Recent Tiger opponents have committed fully to filling the A-gap and making Hurricane find success on other areas of the field. Desert Hills joined the list of teams Thursday night who learned that Hurricane has more layers to its offensive personality.
Desert Hills began well on the game’s opening possession, marching from their 20 to Hurricane’s 42 on a compact 11-play, five-minute 38-yard drive. The Thunder challenged the Tigers’ defense on a fourth down and five, but quarterback Porter Harris could not connect with his intended receiver giving Hurricane a shortened field.
The Tigers’ offense proceeded to demonstrate a shade of its speed personality on the first play. Running back Weston Yardley took a handoff outside and raced 58 yards to paydirt. After Ethan Stratton booted in the PAT, the Tigers were up 7-0 and had only retained the ball for 12 seconds.
Yardley admitted to feeling taxed after the long haul down the field.
“I was winded,” Yardley said. “Open field makes me happy though. When I have that, I have to make something happen.”
Hurricane forced a Thunder punt on Desert Hills’ next possession, and was more methodical on its second offensive possession. They went 69 yards on nine plays and fullback Brian Scott capped it off with a three-yard touchdown run. Scott was met by a force of Thunder defenders behind the line of scrimmage, but bounced off and fought forward until he was in the end zone. It was Hurricane 14-0 right before the end of the first quarter.
In the third quarter, Yardley struck again. After another Thunder failed fourth down attempt, Hurricane took over on its own 36-yard line. Tiger quarterback Taylor Parker (9-for-9 passing for 120 yards) threw a short pass out to a waiting Yardley in the flat and he was off to the races again. Yardley sped down the sideline 25 yards, and then cut inside right before a Thunder defender arrived. He made it down to the Desert Hills seven-yard line and was tackled, but the play equated to a 57-yard gain and a play later, Scott ran into the end zone again making the score 21-0 with 1:05 remaining in the first half.
Yardley finished with three receptions for 72 yards and rushed the ball three times for 84 and one touchdown. His other speedster accomplice who hurt Desert Hills’ defense was running back Adam Thompson. Thompson rushed nine times for 108 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown run just after the fourth quarter started to put the Tigers up 35-0.
With the Thunder’s commitment to not letting Region 9’s leading rusher Scott beat them, Yardley and Thompson filled in nicely and showed the other dimension the Tigers’ offense has.
“Every time we’ve needed big plays, both of those guys give it to us,” Tigers’ coach Chris Homer said. “It makes it really tough to defend us because we have two edges that can run and the inside power from Scott.
“We have a great offensive line, a great leader in our quarterback, we love what we have.”
Hurricane wrapped up the Region 9 title and the seniors on this team who have been a part of three straight 3A State Title appearances are looking to make a fourth, but they do not want to undervalue any achievement.
“This was a huge win for us, to take region,” Yardley said. “It was one our main goals, our first goal. We have to finish the season strong against Canyon View [next week] and then get ready for playoffs.”
Homer was not patting himself on the back after the game.
“I hate to be a, I don’t know what you would call it, those 1-8 seasons are still fresh in my mind,” Homer said. “I never take it for granted.”
And if anybody thought the Tigers were a one dimensional Brian Scott A-gap running only offense, they now have to consider other aspects.
“We knew they were going to put nine in the box. Pine View did that to us in our last game and we were better prepared this time,” Homer said. Coach Pearson [offensive coordinator] did an excellent job of calling the plays and the kids executed them.”
Homer reminded his team afterwards to not let attention distract them of their objectives.
“We rarely talk about wins,” He said. “We just talk about keeping a standard of football, the Tiger way of football.”
Hurricane finished with 288 rushing yards and 420 total yards of offense. Scott had 78 yards on 13 rushes and two touchdowns. Colton Marshall caught three passes for 40 yards. Jared Edwards and Taylor Parker had eight tackles apiece.
Desert Hills finished with 92 yards rushing and 108 passing. Mike Needham rushed for 64 yards on eight carries and Porter Harris had 34 on 14 rushes. Brad Wulfenstein had seven tackles on defense, and had the 43-yard touchdown reception.
Hurricane 14 – 7 – 7 – 7 < 35
Desert Hills 0 – 0 – 0 – 8 < 8
H < Yardley 58 run (Stratton kick) 6:46
H < Scott 3 run (Stratton kick) 0:06
H < Scott 7 run (Stratton kick) 1:10
H < Yardley 12 pass from Prince (Stratton kick) 5:18
H < Thompson 65 run (Stratton kick) 12:00
DH < Wulfenstein 43 pass Staheli (two point)3:32
REGION 9 STANDINGS:
Hurricane 5-0 (8-0 overall)
Desert Hills 4-1 (6-2)
Dixie 4-2 (7-2)
Cedar 2-2 (2-5)
Snow Canyon 1-4 (2-6)
Pine View 1-4 (3-5)
Canyon View 0-4 (2-5)
FRIDAY’S REGION 9 GAMES:
Cedar at Canyon View
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