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. So I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a different story. —Dixie coach Blaine Monkres, on playing Cedar again after the Rebels beat them 41-0 earlier this year
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.
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.”
Monkres said Juan Diego, which Dixie defeated in last year’s 3A playoffs, is definitely the favorite to take the 3AA title this year. The other top title contenders, according to the Flyers’ head coach, are Desert Hills, Pine View and Stansbury.
And, of course, Dixie — but not if the Flyers can’t figure out a way to get past an upset- and revenge-minded Cedar squad on Friday.
Cedar statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 18.7 ppg (10th in 3AA)
Scoring defense: 18.4 ppg (3rd in 3AA)
Passing leader: Brecken Lewis (36-73, 49.3 percent, 579 yards, 1 TD)
Rushing leaders: Dallin Grover (100 carries, 372 yards, 5 TDs), Brecken Lewis (97 carries, 366 yards, 9 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Jeff Rogers (22 catches, 427 yards, 2 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Brecken Lewis (58), Dallin Brooks (55)
Sack leaders: Dallen Jacoby (50), Dallin Brooks (3)
Interception leaders: Bubba Allred, Jeff Rodgers, Austin Obering, Dallin Brooks (1)
Dixie statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 35.5 ppg (3rd in 3AA)
Scoring defense: 19.0 ppg (4th in 3AA)
Passing leader: Ammon Takau (169-252, 67.1 percent, 2,380 yards, 24 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Ammon Takau (84 carries, 411 yards, 5 TDs), Joseph Takau (77 carries, 341 yards, 6 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Drew Batchelor (52 catches, 746 yards, 9 TDs), Lukas Hildebrandt (40 catches, 574 yards, 4 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Stetson Jones (72), Taylor Strehlow (60)
Sack leaders: Braxton Ipson, Joseph (4)
Interception leaders: Tanner Webster (5)
Felt’s Facts for Cedar High School
All-time record: 343-287-8 (67 years)
Region championships: 18 (1953, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985 co, 1987, 1994 co, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2010 co)
Playoff appearances: 37
All-time playoff record: 27-36 (including 2013)
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-3
Felt’s Factoid(s): Cedar was the last school to score more than 90 points in a game when the Redmen blitzed Kanab 95-0 in 1954. Cedar's Danny Lindsay is one of only two players to return a punt for 100 yards (1959). (Since 1974, kick and punt returns from the end zone haven’t been allowed.) Cedar and Page (Ariz.) battled to a 41-41 tie in 1999 — the highest tie game involving a Utah team.
Felts Facts for Dixie High School
All-time record: 395-234-6 (69 years)
Region championships: 22 (1949, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 co, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1982, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1991 co, 1994 co, 2009 co, 2013)
Playoff appearances: 40
All-time playoff record: 52-32
State championships: 7 (1957, 1967, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1998, 2012)
State championship record: 7-2
Felt’s Factoid(s): Dixie owns the state record for most points in a season with 678 in 1972.