Dixie quarterback Jacob Barben received some good news before Friday’s game at Cedar: He was going to be throwing a lot.
“The (Cedar) linebackers are studs. They stack the box,” Barben said. “One-on-one on the outside, we are going to take it.”
Barben took advantage of those one-on-one matchups, finishing the game 23 of 35 for 289 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Flyers to a 24-7 victory on Friday in Cedar.
“They’ve got a good box,” Dixie coach Andy Stokes said. “That’s a really good football team. Up front they are really good. Their linebackers are really good. We felt we had good options out there. We had a lot of faith in all of our guys.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Barben got Dixie on the board with a 1-yard touchdown to Nate Mahi in the second quarter. The play was set up by a 44-yard catch by Hobbs Nyberg down the sidelines. That pass to Nyberg was one of five passes that went over 20 yards as the Flyers had their way with the Cedar secondary.
“On film, that’s what we thought we would get,” Barben said. “We came out here, and the pass game really opened up.”
But Cedar did stick around through the third quarter. While Dixie contained Cedar quarterback Mason Fakahua for most of the game, the star signal caller did have one shining moment. With the Redmen down 10-0, Fakahua dropped back to pass, scrambled to his right and broke through the Dixie defense for a 70-yard touchdown run to cut the Flyer lead to three.
But those kind of offensive plays were few and far between for Cedar.
“Contain Mason, that was the game plan,” Stokes said. “As long as Mason didn’t beat us we were happy. I think the defense did a hell of a job. That’s the best Cedar team I have seen in years. So they’re going to do some damage.”
One of the players taxed with containing Fakahua was the quarterback’s cousin, Malachi Fakahua. The two players ended up colliding multiple times during the game.
“That guy is a truck,” Malachi Fakahua said. “He got a couple good trucks on me. I just had to hold on to his legs and hopefully he went down. … I would hit him and sometimes he would say, ‘Hey bro, good hit.’ Other times he would smile at me and say, ‘I hate you.’”
Late in the third quarter, Barben found Mahi again on a 23-yard touchdown snag to extend the Flyer lead to 10. Dixie put the game out of reach in the fourth when Barben hit Nyberg for a four-yard touchdown.
“He’s a player,” Stokes said of Barben. “He’s only getting better each week and that’s our goal. We aren’t where we want to be by any means, but we are getting there.”
Follow Ryan Miller on Twitter, @millerjryan.