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3AA championship: Desert Hills tops Pine View 28-27 in title game thriller (with video)

Published November 18, 2016 4:00 pm

3AA football • The Thunder rally from 13 down in fourth quarter, win it on PAT with no time left.
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In a moment straight out of a corny sports movie, Desert Hills quarterback Quinn Kiser was forced to improvise twice in the north end zone of Rice-Eccles Stadium as the fourth-quarter clock clicked to zero.

The Thunder needed a score to cap an unlikely comeback in the Class 3AA title game against cross-town rival Pine View.

Kiser came through in a most unorthodox manner to give his team a 28-27 victory.

The play from the 1-yard line called for Kiser to hand the ball off. But he immediately knew that was not going to work as the Panthers blitzed a safety.

So he scrambled right toward the end zone where it still looked as though he would be taken down yards short. That set up improvisation No. 2.

As tacklers closed in on him, Kiser looked up to see Gavin Young standing alone in the end zone and quickly shoveled a wobbly pass toward him, and the catch tied the game.

"You can't even script it right there," said Kiser. "That's just unbelievable. I guess God's on our side today. … I am out of my head. It's like an out-of-body experience. I have dreamed about this since the day I could walk. The dream is coming true my senior year."

Young had lost a second-half fumble on a punt, but wasn't going to drop this one.

Desert Hills still needed the winning kick to break the tie. That was left to sophomore Logan Callister.

"I did what I have done all season," Callister said. "That was to stay focused, don't worry about the crowd, and do what I have been taught."

This was the second time since 2013 that Desert Hills had come back in the fourth quarter to beat hard-luck Pine View on the last play of the game to win a state title.

"I may retire today," said Desert Hills coach Carl Franke. "I don't know if I can handle this any more."

The Thunder became only the second team in Utah football championship history to trail by 13 points after three quarters and manage a title victory.

Pine View had done everything right. The Panthers got a great game and two touchdown runs from Jacob Mpungi, and two touchdown passes from Ryan Javines to Lance Mandrigues to lead 27-14 in the third quarter.

Their great defense forced Franke to go to a wildcat formation that allowed star running back Nephi Sewell to improvise.

Sewell's career appeared to be over when he broke his neck in the first game of the 2015 season. Many doubted he would play again.

Sewell, who finished the game with 243 yards and two touchdowns, had two long fourth-quarter runs that were key to the victory. He played like a man possessed, coming back twice after what looked like game-ending injuries.

Those included a 53-yard run to set up a Kiser touchdown with 10:53 to play.

Sewell sobbed uncontrollably after the game.

"Even though I was hurting, I knew the pain would be worth it in the end," he said. "I never thought I would be back here. … I have so many emotions going through me right now."

Speaking of hurting, Pine View players also sobbed. The school is now 0-6 in state title games. Panthers coach Ray Hosner, who has been part of five of those defeats, preferred to emphasize the positive, just seconds after he congratulated Kiser on his play. He said Pine View had often overachieved.

Franke went out of his way to praise his long-time rival.

"I am a proud coach of southern Utah," said the New York native. "This showed again why southern Utah football is good. I am proud of coach Hosner and his team. It was a good show."


Twitter: @tribtomwharton —

Desert Hills 28, Pine View 27

R Desert Hills quarterback Quinn Kiser's 1-yard desperation shovel pass to Gavin Young as the clock runs out and the subsequent PAT give the Thunder a state 3AA football title.

• Desert Hills' Nephi Sewell comes back from a neck injury last year to rush for 243 yards and two touchdowns as the Thunder erase a 13-point second-half deficit.

• Pine View's Jacob Mpgungi rushes for 114 yards and two TDs.






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