3A football semifinals: Thunder, Dons set their sights on reaching title game this time

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 7 2012 9:00 a.m. MST

"I feel they're up to the challenge up front. We definitely see their pressure, (that) I think we have to manage in order to be successful. And Jason has to be smart with the ball," Chambers said. "He can't just sit back there and hold it and stare down receivers, that sophomores tend to do.

"He needs to be on his game as well, it's a joint effort, but that's what we have to do is manage that pressure. On film, that's all they do — throw guys at you."

Desert Hills is equally explosive on offense and behind quarterback Ty Rutledge has averaged 40 points in the last five games. Rutledge has thrown for 1,896 yards and 21 touchdowns and ran for 1,119 yards and 14 TDs but has struggled with ball security (12 INTs), also.

"He can throw the ball really well and is a duel threat with his legs. He's a very underrated quarterback in the state. I think he's an incredible athlete and does a lot of good things for us," Franke said of Rutledge.

"We're efficient enough to run the ball and throw the ball when they stack the box against us. That's what makes us tough to defend, we have athletes all over the field and we're not one-dimensional," Franke added. "We can do both; we're pretty balanced. You just have to pick your spots and take what the defense allows you to take. You can't put yourself in third-and-long situations and you have to be able to pick up some third downs along the way."

The Dons provide a stiff test defensively as one of the stoutest units in 3A. This year, they've secured 17 interceptions and found the quarterback 19 times.

"I think Spanish Fork does a great job, especially in the backend with a lot of their athletes. They're really similar to what we do," Franke said. "The team that doesn't turn the ball over and the team that can convert on third down and move the sticks is probably going to come away with the win on this one."

Email: tphibbs@desnews.com

Twitter: @tphibbsami

SPANISH FORK STATS

DESERT HILLS STATS

Sp. Fork vs. Desert Hills

Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Rice-Eccles Stadium

TV: None

Webcast: DeseretNews.com

Parry's Power: D. Hills by 3

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