By Tom Zulewski
Iron County Today
Just like the ebb and flow of ocean waves, there were ups and downs to be found in the sporting life of Iron County high schools during the 2016-17 school year that wrapped up with the 3A state spring tournaments last week.
Here’s our salute to those who achieved and made every bit of competition worth watching and celebrating:
In Josh Bennett’s second year as head coach, the Cedar Redmen may have felt like the most seriously snake-bitten team in all of 3AA. They would end up making the playoffs as the No. 4 seed after a coin flip, but they were better than the overall record seemed to indicate.
After finishing the non-region schedule with a 3-1 record, the Redmen opened 3AA South play with an 18-17 home loss to eventual state champion Desert Hills. Cedar had a 17-6 lead late in the third quarter, but Blake White-Schreibman missed a 34-yard field goal in the final minute.
Two weeks later at Snow Canyon, senior quarterback Mason Fakahua – bound for BYU on scholarship after he serves an LDS Church mission – suffered a knee injury on a running play as he tried to keep a potential game-winning drive alive.
Another missed field goal in the final minute allowed the Warriors to hold on for a 17-14 win.
Cedar would beat Hurricane at home the following week, but suffered another loss in the closing minutes when Pine View rallied for an 18-13 win in the regular-season finale.
The Redmen would win the right to host Park City in the first round of the 3AA South playoffs, but closed with a 28-21 loss to the Miners when a blocked punt was returned for a touchdown with 18 seconds left.
The final line: Four of Cedar’s six losses were by a touchdown or less. In addition to Fakahua, Quaid Murray signed his letter of intent and will play at SUU as a walk-on starting this fall.
Across town, Canyon View finished with a 3-2 record in 3A South and faced Juan Diego in the opening round of the playoffs. After the Falcons beat the Soaring Eagle at home the week before, Juan Diego went home and returned the favor with a 42-14 win.
It marked the end of the four-year run of Robby Robinson as head coach. He led the Falcons to a pair of playoff appearances.
Skyler Miller takes over next season, and defensive coordinator Carter Miller will be the new head coach for the Parowan Rams.
When the new season begins, Parowan will remain in the 1A ranks for football and look to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2014. The Rams will play in a four-team 1A South that includes Milford, Monticello and Kanab.
The Falcons will return to the Region 9 family across all sports and bump up to the 4A ranks this fall along with the Redmen.
After back-to-back runs to the 3A state championship game with one title in 2014, the Cedar Lady Reds finished third in Region 9 in 2016, one game behind co-champions Snow Canyon and Desert Hills. They would fall to Juan Diego in the opening round of the playoffs, its shortest stay since failing to qualify in 2009.
Canyon View would complete a second straight perfect run through Region 12 and advanced to the 3A quarterfinals before falling to Snow Canyon in a 2-1 overtime thriller.
Parowan earned a three-way share of the Region 13 title with Millard and Delta, but lost the coin flip and fell to the No. 3 seed. They would go on the road and drop a 2-1 decision at Summit Academy in the opening round of the 2A playoffs.
Canyon View fell short of making the cut as a team and didn’t have any individuals who advanced to the second day of the 3A state tournament at Soldier Hollow. Jamis Benson and Jackson Nelson both shot 82 in the opening round, three strokes off the cut line.
Cedar’s Jake Jenkins qualified individually, but finished four shots back at 83.
As they did one year ago, the Parowan girls team left an indelible mark in its final year in the 1A ranks with another state championship. The Rams had three runners finish in the top six and beat runner-up Panguitch by 12 points, 36-48.
On the boys’ side, Parowan was second to Panguitch for the second year in a row, finishing with 73 points. Three runners – Hunter Lorenz (fourth), Peter Ipson (sixth) and Jordan Ruesch (eighth) finished among the top eight for the Rams.
Cedar sophomore Mic Webster ran to a fourth-place finish at Sugarhouse Park as the Lady Reds came in third overall at 84 points behind Pine View and Desert Hills. The Canyon View boys got top-20 runs from Justin Hunt (12th) and Adam Covington (16th) to finish fourth.
The Cedar girls finished second in Region 9 for the second year in a row – this time to Desert Hills – but were bounced to the consolation bracket by Richfield in the quarterfinals at the 3A playoffs. They finished the year with an 18-7 record.
Canyon View’s boys team won the Region 12 title for the second year in a row, but couldn’t spoil the bid of another defending 3A champion to repeat. The Dixie Flyers held on for a 48-43 win in the quarterfinals, and the Falcons went on to win its next two games over Richfield and Stansbury to finish fifth.
Parowan’s boys team fell to fifth in Region 20 after dropping the regular-season finale on a buzzer-beater by Piute’s Ryan Westwood, then beat Bryce Valley to earn the No. 3 seed for the 1A state tournament.
The teams would meet again in Richfield, but the Thunderbirds had control from the start and beat the Rams in the sixth-place game, 52-34 on March 4.
History was made in grand fashion for the Canyon View Falcons as Brady Lowry – son of head coach Dallas Lowry – became the first wrestler to win a 3A state championship for the school. Lowry, a sophomore, won all four of his matches by pin, the last coming against Pine View’s Ben Worlton at the 2 minute, 42 second mark. It was his only match that went beyond the first two-minute round.
Parowan just missed having a second state champion in this decade when Reagan Hunt lost to Panguitch’s Kellen Mooney in the 1A 170-pound final.
The Canyon View Falcons survived the ups and downs and won another Region 12 title by beating Juab at home May 5. Although they won the right to host another first-round playoff pod, CV was crushed on its field 18-0 by Snow Canyon.
Things looked even worse in the second game May 13 as the Falcons trailed Grantsville 7-2 after three innings. Somehow, they would storm back and win 9-8 with a run in the bottom of the seventh.
CV would sweep its two consolation games May 18 with wins over Bear River and Ridgeline, but they ran into the Warriors again the next day and were eliminated in a 13-6 loss.
The Cedar Lady Reds ran roughshod over the competition, finishing with a 10-0 record and the Region 9 title. They won eight games early via the run rule, including a 10-0 road shutout at Desert Hills on May 5 that clinched the title.
After beating Carbon at home in the opening round of the 3A playoffs, the Lady Reds fell 9-1 to Tooele in its opening winner’s bracket game at Spanish Fork. They would stay alive with a win over Canyon View later in the day, but Juab would eliminate Cedar by wiping out an early 2-0 deficit and posting an 11-5 victory.
Cedar had no seniors on the roster and returns everybody for 2018.
The Falcons, under new head coach Tony Krepps, finished third in Region 12. They lost to Desert Hills in the opening-round pod at Grantsville, then stayed alive with a win over Juan Diego.
For the second year in a row, the Canyon View boys team swept to a Region 12 title and advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 13-game winning streak. For the second year in a row, the Logan Grizzlies eliminated CV in the quarterfinals, this time with a 2-0 shutout.
Cedar reached the playoffs as a No. 4 seed from Region 9 for the second year in a row. The Redmen couldn’t hold a one-goal lead in the closing minutes as Ridgeline rallied for a 3-2 opening-round victory.
Track and Field, etc.
The Cedar girls were dethroned by the Desert Hills Thunder at the 3A state meet May 20, but still finished second overall with 130 points. Webster pulled off the distance double, winning the 1,600- (5:06.12) and 3,200-meter (10:52.57) titles.
Kaysie Klemic was the other individual champion for the Lady Reds, winning the 800 meters in 2:17.74. Webster finished fourth in the race, three seconds off the pace.
Cedar’s girls 4×400 relay team of Brinley Hess, Kaylee Brunson, Lexi Bird and Halsey Curry repeated as 3A state champion and won its third straight event, running the distance in 3:59.79.
On the boys’ side, the Redmen were fifth overall at the 3A championship. Dylan Clements was the lone event winner, finishing first in the long jump with a leap of 22 feet, 6 ½ inches.
Canyon View’s boys 4×400 relay team of Abe Huxford, Mitchell Wright, Britt Dunnell and Seth Dabb won the 3A title with a run of 3:23.45
Parowan proved itself to be a mirror image of Cedar at the state track meet with the girls finishing second to Panguitch in the 1A meet, and the boys coming in fifth.
And one final note to wrap up the year: Canyon View’s Keslee Sherman was the lone qualifier for the girls 3A state tournament in Orem and she finished seventh overall with rounds of 82 and 79 at Sleepy Ridge Golf Course. Her Stableford total was 155 points.
Follow Tom Zulewski on Twitter @TommyZee81 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.