For the past five weeks, Dixie soccer has been in the thick of Region 9 play, perhaps the toughest region in all of Class 3A.
The second-seeded Flyers beat the Hawks 6-1 on a hot and windy Thursday afternoon and moved on to face No. 1 seed Stansbury on the road Saturday at 1 p.m. in the next round of the playoffs. Every game has been a bruising 12-round heavyweight title bout, so Thursday’s first-round state playoff game against North Sanpete was something radically different.
It appeared lopsided on paper, though it took a while for the scoreboard to reflect that.
Jose Soto scored first for Dixie in the 17th minute, a tap-in from Trey Hoskins’ perfect low ball from the right.
Tyler Bennett, Zach Stucki and Cristian Chavez all scored in a seven-minute period to give the Flyers a 4-0 halftime lead.
Jose Morales scored eight seconds after the second half started and Av’ry Green added a penalty kick.
For all the goals Dixie did score, the Flyers had quadruple the chances and easily could’ve scored double digits. Dixie coach Burt Myers wasn’t so keen on the amount of early missed chances.
“To get through the next three games, you’re gonna have to finish to two or three great shots, if you don’t you’ll be reading it in the papers,” he said.
Hawks’ keeper Valentino Gasca was kept busy early and often and made several good saves to slow Dixie’s attack. But he watched helplessly as shot after shot went past him, though there was the occasional shot that hit the post.
On the other side, Flyers’ keeper Ethan Poulton only had to stop one shot in the first half, a free kick hit right at him.
“I think our whole back line has come miles from where we were at the first of the year,” Myers said.
Raul Angel-Mariscal scored a penalty kick in the 60th minute for North Sanpete’s lone goal.
Myers emptied the bench early in the second half, which played out more as a formality than anything.
“Do you win 8-0 and get out? Or do you let all your other kids have some experience and I think they had a ball,” he said.
The next task for the Flyers is Stansbury, which won Region 10 and boasts an overall record of 12-2-3 after the Stallions’ 2-0 win over Morgan.
Both teams thrashed Park City and shutout Cedar. Stansbury lost 2-1 to Logan while Dixie tied Logan 1-1.
Myers expects it to be a tough game, and if Dixie and Stansbury’s common opponents are looked at, he’s right.
The final common opponent is Snow Canyon, which split the regular-season series with the Flyers and tied Stansbury 1-1 early in the season.
Desert Hills 4, Carbon 2
The Thunder used a second-half barrage against the Dinos to set up a second-round date with arguably the best team in 3A: Juan Diego.
Hunter Spray gave Desert Hills a 1-0 lead at halftime before a second-half own goal tied the score at 1-1. Kelton Holt and Bridger Nelson both scored by crosses from Kanon Heaton before Spray added a fourth goal to make it 4-1.
Carbon scored a second goal late in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback.