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3AA high school football preview: Cedar at Dixie

Dixie, Cedar meet again after one-sided regular-season contest

Published: Thursday, Nov. 7 2013 6:30 a.m. MST

Utah State High School 3A Football championship game between Spanish Fork and Dixie Friday, Nov. 16, 2012.

Ben Brewer, Deseret News

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ST. GEORGE — Little more than three weeks ago, the Dixie High football team dealt Cedar a demoralizing 41-0 defeat that was downright embarrassing for the Redmen.

The beauty of sports, though, is that it is often filled with second chances. And on Friday, Cedar gets another shot at knocking off defending 3A state champion Dixie in a 3AA quarterfinal matchup on the Flyers’ field.

And Dixie coach Blaine Monkres is definitely not expecting the rematch to be anywhere near as one-sided as the one on Oct. 16 was.

“Three weeks ago, they fumbled six times and we got all six of ’em,” he said. “I don’t expect they’re gonna do that again. They basically gift-wrapped it for us.

“I expect (Cedar coach) Todd Peacock is gonna have ’em ready to go. They had bad field position the whole game last time and they never got going.

“They were missing their quarterback (Brecken Lewis) in that game, too, and he’s back and healthy again. He’s a two-way starter and he’s a good kid and a good player, probably their best player,” Monkres said. “So I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a different story.”

And as for 40-something to nothing?

“Nope, not this time,” Monkres said adamantly.

Dixie will pin its hopes on a high-scoring offense, which averages 35.5 points per game, third-most in the 3AA ranks, and a solid defense, which has allowed 19 ppg, fourth-best in 3AA.

The Flyers’ offense is led by quarterback Ammon Takau, who has thrown for nearly 2,400 yards and 24 touchdowns. What’s more, he has run for another 411 yards and five TDs.

Joseph Takau adds 341 yards rushing with six touchdowns, while receivers Drew Batchelor (52 catches for 746 yards and nine touchdowns) and Lukas Hildebrandt (40 receptions for 574 yards and four TDs) are Ammon Takau’s favorite targets.

Defensively, Stetson Jones, Taylor Strehlow, Braxton Ipson and Tanner Webster are the statistical leaders of a Flyers “D” that’s certainly flying high.

Cedar, meanwhile, will pin its upset hopes on a strong defense of its own, led by Lewis, Dallin Brooks, Dallen Jacoby, Bubba Allred, Jeff Rodgers and Austin Obering. The Redmen have allowed just 18.4 points per game, third-best in the 3AA ranks.

The Redmen offense has averaged less that 19 points per game this season, however, with Lewis and Dallin Grover leading a rushing-based offensive attack with a combined 738 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.

The key now will be whether Cedar can take better care of the football and not commit those costly turnovers that doomed its hopes three weeks ago. And its defense must deal with a Dixie offense that is putting plenty of points on the scoreboard and, having tasted that glorious state title success last year, is a squad that's hungry for more this time around.

“We haven’t had a lot of turnovers ourselves this season,” Monkres said. “And our defense has been a lot better than it has been in the past. We’ve got guys making plays on defense, and we’ve been getting enough offense to stay out of trouble.

“We’ve got a lot of guys back from last year, but it’s not automatic that you’re gonna win just because you’ve been there before. If we play hard, get after it, don’t make mistakes and do all those things we’ve gotta do, we’re capable of making a deep run in the playoffs again. But I think you’ve got five teams that could win it.”

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