Region 9 Big Picture: Taking care of the ball pays dividends

Dixie's Kaden Williams (44) picks up a blocked punt, Dixie vs. Hurricane, Football, St. George, UT, Oct. 5, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – In performing pre-game duties, I am always compelled to ask local coaches what the “keys to the game” are.

And just about every time, coaches answer with one word – turnovers.

Other things factor in, of course. Momentum, slowing down opponents’ stars, winning the battle up front, etc. But then the conversation circles back to, you guessed it, turnovers.

Some coaches say, “We’ve got to take care of the football.” Others say, “We need to win the turnover battle,” and yet others mention “forcing turnovers on defense.” Which ever way the coach says it, he means this: The team with the fewest turnovers usually wins the game.

Thursday night’s Region 9 games had some prime examples.

Many thought Pine View could beat Desert Hills. No one, though, believed it would be a Panther blowout.

But that’s what it was, with PV handing D-Hills its worst loss in years. How’d Pine View do it? Well, a muffed punt and a key interception when it was still very much a game certainly helped turn things the Panthers way. DH had just two turnovers in the game, but both led to Pine View touchdowns. And Pine View didn’t turn the ball over once.

Over at Walt Brooks Stadium, Dixie and Hurricane technically had just one turnover each. But consider this. Hurricane’s turnover was a pick-6 carried home by Flyer Sam Westfall. It changed a 21-0 game into a 28-0 runaway. Plus, though not officially turnovers, Dixie blocked three Hurricane punts, two of which led to quick touchdowns by the Flyers.

Snow Canyon won its game, though the Warriors lost the turnover battle to Canyon View, 2-1. But those turnovers are what kept the game close and even gave CV a shot late in the game to pull off the upset.

But the bottom line – or the Big Picture – this week is what every coach says is the key to a winning game plan. If a team can stay on the plus side of the turnover ledger, the season will not go bankrupt.

Thursday’s Region 9 results
Pine View 42, Desert Hills 14
Dixie 42, Hurricane 7
Snow Canyon 7, Canyon View 0

REGION 9 STANDINGS
1. Dixie 4-0 (7-1)
2. Desert Hills 3-1 (5-2)
2. Cedar 3-1 (4-3)
4. Snow Canyon 2-2 (5-2)
4. Pine View 2-2 (5-3)
6. Hurricane 1-4 (2-6)
7. Canyon View 0-5 (0-8)

Next Wednesday’s games
Pine View at Cedar
Desert Hills at Dixie
Snow Canyon at Hurricane

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

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

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