Special teams and trick plays carried Springville to a 37-21 victory over Dixie at Walt Brooks Stadium Friday night.
Dixie had several chances to get back into the game, but key mistakes and costly turnovers doomed the upset of the Red Devils. With the win, Springville (4A) pushes its series win streak to four games after dropping a pair of games against the Flyers in 2011 and 2012.
“I thought we played well, but you can’t make mistakes against a really good team like that,” said Dixie head coach Andy Stokes. “We want to play tough teams, and we knew coming in that it was going to be a battle. We don’t want a false sense of confidence going into region play and that’s what you get with a soft schedule and Springville showed us tonight what we really have.”
After a 30-minute lightning delay, Springville struck first with a reverse flea flicker.
After taking the pitch, backup quarterback Ty Eriksson rolled right before heaving the ball downfield to his receiver Brennen Rymer who did everything right Friday night. Rymer went up and climbed the ladder, outjumping a Dixie defensive back for the score. Rymer also had an interception and a kickoff return for a touchdown on the night.
But the Flyers answered right back.
Junior quarterback Jacob Barben — making his first career start under center — found senior wide receiver Josh Topham for a 42-yard score down the left sideline. Topham left his defender in the dust and caught the perfect throw from Barben.
While both teams made big plays, it was the Red Devils who took advantage of them.
The Flyers special teams unit gave the ball away on a bad snap that led to a Springville touchdown. Running back Cole Bowers ran up the middle to put the Red Devils up 14-7. That lead got pushed to 17-7 at the half after a late fumble deep in Flyer territory gave all the momentum to Springville.
“We made some great plays, but we weren’t consistent tonight,” Dixie’s Hobbs Nyberg said. “We made some mental mistakes and it cost us tonight.”
Nyberg had a great night as he totaled 170 yards of offense, most of which came in the second half.
“We made sure to get him the ball more in the second half and things really opened up on offense,” Stokes said. “Hobbs is a special player, an unselfish player who does all his talking on the field.”
While Hobbs was the offensive playmaker, he didn’t have a touchdown after twice getting the ball down to the one-yard line. Hobbs was a decoy as Barben went untouched into the end zone both times.
When asked about the play of Barben on his first start, Stokes beamed about his playmaking skills.
“He made some mistakes, but he got better as the game went along and looked really sharp and composed out there,” he said.
Barben finished the game 10-17 passing for 196 yards and a touchdown to go with two rushing touchdowns.
On defense, Magalei “Buddy” Stevenson, Malakai Fakahua, and Tyson Fisher lived in the backfield for much of the night and disrupted the high-octane Red Devil offense.
Fakahua — who had 12 tackles on the night — blocked a punt in the fourth quarter to give Dixie some hope. But the Flyers couldn’t capitalize on the big plays.
“I got a hand on the punt just before and so the coaches put the block on and I just went up and made a play,” Fakahua said of the blocked punt.
“We’ll work on our mistakes but I liked what I saw tonight,” Stokes said. “This team is young but they showed a lot of heart. If we can cut down on some penalties and capitalize on big plays we will have a good year.”
Next up for the Flyers is a Friday road game at Lone Peak (5A) at 7 p.m.
Here we go... pic.twitter.com/uIkmRjV3Do— Justin Giles (@JustinGiles_) August 20, 2016