Dixie’s season is a tale of two halves. The Flyers began the year 0-3 and after beating Desert Hills Friday night, they’re 4-3 and winners of four in a row.
The common theme between all of that is that apparently no one can stop Hobbs Nyberg.
Not even the big 5A and 4A schools Dixie faced earlier in the year could contain the Flyers’ speedy receiver.
Nyberg took off again on Friday night, catching three touchdowns and intercepting a pass in the Flyers’ 31-22 win over the Thunder.
The Flyers took over solo first place in the 3AA South region with two games remaining. They know there’s more work to be done, though.
“It feels awesome, but it’s nothing yet,” Nyberg said.
Head coach Andy Stokes said quarterback Jacob Barben had his best game of the season. Barben completed 11 of 15 throws for 225 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, but didn’t get going until the second quarter.
A big key to the game was whether the Thunder secondary could handle Nyberg and Josh Topham. Dixie instead chose to run Ammon Ah Quin early in the game.
Ammon Ah Quin runs in for a 2-yard TD to give Dixie a 31-22 lead over Desert Hills. pic.twitter.com/V0tgMQXJgu— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) October 1, 2016
Ah Quin ran nine times on the Flyers’ drive, which ended with Barben hitting Nyberg for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Ah Quin ran 28 times for 101 yards Friday.
Nyberg blew past the Thunder secondary on Dixie’s next drive and Barben found him in stride, this time for a 76-yard touchdown.
Nephi Sewell had another excellent game running the ball, rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns including Desert Hills’ first one that cut Dixie’s lead to 14-7.
Nyberg’s third touchdown catch went for 68 yards on a late, underthrown ball to the middle by Barben. Nyberg went up and caught it in front of two Thunder defenders and sprinted past the secondary. A very happy Stokes skipped down the Dixie sideline.
One play later, Brock Parry scored for the Thunder on a 60-yard run down the right sideline. Dixie burned five minutes of clock on its ensuing drive, cashing in on a 41-yard field goal by Thayne Reid that gave the Flyers a 24-15 halftime lead.
The key play came near the end of the third quarter. Desert Hills was backed up inside its own 20-yard line and had third down. The snap was fumbled and Dixie’s Tyson Fisher recovered it.
Ah Quin rumbled into the end zone from two yards out just four plays later to give the Flyers a 31-22 lead. On defense, Malakai Fakahua recorded nine tackles for the Flyers.
Desert Hills didn’t score on its next drive, as Dixie’s defensive line finally broke through the Thunder offensive line and forced a turnover on downs.
“We’re proud as heck of our front, our defensive front. I mean, that’s a heck of a game, that’s the best offensive line out there,” Stokes said.
Nyberg finished with four catches for 172 yards. He only caught one pass the entire second half, and that was a game-ending interception on the Thunder’s final drive.
Contact reporter Patrick Carr on Twitter @PatrickCarr_ and on Facebook at Facebook.com/PatrickJosephCarr1/ or call him at (435) 231-3834.