game winning streak into the game with Cedar. Their only loss came on the first game of the season. Not only were the rabbits winning, but they were winning big. Their opponents only broke the 20 point mark three times prior to their bout with Cedar, one of those was their opening day loss.
All good things must come to an end. I think that was the belief Cedar had with them Friday night in Delta as they stunned the Rabbits 28-6, bringing an end to Delta’s win streak, and their hopes of a state championship.
The Redmen jumped out on the Rabbits Friday night, going up 14-0 on two Hayden Bishop touchdowns. They added two more touchdowns in the second half including 72-yard and 49-yard running touchdowns by John Ursua. Delta added a touchdown late in the game, but it was too little, too late for the Rabbits.
Cedar will now face a familiar opponent on an unfamiliar field. The Redmen and the Desert Hills Thunder will clash Friday at Hansen Stadium at 5:00.
Desert Hills Thunder vs. Stansbury Stallions
Desert Hills 26, Stansbury 7
Desert Hills controlled possession, total offense, and ultimately the scoreboard in their showdown with Stansbury on Friday.
The stellar run defense of Desert Hills showed up again against the Stallions. Stansbury ran the ball on 39 of their 43 plays. The Thunder defense gave up only 139 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, the Thunder running game, led by Mike Needham, had more success finding the endzone. Needham ran the ball 20 times for Desert Hills, he racked up 133 yards and scored twice on the ground. He also caught a pass from Nate Brinker. Quarterbacks Porter Harris and Nate Brinker each had six completions and a touchdown pass.
Desert Hills scored three straight touchdowns before Stansbury managed to get on the scoreboard. It was a big road win for the Thunder who will travel to Salt Lake City to take on their familiar foe, the Cedar Redmen at Hansen Stadium Friday night at 5:00 on the Dixie State College campus.
Hurricane Tigers vs. Grantsville Cowboys
Hurricane 41, Grantsville 0
It was much of the same for the Tigers–another game, another win. This win brings the team to a very impressive 11-0 record. The Tigers are one of only four teams statewide to have not lost a game this season. Friday night against the Grantsville Cowboys, they didn’t even come close to losing.
This game must have been the reality of Grantsville’s nightmare. They got shut out by the dominant Tigers. They were picked off three times, and they gave up 41 points and nearly 400 yards of total offense.
Hurricane was all over the place Friday night. Adam Thompson had seven carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns. “The Beast” Brian Scott added 95 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown.
It was running back/defensive back Weston Yardley who stole the spotlight. Yardley picked up 76 yards on 7 carries including three touchdowns, and on defense he added two interceptions.
It was likely a bittersweet feeling for the Tigers to see the Juan Diego Soaring Eagles fall to the Spanish Fork Dons. I’m sure Hurricane would have loved a chance at revenge against the Soaring Eagles, who’ve managed to top the Tigers in the last three 3A state championship games. Surely the Tigers would have been up for a fourth battle. Instead they will now face the Dons of Spanish Fork in the semi-finals.
Spanish Fork’s upset over Juan Diego was a big game for the Dons. They erased a 14-0 halftime deficit, and silenced the Soaring Eagles in the second half. Hurricane must focus on their matchup with Spanish Fork. They can’t afford to overlook this team the way that Juan Diego may have.
Hurricane takes on Spanish Fork Thursday at Rice Eccles Stadium at 6:30.
What is certain is that Region 9 will be represented in the state championship game. What is uncertain is which team, or teams will be representing southern Utah.