REGION 10 FOOTBALL WEEKEND WRAP UP
BY KERIC SEEGMILLER
It’s been a fun-filled long weekend of football, family, friends and of course, food. Too much food if I’m being honest. But, we’re not here to discuss my eating habits. Let’s get to the task at hand: recapping the opening week of region football action.
The theme of the first week of Region 10 play? Firsts. Crimson Cliffs accomplished something it hadn’t done its now four-year history. The Mustangs held on for a 21-14 win at Deserts Hills on Friday, their first-ever win over the Thunder.
In Hurricane, the Tigers earned their first region win under second-year head coach Cory Ashby with a 28-19 victory over Pine View, their first region triumph since 2019. At the same time, Pine View defeated the Panthers for the first time since 2015.
Meanwhile in Cedar City, Snow Canyon used a big third quarter to erase a halftime deficit and grind out a 20-17 road win over the Reds. Will Warner sealed the deal for the Warriors with a pick-six midway through the third frame, the first defensive touchdown of the year for Snow Canyon.
Let’s take a closer look at each game.
CRIMSON CLIFFS 21, DESERT HILLS 14
This game had it all. The pre-game hype leading into the contest (many had this game tabbed as the game of the week in 4A). The crosstown rivalry. Former players on the opposite side. You name it, this game had it. And the best part? It lived up to the hype.
Crimson Cliffs set the tone, piecing together a masterful 75-yard drive, capped by 24-yard touchdown strike from Steele Barben to Jordan Eaton to build an early 7-0 lead. The drive spanned 10 plays and took nearly half the first quarter off the clock.
Desert Hills answered early in the second quarter, proving it didn’t need six minutes to find the end zone. In fact, the Thunder used a little more than 30 seconds to tie the game at 7-7 when, on the second play of the drive, Tyden Morris broke free for 48-yard touchdown run.
The Mustangs regained the lead eight minutes of game time later when Mason Topalian capped a six-play, 48-yard drive with a 5-yard run to retake a 14-7 lead just before halftime.
Crimson Cliffs took advantage of a Thunder fumble midway through the third quarter, cashing in six plays later when Barben connected with Tyler West for a 65-yard score to push the lead to a game-high mark of 14 points at 21-7. From there, the Crimson defense did what it head coach Wayne Alofipo has built the defense to do: get stops. Over the final 15 minutes of game time, the Mustangs stopped the Thunder on fourth down four times inside CCHS territory.
Deserts Hills managed to break through midway through the fourth quarter, when Beau Wall and the Thunder put together a 10-play, 64-yard drive to pull within a touchdown at 21-14. Morris finished off the drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game.
But the Crimson defense again rose to the occasion later in the frame when Jace Sweeten snagged his third interception of the season with 17 seconds remaining to seal the victory and give the Mustangs their first-ever win over Desert Hills.
Crimson Cliffs Game Ball: The defense. The Mustangs stopped the Thunder six times on fourth down, held Desert Hills to 14 points, and forced two interceptions to help win the game.
Desert Hills Game Ball: Tyden Morris. Morris rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries to single-handedly keep the Thunder within striking distance.
HURRICANE 28, PINE VIEW 19
It had been three years since Hurricane had won a region football game, and seven years since the Tigers had defeated Pine View. But the home squad wasn’t fazed a bit. Playing its first true home game of the 2022 campaign, Hurricane marched 65 yards in seven plays to find the end zone on the game’s opening drive. Sophomore quarterback Gerritt Grondel found RJ Wright for 37-yard pass to break the drive open. Four plays later, Grondel fired a 19-yard strike to Carter Ashby in the end zone to give the Tigers the early 7-0 lead.
Two drives later, Grondel broke free for 30 yards on the second play of the drive to move the Tigers to the Pine View 27-yard line. After a Panthers defensive pass interference penalty, Grondel connected with Wright for a 15-yard catch-and-run across the middle to push the lead to 14-0.
Pine View settled in early in the second quarter when Tyler Brown led the Panthers on a 5-play, 41-yard scoring drive to cut the lead to 14-7. Brown accounted for all 41 yards on the drive, connecting with Quincey Jones for a 19-yard pass, while rushing for 22 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown run.
Hurricane answered with a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive just before halftime to extend the lead to 21-7 at the break. Grondel capped the drive with his third touchdown toss of the half on a 1-yard screen pass to Ethan Staples, who sidestepped a Pine View defender on his way into the end zone.
Things got wacky in the third quarter, as the teams combined for 11 penalties and two turnovers. Pine View scored the lone touchdown of the frame when Brown tossed to Brock Harris for a 16-yard score. But the point-after try failed after a botched snap, and the Tigers maintained a 21-13 lead.
That score would hold until the fourth quarter when Hurricane drove to the Pine View 8-yard line. But before the Tigers could snap the first play of the quarter, the stadium lights shut off. After a 30-minute delay, Grondel connected with Wright for an 11-yard touchdown, their second touchdown connection of the game, to push the lead to 28-13.
The Panthers scored the final points of the game later in the fourth, marching 75 yards in eight plays to find the end zone. Abe Rosenlund put the finishing touches on the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, but a two-point attempt failed, and Hurricane maintained a two-score lead at 28-19.
Pine View attempted on onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, but the Tigers recovered the kick and prepared to run out the clock with 2:33 remaining. But, like the beginning of the quarter, before they could snap the ball, the lights shut off a second time. Following a second 30-minute delay, Hurricane ran for a first down, then drained the clock for their first region win since 2019, and Coach Ashby’s first region win as head coach.
Hurricane Game Ball: Gerritt Grondel. The sophomore quarterback looked like a veteran senior, completing 16-of-25 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for another 62 yards.
Pine View Game Ball: Tyler Brown. After entering the game for Pine View’s second drive, Brown jumpstarted the Panther offense and finished with 17 completions for 231 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for a team-high 145 yards and another score.
SNOW CANYON 20, CEDAR 17
After defeating Canyon View the week before, Cedar looked to make it two straight victories. On the other side of the field, Snow Canyon aimed to right the ship after two consecutive losses.
Following a scoreless first quarter, the Warriors broke through midway through the second quarter. Hunter Johnson led Snow Canyon on a 7-play, 62-yard drive, capped by Johnson’s 5-yard scamper into the end zone. The point-after attempt failed, and the Warriors held a 6-0 lead. Johnson accounted for all 62 yards on the drive, rushing for 48 yards while passing for 14 yards.
The Reds responded with 10 consecutive points to take a 10-6 halftime lead. After holding Snow Canyon on 4th-and-4 from the CHS 19-yard line, Koden Lunt led Cedar 81 yards in two minutes to score and take a 7-6 lead. Jourdan Raftery capped the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run. Two plays later, Ammon York picked off a Johnson pass to set up 37-yard field goal by Parker Kucifer to push the lead to 10-6.
Snow Canyon wasted no time retaking the lead early in the second half. After forcing a Cedar three-and-out on the first drive of the half, the Warriors needed just two plays to regain the lead at 13-10. After a short pass to Jake Hill, Johnson took off for a 73-yard touchdown run to put the Warriors back in front. Five plays later, Will Warner picked off a Lunt pass and raced the other way for a pick-six and Snow Canyon’s first defensive touchdown of the year. Corbin Christian nailed the point-after try to give the Warriors a 20-10 advantage.
Cedar answered with a pick-six of its own midway through the fourth quarter as York snagged his second interception of the contest and sprinted to the end zone to cut the lead to 20-17, but the Reds wouldn’t get any closer as the Warriors held Cedar on fourth down on its final drive of the game to preserve the victory.
Snow Canyon Game Ball: Will Warner. Warner’s second half pick-six was the difference as the Warriors held on for their first region win of the year.
Cedar Game Ball: Ammon York. York’s two interceptions led directly to 10 Cedar points and kept the Reds within striking distance.
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Hurricane at Cedar, 7 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Crimson Cliffs, 7 p.m.
Pine View at Dixie, 7 p.m.