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High school football: Dixie rebounds nicely after incurring a rough start to the year

Three straight losses by a combined seven points to start the year worked to help galvanize the Flyers for the rest of the season

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SAINT GEORGE — Taking three losses in a row to start the year is tough on most teams, but doing it in the fashion Dixie did makes it perhaps even more so.

If the last two weeks are any indication, however, the Flyers have rebounded nicely from a brutal start of the season, and look primed to compete against always formidable Region 9 play.

Not only did Dixie lose its first three games of the year by a combined total of only seven points, but squandered late leads in taking three consecutive punches to the gut.

“Those games were tough, but we knew they’d be,” said Dixie coach Blaine Monkres. “The frustrating things is we had leads and just couldn’t close it at the end, but you expect some of that, especially early in the year, and that’s why you like to schedule tough teams.”

The first game of the year saw the Flyers take a 25-22 loss to Springville before a 24-21 loss at the hands of Roy, where a touchdown by the Royals in the final minute determined the outcome. In week three, it was a touchdown scored by Mountain View with under a minute remaining to serve Monkres’ team with a heartbreaking 21-20 loss.

“It’s tough on the kids, sure, but at the same time, they know it’s a long season,” Monkres said. “It’s region play that matters most for us, and we’ve had a great start to region play, and maybe at least some of that is due to the tough three games we lost to start the year.”

Indeed Dixie has been off to a quick start in Region 9 play, getting past Hurricane 35-6 in week 4 and then by Desert Hills the next week 13-0. Both of those games showcased Dixie’s experienced and capable defense, with a relatively young offense showing promise.

“We’ve had some key guys go down already with injury, but we’ve adjusted and hopefully we don’t have any more big injuries,” Monkres said. “Then on offense we’re real young with just four seniors starting, and the rest of them sophomores and juniors, but that group is coming together after some early struggles. Hopefully we’re over the hump now.”

In short, Dixie is rounding into its typically competitive form, which could see it again at the top, or at least near the top of the standings of Region 9 when it’s all said and done. But as everyone knows, nothing has been typical with this 2020 prep football season, given all of the COVID-19 Pandemic precautions, with Monkres doing his best to battle through all of it.

“It’s still far from normal, and it’s our job to make sure the kids realize it’s still far from normal,” Monkres said. “Just prior to our last game I think we saw some kids lighten up a bit with forgetting their masks, and other things, so I took the opportunity to give them a tough speech reminding them to stay mindful of all the precautions so we can get through this thing.”