ST. GEORGE — Carl Franke, head coach of the Desert Hills Thunder said that this Friday's game against the Stansbury Stallions would come down to whoever controlled the line of scrimmage. He couldn't have been more right. Desert Hills dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, holding the Stallions to 98 yards of total offense, and letting running back Bridger Cowdin to run for well over 100 yards and a touchdown while beating Stansbury 12-0.
"We started preparing for Stansbury about four weeks ago," Cowdin said. "We watched film constantly, and our defensive coordinator Coach Hansen put us in a perfect position to win."
After a scoreless first quarter, sophomore quarterback Nick Warmsley found the end zone from 20 yards out to give the Thunder a 6-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Warmsley was playing his first game at quarterback after playing running back last year for the freshman team, and staying poised was something that the Thunder really wanted to make sure he did.
"We were definitely trying to keep him calm," Cowdin said . "We didn't want him to rush things. He played under control, he was focused, and he made all the plays that we needed him to make."
After an interception from Stansbury quarterback Chase Christiansen just before the half, the Thunder led it 6-0 heading into the locker room.
Christiansen was picked off again early in the third quarter, and the Thunder were able to deliver the crushing blow they needed on the very next play.
Cowdin took a hand off and headed towards the right sideline, got a few blocks, and raced 66 yards to the end zone to make it 12-0 after another failed PAT.
Stansbury threatened on their ensuing drive as wide receiver Tyler Jensen had the corner beat on a double move down the right sideline. Christiansen made a great throw to a wide open Jensen, who couldn't quite bring it in, and the Stallion offense couldn't move the ball effectively the rest of the game.
As Coach Franke predicted, the Thunder came out on top after controlling the line of scrimmage. Their big, physical offensive line helped them consistently move the ball all game, and the defense made it very hard on the Stallions to do anything.
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"Our linemen single handedly won is that game," Cowdin said. "I have 100% confidence in them, and I'm sure that they're the best line in the state."
The Thunder move to 1-0 on the season and will play Foothill High from Nevada next Friday. Stansbury goes to 0-1, and loses their first season opener in school history. They will host Hurricane next week.
CJ Pronk is a Deseret Digital Media intern and a Stansbury High School graduate. After serving an LDS Mission to the Dominican Republic, CJ will attend Southern Utah University. Follow CJ on Twitter @BigCeeJ3113.