Hurricane football head coach Steve Pearson called it the embodiment of Hurricane football: dominate the running game, milk the clock and leave with a win.
After 48 minutes against Snow Canyon on Homecoming Night, the Tigers had done just that in a 22-16 win over the visiting Warriors to start 3AA South region play 1-0.
“That’s exactly what we want to do. We want to keep the ball as long as we can and keep their offense off the field and keep them from scoring,” running back Jaron Cordova said.
The statistics were gaudy for Hurricane: 34 minutes time of possession, 70 offensive plays and a 229-42 advantage in rushing yards. Of a possible 24 minutes in the first half, the Tigers possessed the ball for 20:49.
Josh Parker returned at quarterback for Hurricane after he didn’t play in the 25-0 win at Carbon for “precautionary” reasons.
Jaron Cordova with a 2 yard TD run to give Hurricane a 22-13 lead with 10:55 left in the game pic.twitter.com/5p1gfrv7pC— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) September 17, 2016
He didn’t have to throw the ball much in the game because Jaron Cordova, Joe Armijo and Kolby Heaton ran right over the Warriors’ defense.
Cordova scored the Tigers’ first touchdown from seven yards out to put a bow on a 12-play, 63-yard drive that chewed up nearly six minutes off the clock in the first quarter.
Hurricane forced a 3-and-out on defense, then scored on its next drive, but much quicker. This one was eight plays, 78 yards and ended with an 18-yard touchdown run down the right sideline by Armijo to make it 15-0 Hurricane.
“That was outstanding and then we come back and make another good drive and put 15 up in the first quarter, and that’s something we haven’t done yet so I was happy to break that barrier,” Pearson said.
Chris Poulsen (@chrisLpoulsen6) dances in from 19 yards out for a Snow Canyon TD. 15-13 Hurricane leads, 2:24 3Q pic.twitter.com/FFcitPYP4k— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) September 17, 2016
The way the Tigers’ offensive line was dominated the trenches in the first half, many would have thought they’d have scored a touchdown at the end of its 19-play, 92-yard drive that took 9:56 off the clock in the second quarter.
But the Warriors’ defense held on 4th-and-1 at the 5-yard line for maybe its only highlight of the first half.
Snow Canyon finally broke through the Hurricane defense on the first drive of the second half going 63 yards down the field and scoring on a 19-yard screen pass from Matt Kitchen to Chris Poulsen.
After a 3-and-out by the Tigers on the next drive, Poulsen danced into the end zone from 19 yards to close the deficit to 15-13 Hurricane.
Cordova capped off another long drive in the beginning of the fourth quarter to give the Tigers a 22-13 lead. Cordova ran 33 times for 165 yards and was the beneficiary of the Hurricane offensive line, which battered the Warriors front seven all night.
On the other side of the ball, Quando Ieremia, Isaiah Johnson, Riley Stratton and Tyler Mitchell relentlessly clogged the trenches all night, putting pressure on Kitchen and holding Poulsen to just 14 rushing yards.
“Our defensive coordinators just told us, the No. 1 thing this week is being physical so I think we accomplished that today,” defensive lineman Quando Ieremia said.
Yet for all the domination in the running game and time of possession that Hurricane had, Snow Canyon clawed back to give itself a chance.
With less than a minute left, the Warriors drove down the field and Kolton Barber nailed a 41-yard field goal with 20 seconds left. Hurricane recovered the onside kick.
Wide receiver Riley Ballard, who Pearson calls the breakout star, was the Tigers’ leading receiver with three catches for 51 yards. One of which was a 35-yard jumping grab in double coverage along the Hurricane sideline in the first half.
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