It was a bounce back week for Southern Utah.
Two weeks ago, the first round of the high school football playoffs saw a number of 3AA South teams fall to teams from the 3AA North division. Pine View was the lone winner with Hurricane, Snow Canyon and Cedar all going down.
But 3AA North’s reign didn’t last long as Dixie and Desert Hills – who each had a bye week for being the top two seeds in 3AA South – as well as the Panthers were all victorious in quarterfinal action this past week to give the South division three teams in the semifinals.
Since 2011, the South division has had at least two teams make the semifinals with several years – including this year – having three teams in the semis. In 2014, all four teams were from Southern Utah.
But after dominating over the past four seasons, Logan ended the Southern Utah streak in a victory over Dixie last year. It was the first championship outside of Washington County since 2010.
I’ll be in Salt Lake City for Thursday’s game at Rice-Eccles Stadium between Desert Hills and Stansbury with the winner advancing to the championship game next Friday. And now with that, here’s a look at some of the most notable performances from this past week.
Dixie’s Hobbs Nyberg has put up some incredible numbers this season and has done so against some of the top teams in the entire state. That’s why it wasn’t a surprise to see the junior lead his team to a thrilling 26-25 comeback victory over Bear River last Friday. Nyberg played at least three different positions last week with starting quarterback Jacob Barben done for the year with a season-ending injury. With the offense struggling, Nyberg was thrust into the quarterback duties where he rushed for 126 yards, threw a 38-yard score to Josh Topham and also recorded the game-winning interception on defense.
Scoring points wasn’t hard to come by for the Panthers as they racked up 543 yards of total offense for a crazy 38-36 victory over Tooele on the road.
Quarterback Ryan Javines completed 23 of 31 passing attempts for 345 yards, two touchdowns and also ran for 40 yards. Michael Moten was one of his favorite targets as he caught 10 passes for 126 yards.
Running back Jacob Mpungi continues to put up big numbers as he rushed for 152 yards and also had 130 yards receiving to go with three touchdowns on the night.
But it’s not always about offense. After Tooele scored a touchdown to cut the deficit to 38-36, the Buffaloes recovered the onside kick with the chance to win the game with 12 seconds left. But that’s when senior Tyler Heaton — who plays both ways — shined as he made a game-ending sack to give the Panthers the win.
Speaking of defense, Desert Hills played arguably its best game of the season as the Thunder took down Ridgeline 49-24 at home. Despite a No. 3 seed, several media outlets believed the RiverHawks were probably the most talented team in 3AA North. But Desert Hills quickly put that to rest as they led from start to finish. The RiverHawks scored two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter when the game was well out of reach.
Running back Nephi Sewell had his usual day as the senior rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns thanks to the offensive line opening up huge holes for him all night long.
Did I miss anybody? If so, coaches please send all your nominations to email@example.com