ST. GEORGE – Some like it hot, and hot it was Friday night when the Desert Hills Thunder hosted the Syracuse Titans in the season opener for both teams.
Scorching 100-degree temperatures proved to be less of problem for the Titans than they had first anticipated, however, as they rallied in the final quarter to win 14-12.
“Considering the distance the team traveled today and the temperatures in St. George, our kids’ performance defensively played a big part in our success,” said Syracuse coach Jared Martin. “They kept a very talented Desert Hills team from claiming a win.”
Seven minutes into the game, Syracuse quarterback Trevor Davis hit Alex Vanderloo with a 20-yard touchdown pass and subsequent PAT by Matt Kealmakia gave the Titans the 7-0 lead, and it remained that way at the half.
Late in the third quarter, however, the Thunder scored but missed the extra-point and the Titans clung to the 7-6 advantage.
In the fourth, Syracuse receiver Kiwa Mo’o hauled in a 47-yard touchdown pass from Davis to put the game out of reach.
The Thunder scored late to pull within two at 14-12, but their two-point attempt failed.
“Quarterback Trevor Davis did a great job in his first start,” said Martin. “He executed his long passes and he really managed the game.”
Davis completed 14-of-16 passes for 153 yards and two scores, while Mason Woodard had 61 yards on 17 carries, and Hunter Dimick recorded a school-record four sacks.
“Our players stepped up when we needed them,” Martin said. “We utilized several of our players on both offense and defense, which took a toll on them in the heat,” said Titan coach Martin. “Defense was successful, and the offense put points on the board late in the game when it really counted.”
The Titans (1-0) are back in action Friday when they host Skyline (0-1), while the Thunder (0-1) hosts Moapa Valley, Nev.