With Canyon View moving out of the 3AA South division, Desert Hills needed to fill the void by adding a non-region game to its schedule. So in the middle of the conference play, the Thunder took a break to welcome the Logan Grizzlies Wednesday night at Thunder Stadium.
Unfortunately for Thunder fans, the welcoming was a little too friendly as the Grizzlies felt right at home and on their way to a 42-12 victory.
“We didn’t come to play today,” Desert Hills football coach Carl Franke said. “Give Logan all the credit. They came to play tonight and really took it to us.”
With senior quarterback Nick Warmlsey still recovering from an injury earlier in the season, the Thunder coaching staff decided to use the non-region game to get some players healthy, as well as a chance to give the younger players more game experience with the playoffs just around the corner.
Kobe Sattiewhite started under center for Desert Hills and led the Thunder to game’s first score. Running back Stetson Wood took a handoff from Sattiewhite and raced 70 yards before being caught from behind at the 7-yard line. On the very next play, junior running back Marco Jordan rumbled in from 7 yards out for the first touchdown of the game and put Desert Hills up 6-0 after a missed extra point.
On the very next series, Logan’s Spencer Corbett made a terrific catch over two Thunder defenders to put the Grizzlies in the red zone. But on the ensuing play, defensive back Cody Ricketts intercepted a pass from Logan quarterback Hunter Horsley who threw the ball into traffic after Desert Hills brought the house on an all-out blitz.
The Thunder didn’t take advantage of the turnover and ended up punting on the next series.
And that’s when Logan took over.
Running back Colton Hatch took a speed option pitch from Horsley and raced 13-yards untouched to put the Grizzlies up 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.
“We knew coming in that we needed to finish drives and we didn’t do that,” Franke said. “We did some good things but didn’t execute down the stretch like we needed to do.”
On the next series, Logan linebacker Ben Miller picked off Sattiewhite to set up a Hartman Rector’s 9-yard touchdown grab from Horsley.
But Desert Hills fought back and answered with a touchdown three minutes later. Wide receiver Garrick Sharp went up and snagged a 20-yard pass from Sattiewhite to set up Wood’s 35-yard touchdown run on the fly sweep on 4th and 3. Logan then stopped Desert Hills on a two-point conversion after a trick play went wrong to give Logan all the momentum it needed for the rest of the game.
Horsley found Kaden Jones, Spencer Corbett and Rector on screens, quick outs and slants to tear up the Thunder defense. Jones outjumped defenders, Rector was dragging tacklers and Corbett was able to get behind the secondary almost at will to keep the chains moving for the Grizzlies.
The play of the game came just before halftime as Horsley called his own number with the ball on the 1-yard line. Horsley was met by Desert Hills’ Justice Alo who laid a huge hit to force a fumble that was recovered by Ricketts near the goal line.
The initial call was a fumble, but after the referees got together, the call was overturned to give the ball back to the Grizzlies with fourth and goal at the 1-yard line. Instead of kicking a field goal, Logan went for it. Horsley dialed up another speed option pitch to Hatch who once again walked untouched into the end zone to put the visitors up 28-12 at the half.
Desert Hills opened up the second half with back-to-back turnover on downs as drives stalled as the Thunder neared the red zone.
After back-to-back fourth down stops against Desert Hills, Logan’s offense got back to work as Hatch caught a screen pass, broke two tackles and raced 47-yards down the left sideline for another touchdown.
Logan (7-2, 5-0) came into the game ranked No. 1 in 3AA and certainly lived up to its hype. Desert Hills (4-4, 3-1) came in as the No. 3 team — just behind Dixie (6-2, 3-1) – and will get back to the drawing board to improve all aspects of its game.
“We have to improve across the broad,” Franke said. “Logan certainly gave us a wake-up call and we’ll learn from this.”
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22.