Region 9 Big Picture: League play opens … with some surprises

Dixie vs. Snow Canyon, Football, St. George, UT, Sept. 8, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – It was a week of lessons learned in Region 9 football Friday night. Fans learned more about the teams (and their weaknesses), coaches learned more about how their players handle adversity. And we all learned that Dixie is not going to average 50 points a game this year.

Oh yeah – and penalties really can disrupt a game plan.

The undefeated Dixie Flyers used a very different formula to beat Snow Canyon Friday night than the one they had used in their first three games. Week 1 it was 45 points and a one-point win. Week 2 it was 44 points and a 14-point win. Week 3, the Flyers scored 69 points and won by 34.

But a physical and disciplined Snow Canyon team would have none of that. So instead, Dixie used defense and a couple of big plays to edge the Warriors and emerge as the only undefeated team left in the region.

Flyers coach Andy Stokes, who is admittedly an “offensive kind of coach,” was not unhappy at all with the different approach. After all, a win’s a win, no matter how it is obtained.

I asked him what his reaction would be if I told him before the game that the final score would be 13-10. His reply was classic.

Desert Hills’ Brock Parry (21) dives on his own fumble in the endzone for a touchdown, Desert Hills vs. Hurricane, Football, St. George, UT, Sept. 8, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“I would have agreed,” he said. “Remember, four hours ago you came up to me and talked to me about them and I said, ‘That’s the best Snow Canyon team I’ve seen in awhile.’ We’re not disappointed at all. We got a win. And we knew they were going to be tough.”

Stokes alluded to it later in the interview, but it’s worth mentioning that he, plus the Pine View and Desert Hills coaching staffs, can’t be thrilled with the amount of penalties their teams incurred. All three teams won, and perhaps that signifies that they were penalties of aggression. But the bottom line is that penalties either thwarted drives for those three teams or even directly nullified touchdowns. All three had double-digit penalties assessed against them.

With region play underway, those yellow hankies may just cost someone a game down the road.

The region opener for the Thunder was a defensive party as well. Hurricane had been averaging nearly 400 yards a game rushing the ball. Desert Hills defensive coordinator Nick Hansen took on the mission of slowing down the Tigers Wing-T – and succeeded. Hurricane managed just 98 total yards in its loss to D-Hills, showing that the Thunder defense is not one to be trifled with.

Cedar, which has allowed just 50 points in four games this season, continued to see its offense struggle Friday night … until the last five minutes of the game. The Redmen scored 19 unanswered points to close out the contest with cross-town rival Canyon View and come away with the victory.

Pine View, which drew the first region bye of the season (one team has to have a bye every week in a seven-team region), was dominating Cyprus before the Pirates made things interesting. Three straight touchdowns by the team from Magna weren’t quite enough as the Panther defense did just enough late in the game to get the job done.

So, what’s the big takeaway from Week 4? What’s the Big Picture?

It seems pretty simple, actually. Defense, as it turns out, will be a bigger factor in the playoff run in Region 9 this year than most previously imagined.

Like coach always said, “Offense wins fans. Defense wins championships.”

Friday’s scores
Desert Hills 28, Hurricane 3
Dixie 13, Snow Canyon 10
Cedar 19, Canyon View 10
Pine View 42, Cyprus 31

Next week’s games
Hurricane at Canyon View
Desert Hills at Cedar
Pine View at Snow Canyon
Dixie at Madison (Calif.)

Region 9 Standings (Region, overall)
Dixie 1-0, 4-0
Desert Hills 1-0, 2-2
Cedar 1-0, 2-2
Pine View 0-0, 3-1
Snow Canyon 0-1, 3-1
Hurricane 0-1, 1-3
Canyon View 0-1, 0-4

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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