It was all that and more.
Arguably the top two boys soccer teams in Region 9, Dixie and Desert Hills, slugged it out for the first time this season on Friday night.
When the cloud of dust cleared, the Flyers celebrated as if they’d won a playoff game.
Sophomore midfielder Trey Hoskins’ late goal gave Dixie a dramatic 2-1 win at Desert Hills and a 2-0 start to Region 9 play.
With five minutes remaining in a physical, 1-1 game, Hoskins cut in from the right side and let loose a dipping, left-footed blast that snuck past Thunder goalkeeper Isaiah Hacker at the far post.
“I was close enough to the goal, I looked up, I saw my opportunity and I took it,” said Hoskins, who is right-footed.
From the first whistle, both teams took to imposing their physicality on one another, but neither could gain possession very long in the first 10 minutes.
Desert Hills came closest to scoring first. Hunter Spray received the ball and danced around a defender, before chipping over the defense and finding Kanon Heaton streaking toward the goal from the right.
Heaton tussled with the defender and managed an awkward shot from eight yards out, which was saved by Ethan Poulton.
Apart from that shot, Poulton wouldn’t have to face much else.
The Thunder settled down and enjoyed most of the possession for the next 10 minutes, intercepting anything Dixie tried to pass out of the midfield.
All it took was one counter attack, though, and Dixie took the lead completely against the run of play.
Connor Buehner streaked down the right side and sent a cross into the penalty box.
It deflected off a couple of players before finding its way to Kevin Cabrera, who tapped it in from five yards out.
The Flyers controlled possession afterward, not letting Spray and Heaton run right through the back line anymore.
They passed quicker and got to the ball first, helped by Av’ry Green, who Flyers coach Burt Myers said was very influential in midfield by putting holes in the Thunder’s defense.
“By making those holes earlier on, Trey was able to get that shot,” Myers said.
Desert Hills went into halftime and had a lengthy chat, but took just 20 seconds to score after the restart.
Kelton Holt chipped a pass over Dixie’s back line and found, who else, Heaton.
Heaton out-muscled a defender on the left side of the box and sent a well-placed shot past Poulton at the far post.
Neither side could get a foothold on the game for the next 30 minutes until Dixie thought it won the game with 10 minutes left.
Bernabe swiped the ball and started another Flyers counter attack, laying it off to Green.
Green’s through ball found Morales, who finished perfectly past Hacker, but the flag was up offside.
It took a few moments for that to register to the Dixie side of the field, which was roaring with celebration.
But a few minutes later, they were back on their feet when Hoskins scored his goal.
Desert Hills pressed frantically trying to equalize and they nearly did three times in the space of a few seconds.
Heaton floated a corner kick to the back post with two minutes left and found Jacob Simister with a header.
Blocked by Poulton.
It ricocheted to Koby Imlay for another header.
Blocked by a defender.
Finally it fell to Christian Cottle’s outstretch foot.
Saved by Poulton, who fell on the ball and clutched it tightly.
The final whistle blew and three Desert Hills players fell to the ground, no longer undefeated.
“It’s tough, but we’ll come out,” Heaton said.
Hoskins was sort of in shock.
“It felt awesome.”
Snow Canyon 3, Cedar 0
The Warriors rode solid defense to a big Region 9 win. Kaden Wittwer scored two goals and Max Kemp added another.
Yerzel Camirillo and Will Regalato had assists for Snow Canyon
Hurricane 3, Pine View 2
The Tigers grabbed a massive win on the road with goals from Jeff Bjarson, Kaige Steglich and Tate Langston.
Hurricane led 2-0 at halftime, but the Panthers scored twice in the second half with Michael Cardenas Kalob Dudley.