ST. GEORGE — Ryan Jordan had one defender between him and the end zone. That defender went low — Jordan went high. The result was a play that caused the small COVID-19 limited crowd to rise to its feet.
The Pine View junior showed off his leaping skills, hurdling the would-be tackler and then running untouched into the end zone.
In a lot of ways that summed up the entire 4A semifinal between two region rivals. It was the highlight play among highlight plays as Pine View crushed Snow Canyon 48-7 in the tournament game played at Pine View High School. The Panthers will play Sky View next week for the 4A state championship.
If it wasn't Jordan trying out for the hurdles, it was Dominique McKenzie catching bombs or Enoch Takau bowling over guys as Snow Canyon had no answer for Pine View's high-powered attack.
After allowing an opening drive touchdown by Snow Canyon, it was all Panthers as they scored 48 unanswered points to coast into the title game.
McKenzie had nine catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns as he showed off his blazing speed all game. The junior speedster currently holds the fastest time in the 100-meter dash in the state — something the Snow Canyon secondary can certainly attest to after having to chase him around all Friday night.
McKenzie tied the game in the first quarter by grabbing a 29-yard touchdown — and he was just getting going. Three plays into the second half, McKenzie got behind the Snow Canyon secondary and hauled in a 43-yard touchdown to make it 28-7. He got a third touchdown when he took a fly sweep and ran it in from four yards out on his lone carry of the night.
Between all those touchdowns, other teammates shined. Jordan had his hurdling score and added a second touchdown in the second half. And Takau added two touchdowns of his own — one from 12 yards out to make it 21-7 and a 10-yard rushing score that pushed the Panthers' lead to 35-7 in the third quarter.
It was a game that turned out to be an easy victory for the Panthers — but that was far from expected. Last month, in the two teams' region contest, Snow Canyon missed a potential game-winning field goal with under a minute remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 36-35 victory.
There was no escape act needed on Friday.
The 4A championship is scheduled for next Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Dixie State University.
Sky View dominates Ridgeline to advance to 2nd consecutive 4A title game
SMITHFIELD — When the Ridgeline Riverhawks traveled up to Sky View to take on the Bobcats earlier this year, it resulted in one of the season's best games.
Sky View narrowly escaped with a win when kicker Kasen Erickson made a 28-yard field goal with only 9 seconds remaining in regulation to secure a 17-14 victory. Ridgeline was the only team to come within three points or less in a game against Sky View this year, so anticipation was understandably high for the rematch.
The sequel, however, is not always as good as the original.
Sky View pulled away for a dominating 28-0 victory and to advance to the state championship.
Ridgeline came into the game looking to avenge their only loss of the year as the No. 4 seed in the Class 4A state tournament. Sky View, which was last year's state champion, followed up their impressive 2019 season by going undefeated and holding the No. 1 seed in this year's tournament.
On its first possession of the game, Sky View used its powerful rushing attack to march down into Riverhawks territory, culminating in wide receiver Isaac Larsen taking the end around in for a 2-yard touchdown to take an early lead.
Ridgeline put together a strong drive on the ensuing possession, but a false start on fourth-and-5 in Bobcats territory and put them in a difficult situation where they turned the ball over on downs.
The Riverhawks were able to force a Bobcats punt and the offense was, once again, in the process of putting a drive together when disaster struck. Ridgeline quarterback Kaden Cox got injured while attempting to throw the ball away and was unable to return for the rest of the game.
Replacing Cox was senior Even Webb who was unable to move the chains and the Riverhawks were forced to punt again. After dropping two interceptions deep in the Bobcats territory, the Riverhawks defense forced another three-and-out and got the ball back to their offense with a less than minute remaining in the half.
Webb was able to connect with receiver Jovesa Damuni for a 44-yard gain and to put the Riverhawks inside Bobcat territory with a chance to tie the game at. But Webb couldn't find the end zone on four-straight passing attempts and resulted in no score before the half.
The Sky View offense stalled on the last two drives of the half and Bobcats quarterback Kasen Carlsen was eager to put some more points on the board. Carlsen did not complete a pass in the first half and the offense only mustered 82 total yards.
The Bobcats received the ball to start the second half and quickly got the ball moving. The drive was capped off when Carlsen hit receiver Trey Nyman on the run-pass option for a 41-yard score to put Sky View up 14-0.
On the ensuing drive, the Riverhawks were unable to close the gap and were forced to punt it away deep their own territory. The punt was blocked, though, giving the Bobcats great field position. Only a few plays later, Carlsen found receiver Bryce Larsen in the back corner of the end zone for an 11-yard score to put Sky View up 21-0 with 6:34 remaining in the third.
The Riverhawks were unable to move the ball for the reminder of the game as the Bobcats' stingy defense did not break. Carlsen would later run it into the end zone himself late in the game to seal a 28-0 win for Sky View.