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December 20, 2014

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Cimarron-Memorial rally falls short at home

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Kyle B. Hansen

Dixie’s Chance Harmon and Bill Katoa take down Cimarron-Memorial’s James Poole.

Dixie defeats Cimarron-Memorial

Junior running back Stephen Nixon carries the ball during Friday's loss to Dixie High School. Launch slideshow »

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Dixie grabbed the momentum first and held on to it en route to a 35-21 victory Friday over Cimarron-Memorial.

The Flyers (2-0) from St. George, Utah, got out to a 28-0 lead early in the third quarter and were impressive from the start. Quarterback Mike Sharp (14-26-1 for 210 yards) connected on his first four passes of the game, with Ian Gatchell catching two passes for 33 yards and Dallen Reber grabbing two for 27 yards. Reber later caught Sharp’s fifth pass of the opening drive, which was a 10-yard touchdown strike that put the Flyers ahead, 7-0, with eight minutes, 48 seconds left in the first quarter.

The host Spartans (0-1) responded with an impressive opening drive of their own. Stephen Nixon’s 23-yard run started it, but it ended with Cimarron quarterback Kenneth Banks having a pass intercepted by Dixie’s Helaman Tuitavuki, who returned the ball to the Flyers’ 40 yard line.

The Spartans were unable to register a first down in their next two drives, which took place before Reber had a 17-yard touchdown run with 6:08 left in the second quarter that gave the Flyers a 14-0 lead.

On their next drive, Sharp opened it with a 60-yard touchdown run that allowed the Flyers to own a 21-0 halftime lead.

Dixie’s momentum continued into the third quarter, when Sharp connected with John Matauto for a 53-yard touchdown pass with 9:36 left.

Down 28-0, the Spartans awakened when Zach Barbara broke loose for a 17-yard touchdown run with 7:09 left in the third quarter.

The Flyers’ next drive lasted one play, as Sharp fumbled and Michael Kelley recovered the ball for the Spartans on the Flyers’ 19 yard line. Nixon, who led the Spartans with 115 yards on 15 carries, tallied the first of his two touchdowns on a 7-yard run with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter.

Cimarron’s Charlie Siva recovered a fumble on the second play of Dixie’s next drive, but the Spartans only were able to advance the ball 3 yards on their next drive and still trailed the Flyers, 28-14.

“We had a chance to cut it to 28-21, and on fourth-and-4 we had a dropped pass and two consecutive penalties,” said Cimarron head coach Rod Vollan, who was making his debut in that role. “That’s when the momentum changed. That gave them a chance for momentum, and they finished the job.”

Reber’s 50-yard run with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter gave the Flyers a 35-14 lead. He closed out as the game’s top runner with 137 yards rushing on 15 carries and an impressive receiver with five catches for 50 yards.

Nixon’s second 7-yard touchdown run for the Spartans closed out the game’s scoring.

“We had a struggle in the second quarter and I thought we played poorly during the first three minutes of the third quarter,” Vollan said. “But we had a solid effort for the rest of the second half. We’ll look at the film and get better from this experience.”

Dixie head coach Blaine Monkres said he was mostly happy with his team's performance.

“Our first drive of the second half was really good and then we had a defensive stop after we fumbled (for the second time of the second half),” he said. “Football is a game of momentum, and we got it early this week and were able to weather the storm.”

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