They call themselves, “The Kings.”
“Kings of the line of scrimmage, and that was our mission this game, was to own it, to go out there and play the best,” Desert Hills defensive lineman Laisene Bundy Sewell said.
Sewell and his fellow Desert Hills’ defensive linemen, including Jake Gould, Adeeb Jaouni and Carter Reynolds, knocked Pine View’s offense back time and again as the Thunder beat Pine View 36-19 on Friday night.
Desert Hills scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, a result of the Thunder’s relentless rushing attack and the defensive line’s dominance on the line of scrimmage.
Thunder running back Brock Parry scored an 11-yard touchdown run up the middle in the first quarter, then Nephi Sewell danced along the right sideline for a 12-yard score to make it 12-3 after Desert Hills started the drive deep in PV territory.
Nephi Sewell's first TD run. Made it 12-3 for the Thunder in the first half pic.twitter.com/LWQFvkLWqI— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) October 8, 2016
A big key for the Thunder was eliminating two-way players and thus, conserving players’ energy. Nephi and Penei Sewell, and Marco Jordan played exclusively on offense.
“I definitely felt like that was a good game plan for us, going both ways is hard, so going one way saves some energy,” Nephi Sewell said.
Sewell rushed 21 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
Parry caught the Thunder’s third touchdown, a 13-yard screen pass that completed a six-play, 90-yard drive that was helped by a 52-yard run by Nephi Sewell.
After Connor Brooksby hit a 30-yard field goal to give the Panthers an early 3-0 lead, PV had trouble moving the ball on offense until late in the first half when the game completely turned sideways.
Quarterback Ryan Javines, who threw for 265 yards, found Lance Mandrigues on the PV sideline for a 16-yard completion on third-and-11 to preserve a late first-half drive.
Five plays later, Javines found a streaking Dylan Hendrickson down the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown pass.
The Panthers recovered the ensuing onside kick, and Javines found Hendrickson for a 34-yard touchdown on the second play of the drive, on the exact same play call: a streak down the left sideline.
PV running back Jacob Mpungi caught a 42-yard pass in the third quarter, which resulted in another 30-yard field goal by Brooksby to tie the game 19-19.
The fourth quarter began, and the game turned on its head again.
“We had pretty good field position the last couple possessions, and the interception towards the end kind of put us in good field position that second half, better than it was in the first half,” Thunder head coach Carl Franke said.
One of Connor Brooksby's field goals for Pine View pic.twitter.com/YY9PZUs35D— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) October 8, 2016
Desert Hills’ kicker Logan Callister made a 31-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter as the Thunder retook the lead. They didn’t relinquish it.
The next two Panthers’ drives ended with an interception by Thunder safety Ryan Hoppie and a punt.
Nephi Sewell exploded for a 27-yard run, then quarterback Quinn Kiser put the game to bed with a 21-yard touchdown run three plays later.
Sewell added a three-yard score with less than two minutes left to bring the score to 36-19.
The win lifted Desert Hills to a 3-1 record in 3AA South region play, which puts the Thunder in the driver’s seat for the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. PV fell to 2-2 in 3AA South.
Both teams have a bye week next week and return to the field Oct. 21.
Connect with reporter Patrick Carr on Twitter @PatrickCarr_ and on Facebook at Facebook.com/PatrickJosephCarr1/ or call him at (435) 231-3834.