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High school football: Pine View uses strong defense to get revenge on Snow Canyon in 4A playoffs

Box score

ST. GEORGE — Led by running back Keith Adams — who rushed for a game-high 185 yards and three touchdowns — and thanks to a defense that forced three turnovers, the Pine View Panthers got sweet revenge with a 31-22 road victory over Snow Canyon in the first round of the 4A playoffs on Friday.

Friday’s game came after the Panthers lost a heartbreaking 44-43 game against the Warriors two weeks ago.

“We had some unfinished business,” said Adams after the game. “We weren’t going to let them win this time.”

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound running back made good on his promise as he ran all over the Warrior defense.

“All the credit goes to the offensive line,” said Adams. “Every time I touched the ball, there was a big hole for me to run through. It was a lot of fun and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

“Keith is a stud and is fun to watch,” said Pine View coach Ben Meier. “When we need the yards and the game is on the line, we know we can always count on him, and he did that tonight.”

The game looked to be another shootout as Snow Canyon scored on just the second play of the evening when quarterback Hunter Johnson found Brooks Esplin for a 54-yard scoring strike.

After regrouping and settling down on the next possession, the Panther defense allowed just 200 yards the rest of the way and forced three turnovers in the process.

“Coming in, we changed up the game plan defensively,” said Meier. “We knew the mistakes we made the last time we played them and wanted to make sure we were putting our players in the right positions to make their jobs easier and to fly around on defense.”

Johnson, who had a terrific performance and ran wild in the win two weeks ago for the Warriors, couldn’t get the run game going as the Panthers blitzed and pressured all night long.

“Hunter is a great quarterback and we wanted to force him into tough situations,” said Meier. “We wanted to take away his running lanes and make him throw off balance, and that’s what our guys did tonight. That’s a big reason why we had so many takeaways, too.”

Tanner Fordham, Marcus McKenzie and Ian Becker each had an interception in the win Friday for the Panthers.

Fordham’s interception led to Pine View’s first touchdown on the night, and Becker’s interception sealed the win with just three minutes left in the contest. McKenzie deflected the pass and Becker was there to make the pick.

“Our defense set the tone and played lights out tonight,” said Meier. “I couldn’t be prouder. All the position groups played well. Offense, defense and special teams.”

Pine View quarterback Tyler Brown completed 20 of 26 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown. Turner Williams hauled in seven catches for 60 yards, and Becker and Adams combined for 10 catches and 73 yards.

Snow Canyon was led by Johnson, who threw for 214 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. His favorite target was Brooks Esplin, who hauled in eight catches for a game-high 166 yards and two touchdowns.

With the win, the Panthers will face Desert Hills in the second round of the 4A playoffs. It will be the second consecutive Region 10 showdown for Pine View.

“It’s exciting and we are looking forward to playing them,” said Adams. “The revenge tour continues.”