3 Region 10 football teams victorious in openers as new season kicks off – St George News
ST. GEORGE — All seven Region 10 football teams played their first games of the year and two of them emerged as frontrunners.
Desert Hills beat Brighton on the road Thursday night, then Snow Canyon walloped Northridge Friday night at home, establishing the Thunder and the Warriors as the early leaders in the region.
Crimson Cliffs edged its Region 11 opponent in its first game, while Dixie, Pine View, Cedar and Hurricane all suffered setbacks under the Friday Night Lights to complete the first week of the season.
Following are recaps of Region 10 teams in action.
Snow Canyon 48, Northridge 7
The Warriors exploded for all of their points in the first half, scoring early and often against the overwhelmed Knights.
Senior quarterback Hunter Johnson threw for 242 yards and six touchdown passes in the first half. Senior Jake Hill caught three of those TDs with his five grabs for 141 yards.
Snow Canyon receivers Will Warner, Dahrius Romander and Brooks Esplin also caught touchdown passes from Johnson.
Corbin Christian was 5-for-6 on extra point kicks for Snow Canyon in the win.
Crimson Cliffs 10, Green Canyon 3
It didn’t come easy for the Mustangs, and it wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.
Crimson Cliffs quarterback Steele Barben (with ball) looks to throw against Green Canyon, Washington, Utah, Aug. 12, 2022 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News
Despite turning the ball over on its first two possessions and scoring only twice all game, the Crimson Cliffs High School football team eked out a 10-3 home victory over Green Canyon Friday night.
The visiting Wolves were the preseason favorites to win Region 11 but came into the game missing one of their top playmakers, senior Kaden Stuart, who was lost to a preseason injury.
A stellar effort from the Crimson Cliffs defensive line, which only got better as the game went on, prevented the Wolves from scoring a touchdown in the contest.
The visitors got on the board first with a little over two minutes left in the opening quarter after kicker Caleb Naegle booted a 30-yard field goal.
Then a big play put the Mustangs ahead for good shortly into the second frame.
Junior quarterback Steele Barben found senior Konner Kell wide open down the sideline for a 57-yard touchdown strike.
Ty Ottenschott’s extra point made it 7-3 Mustangs, and the score remained until just over two minutes left in the contest when Ottenschott’s 30-yard field goal provided the final margin.
Springville 41, Dixie 14
The Red Devils didn’t give Dixie much room to work with and stymied the Flyers’ offense for most of the night.
The Dixie Flyers against Springville in a non-region football game, St. George, Utah, Aug. 12, 2022 | Photo by Jacqui Knighton, St. George News
Special teams were a highlight for Dixie as senior Seth Takau ripped off a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
But the Flyers were in too deep a hole as the visitors led 28-7 at halftime.
“We just got to make more plays on offense and defense. I thought special teams were good,” Dixie coach Blaine Monkres told St. George News after the game.
“We got off some good punts and got the kickoff return for a touchdown,” he added. “Offense just left the defense out on the field for way too long, didn’t get any first downs.”
Senior Blake Watson collected a 40-yard touchdown pass from senior Jalen Schultz right before halftime for Dixie’s other score.
“It’s good to play someone else. We go back and watch some film now and thin the herd out a little bit and get some guys who can play,” Monkres said.
All six Springville touchdowns came on the run, with Tavita Valeti scoring three times and piling up 256 rushing yards against the Dixie defense.
Mountain Crest 27, Hurricane 0
The Hurricane Tigers was shut out 27-0 by the Mountain Crest Mustangs Friday night.
Although technically a home game for Hurricane, the contest was played at Desert Hills High in St. George, as Hurricane’s newly installed field turf isn’t quite ready.
Senior running back Carson Olsen rushed for all four of the Mustangs’ TDs, scoring one in each quarter.
Next Friday, Hurricane will be on the road as they travel out of state to face the Moapa Valley High School Pirates in Overton, Nevada.
Spanish Fork 10, Cedar 3
In a low-scoring, defensive battle at Cedar, the Reds managed to score in the final minute but still came up short, falling to the Spanish Fork Dons, 10-3.
Cedar quarterback Koden Lunt throws a pass vs. Spanish Fork, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 12, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News
The Reds were limited to one first down in the first half as they struggled to move the ball on offense.
Spanish Fork’s Joshua Buck scored the game’s only touchdown on a two-yard run with 5:26 left in the second quarter. That gave the Dons a 7-0 lead that stood until halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, Spanish Fork picked up three more points when Carter Jones kicked a 22-yard field goal, giving the Dons a 10-0 lead.
Cedar’s offensive struggles continued until its final possession of the game when, after a Spanish Fork punt, the Reds took over at their own 20-yard line with just under two minutes left.
They gained over 75 yards on the ensuing drive, briefly moving inside the five-yard line. Cedar ended up trying a short field goal on second down with 23 seconds left. Kicker Parker Kucifer’s first try missed, but a penalty was called, and he nailed the second attempt. That gave Cedar its first points on the scoreboard and a chance to try to get the ball back with an onside kick.
But the attempt was unsuccessful, as the ball didn’t travel the required 10-yard distance before being recovered. Spanish Fork then ran out the remaining time on the clock for the 10-3 victory.
“Hats off to our defense,” Cedar head coach Josh Bennett said afterward. “I felt like our defense gave us a chance to stay in the game. It was a great effort.”
“We’ve got to get better offensively. And we will. We’ve just got to figure some things out, and we’ve got to figure out a way to get our offense rolling and try to match what our defense has done.”
Next Friday, Cedar will host the Juab Wasps, which defeated Emery 59-7 at Nephi on Friday night.
– written by Jeff Richards
Stansbury 72, Pine View 13
Down 56-0 late in the second quarter to host Stansbury, Pine View got on the board when TJ Jensen hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Brown. Kimball Swift added the extra point with 29 seconds left in the first half to make it 56-7
The Panthers scored again at the 7:04 mark of the third quarter on Brown’s 14-yard run to make the score 56-13.
But that’s as close as 4A Pine View would get as the 5A Stallions stymied the Panthers the rest of the way, adding a safety and two more touchdowns for the final margin.
Stansbury wasted no time, racking up 42 first-quarter points as quarterback Ezra Harris ran for one score and threw for two more in the opening stanza. Harris added two more TD strikes in the second quarter when he found Brock Wilson from 31 yards and Dylan Hamilton from 54 yards.
Pine View’s leading rusher was Brown, who had 29 yards on six carries.
Brown also was 7-for-12 passing for 103 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Abe Rosenlund went 4 for 10 for 37 yards and one pick.
The Panther receiving corps was paced by Quincy Jones, who caught four passes for 72 yards, and Blake Stucki, who collected three grabs for 65 yards. Brock Harris and Gilly Sanchez added two receptions apiece.
On defense, Pine View’s leading tacklers were Jacob Sersansi (7), Tyson Disnmore (6) and Preston Christensen (5).
The Panthers next play Aug. 26 when they host the Salem Hills Skyhawks.
— written by Vin Cappiello
Desert Hills 28, Brighton 21
After lightning, came the Thunder. Then a bit of a lull. But Desert Hills managed to ride out the storm and hang on for a 28-21 season-opening victory at Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights.
Thursday night’s contest was the only one of the evening in what marked the state’s first football game of the fall 2022 season. The contest was delayed 90 minutes due to lightning.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Thunder struck quickly, with quarterback Noah Fuailetolo connecting with receiver Lincoln Holmes for a 75-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes into the game. Shyaden Scott made the PAT kick to give Desert Hills an early 7-0 lead.
However, Brighton promptly answered with a scoring drive of its own, capped off with a 4-yard TD pass from Jack Johnson to Nash Matheson. That left the score tied 7-7 with 7:00 left in the first quarter.
Desert Hills then engineered a 75-yard scoring drive that ended with Fuailetolo running the ball into the end zone for a 1-yard TD, putting the Thunder back on top 14-7.
Late in the first quarter, Tayven Mortensen intercepted a Brighton pass at midfield, the first of three interceptions the Thunder would snag during the game. That set up yet another Desert Hills score, with Kona Crowell finding the end zone on a 4-yard run with 11:40 left in the second quarter. That gave the Thunder a 21-7 lead.
Desert Hills plays Brighton in season-opening football game at Cottonwood Heights, Utah, Aug. 11, 2022 | Photo by Kay Richards for St. George News
Then, later in the second quarter, wide receiver Javiyen Cummings, a junior who played in Kona, Hawaii last year, caught a 22-yard TD pass from Fuailetolo, putting Desert Hills up 28-7 with two and a half minutes left before halftime.
The Bengals managed to move the ball 80 yards in under two minutes, with Easton Smith catching a 9-yard TD pass from Johnson to make it 28-14 heading into halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Johnson once again found Matheson for a short pass in the end zone, bringing the Bengals closer at 28-21 with just over nine minutes left in the third.
Neither team scored from that point on, as what had started out as an offensive battle became a defensive one during the second half.
Desert Hills made multiple key defensive stops down the stretch, including forcing Brighton to turn over the ball on downs twice in the final few minutes. After that, the Thunder were able to run out the clock and secure the big road win.
“It was a good win against a good program,” Brighton coach Rick Berry told St. George News afterward. “We played hard and never lost our composure. However, there are several areas where we can improve and clean up.”
Next Friday, the Thunder will play their home opener against another 5A opponent, the Cedar Valley Aviators from Eagle Mountain.
— written by Jeff Richards
3A/2A/1A results involving Southern Utah schools
Southern Utah high schools in the smaller classifications saw mixed results during Friday night’s football openers.
In Cedar City, Canyon View held on to win a close game at home, posting a 27-23 win over the Ogden Tigers. Quarterback Jaxon Jensen threw two TD passes in the Falcons’ victory.
Meanwhile, at Kanab, the Cowboys defeated Beaver 22-21 on a last-second touchdown, followed by a two-point conversion for the win.
At Milford, the Tigers defeated visiting Duchesne, 34-20. And at Water Canyon High in Hildale, the Wildcats lost the school’s first-ever football game to 3A’s Grand County by a score of 50-0. In addition, the Enterprise Wolves saw success on the road, picking up a convincing 40-13 win at Judge Memorial in Salt Lake City.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.
Eric George Goold came to St. George News from southwestern Colorado, where he was a radio news reporter. He has been a journalist for over 20 years in five different states. He graduated with a master’s degree in English from Kansas State University and writes nonfiction as well. Goold has been published in Sunstone Magazine and has done multiple public readings about local history. When he has free time, he enjoys chess, movies and dogs.