SUU Football Making The Most of Road-Heavy Schedule

SUU Football played their final home game of the 2011 season Saturday, grabbing a big victory to leave a good taste in the mouths of Cedar City supporters. 

in a season with a schedule full of road games, the Thunderbirds only had four games set for the Eccles Coliseum field. This meant only four opportunities for SUU to show their home crowd just what this team is made of. Home games are important for any team, in any sport. The home field advantage provides the team with a feeling of comfort and a feeling of confidence. 

SUU did a good job making the most of their home field opportunities this season, winning three of their four home games. Their only loss came to North Dakota State University, in a game in which both teams were ranked. The Thunderbirds fell to the Bison 26-20. 

Saturday the Thunderbirds had a chance to get that bitter loss out of the heads of their fans when they welcomed in UC Davis to the Eccles Coliseum. And with a 34-3 victory, SUU did just that.

Coach Ed Lamb knows the importance of winning at home, and particularly winning your last home game. 

“A win in the final home game of the year is really important for the program for three reasons,” said Lamb. “First, the seniors leave the stadium with a positive feeling about SUU football- it’s important that they are motivated to return as supportive, alumni-fans.  Second, the fans in the stadium will be more likely to return to games next season because cheering on a winning effort is so much more fun than being brought down by a loss.  Third, our returning players will continue to take pride in the winning attitude we’ve established at home over the years.”

In a season that has managed to be successful and disappointing at the same time, Lamb is looking forward to each game, one game at a time.

“Our goal each week now is 1-0,” said Lamb. “We are going to pour 100 percent of our efforts into preparing for Northern Iowa. Not looking forward to Northern Arizona, or back to UC Davis.”

SUU pulled out a huge victory earlier this season against NCAA Division 1 opponent UNLV 41-16. But after winning the Great West Conference only a season ago, the Thunderbirds 1-3 conference record is a bit disappointing.

“We have a strong conference. Many people assume that we are moving “up” to the Big Sky. The Great West Conference has a winning record vs. Big Sky opponents this season,” said Lamb. 

SUU is moving from the Great West Conference to the Big Sky Conference next season. 

Despite their 1-3 conference record, SUU actually has a winning record overall of 5-4. One player’s effort and determination has really stuck out to Coach Lamb. Junior defensive tackle Cody Larsen has impressed many this season. 

“He [Larsen] is the best DT I’ve ever coached, and that includes two NFL guys,” said Lamb. “His dedication to the game is unique.”

SUU Football will take the remainder of the season one game at a time. They travel to Iowa next weekend to face Northern Iowa University. 

As for the home crowd, four games wasn’t enough to satisfy the fans. 

“I was a little disappointed about it,” said Brooke Terrones, an SUU senior. “Football is one of the main things I look forward to about the fall season. I love attending the games and supporting the team. It felt like the season was cut short.”

Fans are certainly left wanting more SUU Football, but after Saturday’s big win at least they will be satisfied until next season. 


The Good and The Bad: The Playoffs-Round 1

With the regular season in the rear-view mirror, Region 9’s four remaining teams adjusted their focus to Region 10. 

Region 9 won the overall battle with Region 10 in the first round of the state playoffs, taking 3 of the 4 games. Let’s start this week’s article with The Bad. 


Dixie Flyers vs. Juan Diego Soaring Eagles

Juan Diego 41 – Dixie 0

The Bad: Let’s face it, the Flyers drew the short straw. They were forced to take on the second best team in Utah’s 3A ranks, behind only the Hurricane Tigers. The Juan Diego Soaring Eagles are like the Hurricane Tigers of the north. They dominated Region 10, and have done so for as long as any of the players on their roster have been dawning the uniform. It was an unfortunate circumstance that the Dixie Flyers were forced to take on Juan Diego so early in the post season. 

The game started out slowly. It was scoreless for both sides heading into the second period of play. The Soaring Eagles opened it up in the second period, putting 14 points on the board, and really sealed the victory in the third when they added 21 points. The Juan Diego defense really shut down Blake Barney, Justin Cummings, and the rest of the Dixie offense. The Soaring Eagles forced quarterback Blake Barney into three interceptions, and held the normally high-flying Flyer offense scoreless. 

Dixie had a very impressive season. finishing with a 7-3 record overall, the Flyers don’t have many things to hang their heads over. Sure, the name of this article is The Good and The Bad, and this section happens to be The Bad portion of that article. But the only bad thing about it was that Dixie didn’t win. They put together a great season, and the best part for the Flyers and their fans is how young this team is. They will retain a big core of their team, including junior quarterback Blake Barney, who put together one of the most impressive season in the quarterback spot statewide.

Congratulations to the Flyers on a great season.

Now let’s talk about The Good.

Hurricane Tigers vs. Wasatch Wasps

Hurricane 42 – Wasatch 7

The Good: The Tigers pounced on Wasatch, and they pounced quickly. Hurricane put up 21 points in the first quarter, and that alone was more than enough. Holding the Wasps scoreless for the first 45 minutes of the game, the Tiger defense shut down any hope for the Wasatch Wasps. Hurricane had four sacks, and six tackles for a loss.

The Hurricane offense dominated again. They racked up 431 yards of total offense, and 291 of those yards were on the ground. Every touchdown the Tigers scored was big. The had one touchdown on a 9-yard play, but every other score came on big plays, including Taylor Parker connecting on two touchdown passes over 40 yards, and a couple of big runs from Joseph Takau and Weston Yardly. 

Hurricane looked as dominant against Wasatch as they have the rest of the season. The Tigers will now welcome Grantsville High to Tiger Stadium. The Cowboys are 7-4 on the season. They lost their first 3 games, but have gone 7-1 since then. The beat North Sanpete 16-7 in their first round matchup. The Tigers shouldn’t have a problem continuing their dominant ways this week.


Hurricane vs Grantsville

Friday night at 7:00 at Hurricane High School

Cedar Redmen vs. Judge Memorial Bulldogs

Cedar 45 – Judge Memorial 21

The Good: Ok, I’m just going to get this out of the way right now. My prediction for this game was a complete 180 from the actual outcome. Despite Cedar’s recent success, I didn’t see them getting the victory against Judge Memorial on the road. But they certainly proved me wrong. 

Cedar jumped out early against the Bulldogs, and held on to their lead. They were up 28-7 at the half, and added 17 more in the third period. Cedar has completely flipped the script on their season. After a terrible start, they’re one of the hottest teams in 3A. 

This week the Redmen will head to Delta to take on the Rabbits. Delta has been one of the best teams in 3A this season. They’re 10-1 so far this year, and after shutting out Ogden last week 43-0, they’re on a 10-game winning streak. 

Cedar at Delta

Friday night at 7:00 at Delta High School

Desert Hills Thunder vs. Park City Miners 

Desert Hills 34 – Park City 14

The Good: The Thunder struck early Friday night. Desert Hills jumped out to a 14 point lead over Park City in the first quarter. But that lead didn’t last too long. The Miners fought back in the second quarter and went into halftime down 17-14. Desert Hills stopped all hopes of a Park City comeback. The Thunder shut out the Miners in the second half.

On paper, this game was closer than the scoreboard makes it out to be. Both teams had around 300 yards of total offense. The difference was Desert Hills’ ability to score. Quarterback Porter Harris was able to connect for three touchdown passes, two of which were to Ty Rutledge. Desert Hills’ impressive run defense continued its dominance, only giving up 100 yards to the Miners on the ground. 

This was a big win for the Thunder who faltered towards the end of the season. This week they will head north to take on the Region 11 champion Stansbury. The Stallions are 9-1 on the season and beat Juab 48-21 last week.


Desert Hills at Stansbury

Friday night at 7:00 at Stansbury High School

National Parks Waive Fees for Veteran’s Day

All national parks, monuments, recreation areas, and historic sites will be celebrating Veteran’s Day by offering fee- free entry. Local national park units include Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Pipe Spring, Glen Canyon, Lake Mead, and Capitol Reef.

This year, the fee free designation will apply to the entire Veteran’s Day weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 11 – 13.  Visitors who arrive on November 11, 12, or 13 will be allowed to enter the parks free of charge. Those who plan to spend time in the parks beyond November 13 will need to pay the regular entrance fee for the remainder of their stay.

Park visitors are reminded that the fee-free designation applies to entrance fees only and does not affect fees for camping, reservations, tours, or use of concessions. Park entrance stations will have Interagency Senior and Annual Passes available for those who wish to purchase them.

Although these will be the final fee free days for 2011, fee free days for 2012 have already been announced and include:  January 14 – 16 (Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend), April 21 – 29 (National Parks Week), June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), September 29 (National Public Lands Day) and November 10 – 12 (Veterans Day weekend.)

For more on what there is to see and do in your national parks, please visit the National Park Service web site at www.nps.gov.  For more on national park fee free days, click here

Students at SUU’s Juniper Hall Told to Move

Resident students of Southern Utah University’s Juniper Hall were asked to relocate last night, in response to the building’s failed closed-heating system. The students were given a November 6 deadline, and while this could possibly constitute short notice, the cloud is not without its silver lining. 

Though student reactions are understandably varied, multiple solutions have been offered to appease the situation. Many will choose to live as temporary roommates with friends in other halls on campus, but other options include formally moving into a different hall, off-campus housing, or even canceling their housing contracts.

According to a press release, SUU will also offer $300 scholarships to those affected by the sudden move. 

SUU’s Juniper building is nearly 50 years old, and was designed with a closed heating system. 

NBA Lockout Leaving Basketball Fans Feeling Restless

A month of the NBA season has now officially been lost to the lockout after Commissioner David Stern canceled all games that were set to be played in November. 

With October winding down, basketball fans are starting to itch for what would be the start of the 82 game campaign. With both BYU and University of Utah football teams having mediocre seasons, and knowing that Jimmer Fredette has moved on from the BYU sidelines, sports fans in Utah are probably particularly anxious for Jazz basketball season. 

Last season was a rough one for the Jazz and their fans. The team finished the season 39-43 overall, which was good, or bad enough, for the eleventh spot in the Western Conference. It was also the first season that Utah missed the playoffs since 2005-06 when the Deron Williams-Carlos Boozer tandem was first developing. The real turbulence was when they lost long time head coach Jerry Sloan to a sudden resignation, and saw their superstar Deron Williams get traded to the New Jersey Nets all within a two-week span midseason. Fans are surely eager to catch a glimpse of the new Jazz roster as the rebuilding process continues in Utah.

It takes some franchises several years to rebuild, but the Jazz got a jumpstart on that rebuilding process this offseason. As the owners of two of the league’s 14 lottery picks in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Jazz were able to get two young, promising players in Enes Kanter and Alec Burks.

With over 120 days down, and more yet to come of the current NBA lockout, the players and owners are still struggling to get a new deal made. With millions of dollars already lost, the sense of urgency that is building in both parties must be growing. 

“We’re going to have to recalculate how bad the damage is,” Stern said. “The next offer will reflect the extraordinary losses that are piling up now.”

The owners are eyeballing a 50-50 revenue share, while the players have proposed 52.5 percent. The difference between the two is about $100 million dollars annually. When the previous collective bargaining agreement was set up, the players were guaranteed 57 percent of the revenue share.

But beyond the dollar signs, what does this lockout mean to the Jazz, and their fans? 

As fans we all want to see the court of Energy Solutions Arena once again being populated by the NBA’s top players. But if we want to look at the lockout optimistically, there are three positives we can take away from it.

1.) The lockout is providing the young Jazz roster with extra time to grow. Sure, game-experience is a very important part to growing both mentally and physically when it comes to any sport. However for a team of such young talent, extra time off the court, working on the fundamentals of the game at the NBA level isn’t a terrible thing. 

For players like Gordon Hayward, Jeremy Evans, and Derrick Favors, an extra month (at least) of time to build muscle before the rigorous NBA schedule kicks in would not be a bad thing. The extra time also gives veterans like Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko, who’ve faced nagging injuries over the past few seasons, a chance to completely recuperate. 

2.) The Jazz have five players on their roster that have 1 year or less of NBA experience and only three players with 10 or more years. Time is on Utah’s side.

Teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers have got to be feeling a little more restless about the unsettled lockout dispute. These teams are seeing their core of players that have led them to so much success over the past decade aging. Father time is catching up to players like Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, who have been dominating the west and pestering the Jazz for the past decade. The sun may finally be setting on some of the west’s elite players and elite teams.

3.) The lockout will provide Head Coach Tyrone Corbin an opportunity to develop his own system after taking the reigns over halfway through the 2010-2011 season. The Jazz were led by the same Jerry Sloan coaching tactics for over 21 seasons, having a new coach suddenly at the helm was a difficult transition. Last season Corbin had to deal with the debate of either continuing with a similar Jerry Sloan system, or developing his own identity as a head coach. 

The Jazz struggled the remainder of the season under Coach Corbin, winning only 8 games, while losing 20. The extra long off season is only giving Corbin and his coaching staff an opportunity to develop their own identity, and their own coaching system. 

The lockout is something that no sports fan wants to see. The NFL also experienced a lockout this year, but they were able to resolve their differences before any games were lost. The Jazz, their players, and their fans are surely anxious to get the season underway. If the players and the owners are able to work out a deal without losing anymore games this season, the Jazz will open the year at home against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 2.



Thunder Strike Against Miners to Advance to Second Round

The Desert Hills Thunder took on the Miners of Park City in a 3A state playoff matchup Friday, and Desert Hills came out strongly, with Bud Pope returning a 54-yard punt to put the first points on the board. Park City’s Hunter Butler scored the two touchdowns for Park City in the first half. Park City trailed at the half 17-14.

After the break, Desert Hills shut the Miners down and kept them scoreless the rest of the game. The Thunder was anything but scoreless with Porter Harris connecting with Josh Anderson for an 18-yard touchdown pass. In the fourth quarter, Tavo Alegria nailed a second 20 plus yard field goal of the game. Ty Rutledge and Porter Harris finished the game up with two touchdown connections, one for 30 yards. The Thunder sent the Miners back to the hills winning 34-14.

The Thunder now prepare to take on Stansbury in the second round of the playoffs. 


Flyers Fall To Soaring Eagles of Juan Diego

The Dixie Flyers traveled to Juan Diego Catholic High School to take on the Soaring Eagles in the first round of the 3A state playoffs. Both teams remained scoreless until Juan Diego awoke in the second half with a 33-yard pass from Brock Garn to Daniel Milovich, followed by Brock Garn catching one of his own from Nick Markosian. Dixie remained scoreless during the second to leave the first half down 14. 

While the Flyers remained grounded during the third, Juan Diego put 21 unanswered points on the board. Cayden Sanchez added two of those including a 51-yard run into the endzone. The fourth quarter didn’t look up for Dixie as they were unable to keep Adam Colosimo out of the endzone for six more points. Juan Diego finishes the game with a win 41-0 and will advance in the playoffs.


The current state champions will take on the Mighty Dons of Spanish Fork next week for the second round. 

Tigers Overtake Wasps To Advance in Playoffs

The Hurricane Tigers welcomed the Wasatch Wasps tonight for the first round of the 3A state playoffs. Hurricane came out strong in front of the home crowd and wasted no time putting the first points on the board with Weston Yardley on a 33 yard run. Hurricane blew the Wasps away at that point, scoring 28 points in the first quarter. Two passes over 40 yards and short 22 yard run left the score 28-0 as the quarter ended. Wasatch held Hurricane to only seven in the second quarter. The Tiger defense was able to keep the Wasps away from the honey pot for the entire first half, ending the half up 35-0.


The second half started with a 40 yard run from Joseph Takau to give the Tigers a 40-0 lead going into the fourth. As almost all hope was lost for Wasatch, Parker Bamgartner connected on a 14-yard pass to give the Wasps the only score of the night. Hurricane won, 42-7.

Hurricane advances and will play the winner of the Grantsville-North Sanpete matchup which began at 7:00 p.m. Friday. Follow Southern Utah Now on Twitter and Facebook for an update on who the Tigers will face in the second round.

91-year-old Huntsman Senior Games Participant Inspires Games Players And Attendees

Many people give up the hopes of playing their favorite sport when they hit their late years, but this Huntsman Senior Games participant is the exception.

At 91, Mickey Pitti keeps impressing and inspiring participants and audience members during this year’s Huntsman World Senior Games. Pitti started playing volleyball in her fifties, and hasn’t stopped ever since. She was awarded the gold medal for the oldest volleyball participant at the Senior Games last year and maintains the title. With her team, the Hemet Hot Flashes, she plays in more than a handful of volleyball competitions regularly around the nation.

SUN News reporter Stephanie Moreno brings us the story of this inspirational role model.

Arizona Lawmakers Propose Toll on Arizona Gorge, Citizens Distressed

A battle is taking place right in our own backyard, and from the reactions of citizens, it could be catastrophic to the southern Utah and Nevada economies.

“It’ll be horrible for the economy of Mesquite. A lot of people who come down here to dine or shop will probably not do that and its really hard in a small town like ours,” Lacy Lee, a Mesquite resident told SUN News, “We are doing what we can to see that it is stopped.”

Arizona lawmakers recently proposed to induce a toll on those who travel through the Virgin River Gorge, separating St. George from Mesquite along I-15. The toll would charge personal cars $1-3 dollars and commercial vehicles $6-10, taking a hit on those who are trying to make it through the west’s lifeline interstate.

Mesquite store supervisors are nervous about the toll, saying the fee would turn away customers who travel there every day to enjoy their food.

“We have people traveling from St. George on a daily basis for our services,” Gladys Soriano, the supervisor of a local restaurant in Mesquite said, “with about 10 to 15 percent of our customers coming from Utah, it would impact us a lot.”

Though a toll won’t be taking affect any time soon, lawmakers plan to vote on it within a few years.