SALT LAKE CITY — Week 9 of the high school football season could be best described as the week of the blowout.
Across the state’s five classifications — 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A and 2A — runaway wins were the theme, and in the 4A ranks on Friday night those wins belonged to the likes of Cedar City, Desert Hills and Ridgeline.
Each team defeated their opponent by at least 25 points — Snow Canyon fell just short of that mark with a 20 point win — some by much more than that.
Ridgeline led the way, with a resounding 56-6 win (Box Score) over rival Mountain Crest. The RiverHawks outscored the Mustangs 14-0 in the first quarter, 28-0 in the second quarter and 14-0 in the third quarter, dominating every aspect of the game.
Quarterback Kaden Cox was a star — he has been all season — and finished with five total touchdowns, four through the air, another on the ground.
On the whole, it was arguably the RiverHawks’ best game this season. Or so head coach Travis Cox believes.
“This was a great win for our team” Cox said. “Whenever you play your rivals, you want to play your best and I thought this was our best game of the year. Both our offense and our defense played great. I loved seeing all our kids who work so hard all year get some reps.”
The same could be said for Cedar City. The Reds defeated Hurricane 49-0 (Box Score), shutting out an opponent for the first time this season.
Early on, the game was close — Cedar City led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter — but a 35-point second quarter explosion by the Reds put the game away.
There were contributors aplenty, as five different Cedar City players scored a touchdown. Two of those were defensive touchdowns, a 56-yard pick six by Braxton Torres and a 39 scoop and score by Nate Stubbs.
All in all, it was a complete victory.
“We played defensively,” Cedar City head coach. Josh Bennett said. “We forced three turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Offensively, we executed well. Our goal was to have no turnovers and we did that. The offensive line did a great job giving Jaron Garrett time to throw the ball.
“We will continue to look for way to get better, but I’m proud of our coaches and our players.”
Watch replay: Cedar City 49, Hurricane 0
As for Desert Hills, the Thunder defeated Canyon View 45-20 (Box Score). Unlike the aforementioned wins, however, the Thunder waited until the fourth quarter to run away with it.
Through three quarters, Desert Hills lead by only a touchdown, 21-14. With the game in doubt, all the Thunder did was blow the game open with 24 points in the final period.
The fourth quarter scoring started how’d you expect, with Thunder quarterback Noah Fuailetolo finding Jordan Nunley for an 11-yard score (Fuailetolo threw for three touchdwons in the game). After that, things got a little more interesting, though.
First there was a 39-yard pick six, then a 28-yard field goal, followed by 35-yard scoop-and-score.
All of it combined to help the Thunder set aside some early struggles and pick up their second win in Region 9.
“I am proud of how our guys handled adversity tonight,” Desert Hills head coach Mark Murdoch said. “They didn’t give up and finally got things clicking. Hopefully we can carry that momentum into next week.”
Watch replay: Desert Hills 45, Canyon View 20
Snow Canyon will hope for much of the same, following their 44-24 (Box Score) win over Crimson Cliffs.
It was a bounce back win for the Warriors, who lost to Pine View the previous week. The Warriors staved off any letdown though, powered by the play of quarterback Landon Frei, as well as Tyden Morris and Brenton Childs. Both Moris and Childs rushed for touchdowns — Childs also recorded a pick six — while Frei accounted for three additional scores.
“Very proud of the way our team came together as teammates,” Snow Canyon head coach Mike Esplin said. “Unity and brotherhood. That is what we talked about the most through the week. We came together and worked through adversity.”
Watch replay: Snow Canyon 44, Crimson Cliffs 24
In other Region 9 action, Pine View clinched at least a share of the region title, with a 32-21 win (Box Score) over Dixie. The Panther actually trailed 14-0 after the first quarter, but outscored the Flyers 32-6 the rest of the way.
Quarterback Brayden Bunnell threw four touchdown passes, lifting his season total to 28, a classification-best.
It was all about the comeback, though.
“It was nice to see our kids stay calm and fight back through some early adversity,” Pine View head coach Ray Hosner said.
Watch replay: Pine View 32, Dixie 21
In Region 11, the Sky View Bobcats faced a little adversity of their own, but like they’ve done all season, they pulled through in the end, with a 35-20 win (Box Score) over Bear River.
Four different Bobcats — Walter Collins, Kasen Carlsen, Titan Saxton and Isaac Larsen — scored touchdowns as Sky View survived a “really tough place to play.”
“Bear River is always a really tough place to play,” Sky View head coach Chris Howell said. “We overcame a ton of penalties. and we will have clean those up in the future. We got in a good rhythm offensively and had a couple of key plays again on defense and special teams.”
Watch replay: Sky View 35, Bear River 20
Not to be forgotten, Ben Lomond picked up its first region victory this season, with a 30-14 victory (Box Score) over Uintah.
The Scots controlled the game from start to finish and outscored the Utes 24-0 in the first half.
Quarterback Ryan Alvarez ran for two touchdowns, threw for another and also recorded a 66-yard pick six to lead the way for Ben Lomond, which picked up its third victory this season, more than double the team’s win total from a season ago.
Not all the action in the classification took place on Friday.
Four Region 10 teams — Park City, Tooele, Stansbury and Ogden — as well as two Region 11 teams — Logan and Green Canyon — took to the gridiron Thursday night.
Both the Miners and Stallions continued their strong play — Park City is currently the No. 1 team in Region 10, while Stansbury is No. 2 — with victories over the Buffaloes and Tigers, respectively.
Park City defeated Tooele 46-27 (Box Score), thanks in part to a three-touchdown night from Seth Warner. Warner rushed for touchdowns of one yard, 20 yards and 88 yards.
The Miners led 20-0 after the first quarter and while the Buffaloes drew within 12 points at halftime, Park City proved too much for Tooele to overcome.
“It was a hard fought game,” Park City head coach Josh Montzingo said. “Great effort all around. I’m proud of the team for securing another region win.”
Stansbury, meanwhile, defeated Ogden 62-10 (Box Score). Stallions quarterback Kru Huxford accounted for four touchdowns, three on the ground, another through the air.
Stansbury started fast and led 28-3 after one quarter, 49-3 at the half and 62-3 at the end of the third quarter, before allowing Ogden to reach the end zone in the fourth quarter.
It was exactly the kind of performance Stallions’ head coach Eric Alder hoped for, after his team had its Week 8 contest canceled due to COVID-19.
“Another fast start and really clean execution,” Alder said. “The kids responded really well to the disappointment of not being able to play last week.”
As for the battle in Region 11, things went in the favor of the Wolves, as Green Canyon topped Logan 30-17 (Box Score).
With apologies to quarterback Jake Lundin, who accounted for two Green Canyon touchdowns, place kicker Porter Cragun was the standout. Cragun kicked three field goals and three extra points, scoring 12 points overall, and was the only Wolf to score in the second half.
With the win, Green Canyon sealed its position as the third-best team in Region 11, behind region champion Sky View and one-loss Ridgeline.
Watch replay: Green Canyon 30, Logan 17