UTAH 4A FOOTBALL: REGION 9 TOP PERFORMERS FROM WEEK 9
As the season draws to an end and the playoffs loom, the in-region contest here in Southern Utah become all the more essential. Just this last Friday in a week 9 tilt, the Snow Canyon Warriors played spoiler to Dixie’s senior night in a 14-10 victory, which is a prime example of the weight these games carry. Snow Canyon was sitting at #10 in the RPI and Dixie was #11. The win for the Warriors has all but locked them into the top ten, which could mean a week 1 bye, whereas Dixie’s final spot prior to the postseason could fluctuate heavily from the initial #11 spot to as low as #15.
The RPI or “Rating Percentage Index is a statistical system used to competitively rank teams.” (UHSAA) It itself 100 fully determines what the playoffs look like come October 20th, not region standings or overall record, but the statistical algorithm. Love it or hate it, it does create a sense of every game being meaningful. For example, even if you have a multiple game lead on your region, you can’t afford to rest or take it easy heading into the last week of the season in fear of losing ground in the RPI race. With one more week to determine the playoff system, lets recap the three in region games from week 9.
SNOW CANYON EDGES DIXIE, 14-10
Snow Canyon went to Walt Brooks stadium and did what hasn’t been done in 4 straight contests by winning in consecutive seasons. This yearly matchup had switched victors again and again, until Snow Canyon gritted this one out. The game featured big turnovers, epic hits, great special teams’ moments and anything you could want in a heated rivalry.
The Warriors were paced by Quarterback Tank Kelly, who led the team in multiple categories. Kelly tossed 2 touchdowns to one interception, completing 54 percent of his 28 tries. He would lead the Warriors ground game with 77 total yards to boot.
JT Westbrook was the sole recipient of both Kelly touchdowns. One was a 31 yards dime in impressive fashion, and the second deciding score was a 22-yard connection, proving Westbrook’s 62 total yards.
Semaje Thompson would lead the team in total receptions and receiving yards with 6 grabs for 97.
Ryder Holt led Snow Canyon’s defense with an impactful 15 tackles and an interception. Archie Threlfall was everywhere throughout the night finishing with 10 tackles himself and a pick. Mattix Smith also had a takeaway off a tipped pass.
Dixie saw Wyatt Truman connect with Jaxon Barben on a 14-yard touchdown strike as one of his 27 attempts, but the Flyers would struggle with turnovers throughout the night.
Truman would lead the Flyers rush attack with 30 yards.
Jaxon Barben had 6 total snags on the night for 50 yards with his touchdown to lead the team in receptions.
David Bartschi tied Barben with the most receiving yards for Dixie with 50 yards on 2 catches, one of which went for a long of 42 yards.
Louie Bennett had 7 total tackles, one for a loss to lead the defense. Carter Vanlehn recorded 6, 5 being solo and Aisa Lopati went for 5 total tackles.
Junior Coughlin recorded another interception in the loss to lead the Utah 4A classification in interceptions.
CRIMSON CLIFFS STYMIES PINE VIEW, 63-9
A 42-3 halftime lead for the Mustangs demonstrated how dominant this team was in all phases of the ball game. The second half would see the Mustangs continue to execute enroute to the 54-point victory. The Mustangs have not had a football game come within 30 points since August 25th, Week 3, in a 28-7 win over Springville.
Steele Barben tumbled over the 400-yard mark in passing yards on 34 attempts. He would average 17.6 yards per throw with 5 touchdowns.
This isn’t to say the run game as absent however as McCord Christiansen gashed the Panthers defense for 132 yards on 10 carries for a touchdown of his own.
Darius Strickland would check into the game and pick up his scoring ways with two rushing touchdowns to lead all Mustangs.
7 different Mustangs recorded a reception in the win, but Tyler West had more than anyone with 7 catches for 187 yards and Three touchdowns. Two of the three scores were from 50 or more yards out.
Boston Adamson wasn’t far behind with 5 grabs, 92 yards and two touchdown snags himself, one from 50 yards out.
21 different Mustangs recorded at least one tackle exemplifying the depth. McKay Wright had six and Jace Sweeten tallied 5. Both players would record an interception in the win. Kayden Madsen picked off Pine View once as well.
Max Griffiths had 4 tackles, 2 of them for loss with his two sacks. Kaden Haws also had 2 tackles for loss, and a half sack. Bronson Plumb and Kayson Cuff each brought down the quarterback once in the backfield.
Pine View found the endzone at the tail end of the 4th quarter when Adam Moore connected with Mohelangi Tonga for an 18-yard score. Moore would throw for 174 yards on the night.
Panthers star Tight End, Brock Harris, led the team in receptions with 6 for 51 yards and a long of 16.
Quincy Jones hauled in 5 passes for 58 yards and had the longest Panther play of the night on a 25 yards connection.
4 different Panthers racked up 5 tackles a piece, these being David Beckstrand, Matthew Costa, Seth Shumway and Braxton Linville.
In the sack department, Pine View saw another four players get on the board with one a piece in Damian Perez, Carson Curtis, Seth Shumway and Caden Nelson.
DESERT HILLS HANDLES HURRICANE, 56-18
Desert Hills has now won two straight heading into the last week of the season as they flirt with a top ten RPI spot. The 38-point victory over the Tigers surpasses Desert Hills largest margin of victory on the season which was previously 28 over Pine View. The Thunder are hoping to have caught lightning in a bottle as they enter the homestretch on a high note.
The Thunder may be a run focused squad, but the Quarterbacks had an efficient night as Beau Wall was 3 for 3, 83 yards, and a touchdown.
Gerritt Grondel went 3 of 4 for 35 yards, but even more impactful were his run attempts. Try 135 yards, or 45 yards per carry with four rushing touchdowns. Grondel would lead the Thunder in rushing yards.
Typical bell cow, Tytan Mason would fall 8 yards short of Grondel’s yardage at 127, but would have the longest run of the night by a 5-yard margin over Grondel with a 56-yard scamper. Mason would punch it in twice for Desert Hills for his 6th game with 100 or more rushing yards.
Javiyen Cummings would get his with limited pass attempts, by hauling in 3 receptions for 65 yards to lead the Thunder.
Austin Wintle would collect the lone receiving Touchdown on a 20-yard pass.
Jagger Shotwell and Broc Mooy lifted the defense with 6 tackles each and Isaac Borgeson recorded a sack.
Hunter Clark would grab an interception in the win.
On the flip side, Hurricane would see Ethan Staples strike from 20 yards out for the first Tiger score in the 3rd quarter.
Gage Huntsman would bag a 35-yard strike from Dylyn Gabriel for the second score.
In the waning moments of the 4th Brigham Kemp would hook up with Brendon Hoffman for another Hurricane six.
There are no listed statistics so far for the Tigers.
Week 10 Look Ahead:
All games will take place on October 11th:
Cedar returns from their bye week to host Desert Hills.
Dixie hits the road to give Crimson Cliffs one last region test.
Pine View heads to a resurgent Snow Canyon.
Hurricane crosses the state line into Nevada to play Lincoln County on their region bye week.