No, the Dixie Flyers didn’t win the state championship, but it sure felt like it Friday night.
The Flyers went on the road to the previously undefeated Pine View Panthers and walked out with a 38-7 victory at Panther Stadium. Pine View came in looking to go 5-0 for the first time since 2007, but Dixie had other plans as it won its fourth consecutive game against the Panthers.
“It was a total team effort tonight, and I couldn’t be prouder of the guys,” Dixie head coach Andy Stokes said. “The guys came out with a lot of intensity with it being the region opener, and they went out and made plays and had fun.”
Pine View’s offense came in averaging 38.5 points per game, but was held to just 206 yards of total offense. The pesky Flyer defense forced five turnovers and never allowed the Panther offense to get in rhythm.
“Our offenses are pretty similar so our defense is used to playing against the spread,” Stokes added. “Our defense is really talented. Lots of playmakers and it was just a matter of time before it clicked and tonight we took a big step forward.”
One of those playmakers is Malakai Fakahua, a senior linebacker and team captain who finished the day with two interceptions.
“Malakai is a playmaker and is always coming up with big plays,” junior defensive end Kaden Williams said.
Fakahua credited his performance to his defense line who lived in the backfield most of the night.
“Kaden and Tyson (Fisher) were amazing tonight, and that’s why we call them the twin towers,” he said. “They draw a lot of double-teams and that allows me to just go out there and make plays.”
Hobbs Nyberg led the way on offense with a touchdown on the ground and two through the air. Nyberg finished the day with just over 50 yards of total offense — well shy of his big performances that fans are used to seeing.
But that was because sophomore running back Ammon Ah’Quin stole the show as he rushed for 153 yards on 25 carries.
“All the credit goes to the offensive line. They played awesome tonight and really opened up some big holes for me,” Ah’Quin said. “I came from Pine View so I know a lot of the guys on the other side of the field, and it definitely feels really good to come out with the victory.”
Junior quarterback Jacob Barben didn’t have his best passing game as he completed just nine of 20 passes, but did come through with three touchdowns. Barben also ran for 72 yards.
Friday’s game looked destined to be another nail biter with the past seven games having been decided by an average of 5.6 points.
But it wasn’t even close as the Flyers dominated on both sides of the ball.
Jake Staheli and Teilu Mamea each had an interception for the Flyers and defensive end Tyson Fisher added a sack, forced a fumble and recovered it all on one play.
On the next offensive series for the Flyers, Barben found wide receiver Josh Topham for a 39-yard touchdown pass.
Frustration then set in for the Panther defense late in the second half. After a flag was thrown for pass interference in the end zone, a Panther defensive back slapped the flag to the ground in frustration. The ref then grabbed another flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. Pine View had 105 yards in penalties for the game.
The Panthers did get on the board in the fourth quarter on a halfback pass. Michael Moten threw a perfect spiral to Carson Clark who took the 61-yard pass to the house.
Next up the Panthers is a home game against Snow Canyon, which is coming off a 22-16 loss at Hurricane.
Dixie will be on the road again and will take on Cedar, which is coming off an 18-17 loss against Desert Hills.
Justin Giles (@JustinGiles22) September 17, 2016