Utah Natives Making an Impact at Small School Back East

Utah Natives Making an Impact at Small School Back East

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BUENA VISTA, Va. (Aug. 27, 2007) - Southern Virginia University football got its season started right with a big road win over NCAA Division II foe Kentucky Wesleyan and Utahns made a big difference in the victory.

The Knights defeated Panthers 42-35 on Saturday, Aug. 25 and gained single-game school record 656 yards of total offense, breaking the old record by more than 200 yards.

"We recruit heavily out of Utah because we know the level of football there is very high," head coach Mike Smith, a former head coach at Copper Hills and Dixie, where he won a state title in 1998. "Most of the players we get from Utah are prepared to step out on the field and contribute right away and we saw just that in our game at Kentucky Wesleyan."

Offensive linemen Ben Burningham (Richmond, Utah / Skview HS) and Tyler Card (West Valley City, Utah / Cottonwood HS) provided protection for quarterback Luke Taylor, who completed 27-of-40 pass attempts for 554 yards and six touchdowns. SVU also gained 102 yards on the ground.

"Ben and Tyler are very important to this team," Smith said. "Ben is one of our captains and a great example because of his hard work and dedication. Tyler brings great experience to the team having started at Mesa Community College."

The receiving corps also got a boost from two Utah natives, Snow College transfer Matt Hadfield, who was an all-state receiver at Lehi High School, and Chaz Housley, a freshman out of Logan High School. Housley was third in the state of Utah in passing yards in 2006 and returned kicks and punts for the Knights against Kentucky Wesleyan.

"We were lucky to land Matt and Chaz during the recruiting process," Smith said. "Matt has great hands and Chaz can play several positions on the field."

Hadfield caught five passes for 79 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown that put the Knights up 33-14 in the third quarter. He also caught a 24-yard pass that set up the game-winning score late in the fourth quarter. Housley caught three passes for 57 yards and one touchdown, a 35-yard reception in the second quarter to put his team up 20-0.

Utah natives also made an impact on the defensive side of the ball including Shea Owens, who came to SVU via Lone Peak HS and Dixie State. Owens led the team in tackles a year ago with 80 and came up with four stops and four passes deflections on Saturday.

Freshman Tyler Bills from Springville made his share of plays registering four tackles, including one for a loss of two yards. On a key drive in the fourth quarter Bills wrapped up speedy receiver Demarcus Ganaway behind the line of scrimmage on a screen pass. Ganaway caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter and was such a threat on kick returns, the Knights squib kicked on their kickoffs from the second quarter on.

"Shea is a real leader on the field for our defense," Smith said. "He plays hard on every down and gets everyone around him fired up by making plays and big hits. Tyler is a very smart player and has great vision. He is going to help us this season."

Layton native and former Northridge High star Desmond Tyrell started at defensive back and returned a fumble 28 yards to go with four tackles, including one for a loss of one yard.

Other Utahns who contribute include receivers Marc Hadfield, Matt's twin brother, James Theler (Salt Lake City/Brighton), defensive back Trent Housley (Hurricane/Benson Union HS) defensive linemen Pete Hansen (Bountiful, Utah/Viewmont HS) and Mark Mooney (Bountiful, Utah/Viewmont HS) and quarterback Rocky May (West Jordan/Copper Hills).

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