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3A football finals: 'Everything is different' as Tigers, Thunder meet again

Published: Thursday, Nov. 17 2011 6:43 p.m. MST

Hurricane's Brian Scott amassed 220 yards and three scores on the ground in last week's 3A football semifinals.       (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Hurricane's Brian Scott amassed 220 yards and three scores on the ground in last week's 3A football semifinals. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

DESERT HILLS (9-3) VS. HURRICANE (12-0)

Friday, 6:30 p.m. — Rice-Eccles Stadium (field turf)

Ticket Information: Avoid lines, purchase tickets at uhsaa.org

TV — KJZZ. Webcast — Live stream at deseretnews.com. Parry’s Power Guide ­— Hurricane by 11

SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to the playoffs, one should never make assumptions based on previous meetings. Desert Hills proved that last week.

Three weeks after Desert Hills was embarrassed 48-20 by region foe Cedar on the final day of the regular season, Desert Hills returned the favor last Friday with a 23-21 win over Cedar in the 3A semifinals.

In Friday night's 3A state championship game at Rice-Eccles Stadium at 6:30 p.m., Desert Hills will try and avenge another loss.

Brian Scott (Hurricane) (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News,) Brian Scott (Hurricane) (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News,)

No. 1 Hurricane dominated Desert Hills 35-8 back in Week 9 this year, and many expect a similar lopsided victory. Don't count Hurricane coach Chris Homer among those expecting a blowout.

"I definitely don't expect it to be near as easy as it was the first time. There's no way that's going to happen," said Homer.

Hurricane played nearly flawless the first time around, including 10 of 10 passing and rushing for 288 yards. Conversely, the Tigers' defense held Desert Hills to just 92 yards rushing.

Taylor Parker completed 9-of-9 passes in that game, but he said that game has no bearing on tonight's title tilt.

"We just need to forget about the last game and the score, 'cause it's a different time of year. Everything is different. We just need to come out and focus and execute," said Parker.

Colton Marshall (Hurricane) (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News,) Colton Marshall (Hurricane) (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News,)

Desert Hills certainly needs to focus and execute better than it did in Week 9.

"They didn't make a single mistake in that game, they got us, they kicked our butts pretty well," said Jake Nelson, who's been Desert Hills' head coach in three of the four years since the school opened in 2008.

For Hurricane, this is its fourth straight championship game appearance, but nemesis Juan Diego isn't standing in the way.

"Not playing Juan Diego is almost an odd feeling, but I'm as stressed out and anxious," said Homer.

Juan Diego lost to Spanish Fork in the quarterfinals, which then lost to Hurricane in the semifinals.

In last week's semifinal victory, Hurricane fullback Brian Scott was a beast, rushing for 220 yards and three touchdowns on a whopping 36 carries. He's eclipsed 1,500 yards this year with 28 TDs.

Porter Harris (Desert Hills) (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News,) Porter Harris (Desert Hills) (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News,)

Slowing Scott is the key to the game for Desert Hills, but Nelson knows he can't overload the middle of the field defensively. Otherwise, wingbacks Weston Yardley and Adam Thompson could have a field day as the two have combined for 1,445 yards and 22 TDs.

"You have to pick your poison with them," said Nelson.

Desert Hills' defense did a fantastic job stuffing Cedar fullback Hayden Bishop in last week's semifinal win, and it will need a similar effort against Scott.

Desert Hills features a power back of its own in Mike Needham. Even though he's been hobbled in recent weeks with a sprained ankle, it didn't slow him down last week as he rushed for 165 yards on 32 carries. Hurricane can't afford to overload the box to slow Needham either because quarterback Porter Harris is pretty dangerous running and passing.

Nate Brinker (Desert Hills) (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News,) Nate Brinker (Desert Hills) (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News,)

EMAIL: jedward@desnews.com

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY

Hurricane leads the all-time series 3-1, including a 35-8 victory in Week 9 this year. … Hurricane is 0-6 in state championship games, including three straight losses to Juan Diego from 2008 to 2010. … This is Desert Hills' first title game appearance since the school opened four years ago. … This is the first time since 2005 that a 5A, 4A or 3A championship game has featured teams from the same region, with Skyline beating Brighton that year. … It's the first all-Southern Utah title game since 1998 when Dixie beat Cedar.

COACHING REPORT

Desert Hills coach Jake Nelson: Has been Thunder head coach for the past three years, compiling a 22-11 record. This is his first time coaching in championship game.

Hurricane coach Chris Homer: Now in his 10th year at Hurricane, coach Homer has guided the Tigers to four straight state championship games. His all-time record at Hurricane is 75-42.

DESERT HILLS THUNDER DEPTH CHART

OFFENSE

QB PORTER HARRIS 14

Nate Brinker 13

RB MIKE NEEDHAM 34

Kevan Webb 21

RB KEVAN WEBB 21

Gavin Sargent 35

WR COLTON KENNEY 29

Cole Kiser 18

WR TY RUTLEDGE 1

Bud Pope 5

TE JOSH ANDERSON 85

Chipper Whatcott 93

RT GUNNER FORSYTH 69

Kalob Stevenson 68

RG NICH CONTRYS 77

Taylor Hummel 75

C TY SHELLEY 51

Robert Tauoa 56

LG BROCK DOMAN 57

Bronson Degelbeck 70

LT MCKAY ERICCSON 50

Jordan Kirsch 62

KR MIKE NEEDHAM 34

KR TY RUTLEDGE 1

K GUSTAVO MORALES-ALEGRIA 7

DEFENSE

DE JOSH ANDERSON 85

Keenan Wittwer 37

DT KALOB STEVENSON 68

Gunner Forsyth 69

DT TY SHELLEY 51

Brock Doman 57

DE NATE BRINKER 13

McKay Ericcson 50

OLB KEVAN WEBB 21

Mike Needham 34

MLB PETER BROWN 31

Kellyn Larson 9

OLB BROCK JOHNSON 10

Travis LaGrone 11

CB BUD POPE 5

Colton Kenney 29

CB BRAD WULFENSTEIN 8

Ty Rutledge 1

SS TY RUTLEDGE 1

Jordan Hokanson 33

FS PORTER HARRIS 14

Braeden Adams 3

PR BUD POPE 5

PR MIKE NEEDHAM 34

P PORTER HARRIS 14

Spencer Stahle 49

HURRICANE TIGERS DEPTH CHART

OFFENSE

QB TAYLOR PARKER 7

Zach Prince 6

FB BRIAN SCOTT 8

Jared Edwards 28

HB WESTON YARDLEY 5

Zach Prince 6

HB ADAM THOMPSON 10

Cameron Hatanaka 36

TE COLTON MARSHALL 84

Kellen Seely 22

WR BRADEN CHURCH 2

Koy Gubler 11

LT BRYAN LEE 71

Jacob Nielson 78

LG THURMAN JOE 53

Sean Hafen 55

C KALE PORTER 50

Patrick Sanders 52

RG ALEX SEFITA 54

Sino Sefita 63

RT KEVIN MORTENSEN 56

Austin Butler 65

KR WESTON YARDLEY 5

KR ADAM THOMPSON 10

K ETHAN STRATTON 33

Koy Gubler 11

DEFENSE

DT BRYAN LEE 71

Zach Wright 64

NG SEAN HAFEN 55

Patrick Sanders 53

DT KEVIN MORTENSEN 56

Jacob Nielson 78

OLB COLTON MARSHALL 84

Bennett Heyrend 17

ILB BRIAN SCOTT 8

Andy Perkins 34

ILB JARED EDWARDS 28

Cody Engstrom 51

OLB KELLEN SEELY 22

Sino Sefita 63

CB WESTON YARDLEY 5

Braden Church 2

CB ADAM THOMPSON 10

Koy Gubler 11

S TAYLOR PARKER 7

Zach Prince 6

S CAMERON HATANAKA 36

Robert Terrazas 1

PR WESTON YARDLEY 5

PR ADAM THOMPSON 10

P TAYLOR PARKER 7

Cody Lebaron 3

DESERT HILLS STATS

Scoring offense: 26.5 ppg

Scoring defense: 19.0 ppg

Passing leader: Porter Harris (108-178, 60.7%, 1,386 yards, 12 TDs, 8 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Mike Needham (164 carries, 1,257 yards, 14 TDs), Porter Harris (145, 590, 7)

Receiving leader: Ty Rutledge (40 rec., 580 yards, 8 TDs), Josh Anderson (31, 359, 1)

Tackles leader: Peter Brown (100 tackles)

Sacks leader: Nate Brinker (8.5 sacks)

Interceptions leader: Bud Pope (5 INTs)

HURRICANE STATS

Scoring offense: 40.8 ppg

Scoring defense: 15.3 ppg

Passing leader: Taylor Parker (47-72, 65.3%, 729 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT)

Rushing leaders: Brian Scott (184 carries, 1,530 yards, 28 TDs), Adam Thompson (72, 753, 12)

Receiving leader: Colton Marshall (18 rec., 269 yards, 1 TD), Weston Yardley (8, 124, 2)

Tackles leader: Jared Edwards (108 tackles)

Sacks leader: Bryan Lee (4 sacks)

Interceptions leader: Weston Yardley (9 INTs)

DESERT HILLS GAME-BY-GAME

Aug. 19 … Syracuse 14, Desert Hills 12

Aug. 26 … Desert Hills 24, Moapa Valley 0

Sept. 2 … Desert Hills 46, North Sanpete 14

Sept. 9 … Desert Hills 39, Canyon View 2

Sept. 16 … Desert Hills 21, Pine View 14

Sept. 23 … Desert Hills 41, Dixie 38

Oct. 7 … Desert Hills 24, Snow Canyon 21

Oct. 13 … Hurricane 35, Desert Hills 8

Oct. 20 … Cedar 48, Desert Hills 20

Oct. 28 … Desert Hills 34, Park City 14

Nov. 4 … Desert Hills 26, Stansbury 7

Nov. 11… Desert Hills 23, Cedar 21

HURRICANE GAME-BY-GAME

Aug. 19 … Hurricane 33, Skyline 14

Aug. 26 … Hurricane 48, West Jordan 36

Sept. 2 … Hurricane 52, Tooele 7

Sept. 9 … Hurricane 29, Cedar 20

Sept. 16… Hurricane 51, Dixie 21

Sept. 23 … Hurricane 42, Snow Canyon 7

Sept. 30 … Hurricane 35, Pine View 21

Oct. 13… Hurricane 35, Desert Hills 8

Oct. 20 … Hurricane 44, Canyon View 7

Oct. 28 … Hurricane 42, Wasatch 7

Nov. 4 … Hurricane 41, Grantsville 0

Nov. 10… Hurricane 38, Spanish Fork 35

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