ST. GEORGE — James Lark threw four touchdowns in the first half and No. 2-ranked Pine View held on for dear life in the second half to defeat crosstown rival Dixie 39-20 Friday night at Walt Brooks Stadium.
The victory clinched the Region 9 title for the Panthers (4-0 in region play, 8-1 overall).
"It's very sweet to clinch it on their field," Panthers coach Ray Hosner said. "They are a well-coached team with some excellent players. But this is one of our goals. We just want to get the regular season done next Thursday and start focusing on the playoffs."
Pine View used a short field on three of its first four possessions to sprint to a 25-0 lead less than a minute into the second quarter. The Panthers scored on drives of 25, 10 and 45 yards and added a three-play, 65-yard drive, stunning the home Dixie crowd just 13 minutes into the game.
"They talk a lot of trash, but we just tried to keep our emotions level and do the job," Panthers receiver Eric Adams said. "We tried to be good sports. They were a tough team."
Dixie had two punts blocked and Lark hit four different receivers for scores in the 13-minute blitzkrieg. Jesse Ence caught one from 24 yards out, Devin Graff pulled one in from 62 yards, Derek Buchanan snagged one from three yards away and Carson Seegmiller grabbed a score from 31 yards away.
"It doesn't matter who you are. If you're open he will get you the ball," wideout Carter Mees said. "He's a great quarterback and a great leader."
The Flyers got on the board in the second quarter on a four-yard Dallas Irvin run. But the Panthers matched that with a five-yard rushing score by Ence to lead 32-7 at the half.
Pine View turned the ball over three times in the second half to help the Flyers pull to within 32-20 before a late score by Ence clinched the game.
"The problem is we didn't come out with humility," Hosner said. "We figured they would roll over with the big lead we had. But Dixie didn't quit. (Dixie coach) Jake Nelson had them fighting to the end."
Lark ended with 170 yards passing and tacked on 54 yards rushing. Ence had 98 yards on the ground and the three TDs.
Dixie, 5-3 and 1-3, got a huge game from Irvin. He rushed for 146 yards on 35 carries and scored twice. He now has 1,178 yards rushing this season.