Behind a variety of weapons, the Desert Hills Thunder slipped past the Cedar Redmen 23-21 Friday night to advance to the state championship game.
The Redmen jumped out to the early lead against the Thunder when Cedar’s quarterback John Ursua broke away on a 44-yard run for the touchdown.
Desert Hills fought right back into the game on a 6-yard touchdown throw from quarterback Porter Harris to receiver Cole Kiser. The Thunder added a field goal before halftime to take a 10-7 lead into the locker room.
In the third period John Ursua broke away again, this time for a 68-yard touchdown run to put the Redmen back on top. But that lead didn’t last long as Mike Needham and the Desert Hills running game took over.
Thunder quarterback Nate Brinker, who stepped in for Porter Harris in the second half, threw two touchdown passes, one to Ty Rutledge from 33 yards out, and the other to Cole Kiser from 10 yards out.
It was too little too late as the Redmen made one last drive down the field and added another touchdown when Kaden Garrett connected with Kole Halladay from 25 yards out.
John Urusa led the Redmen with 166 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Mike Needham carried the ball 33 times for the Thunder, adding 166 yards.
It will be a Region 9 showdown next week as Desert Hills will face the Hurricane Tigers, who are looking to finally get over the hump this year, after finishing as the state runner up three years in a row.