3AA semifinals • Thunder hold Dixie to 175 yards.
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You can't see thunder.
Pictures of it often are mistaken for lightning. Thunder is a sound, a reverberation of power exploding from the sky and pounding on the Earth.
But Thunder was exactly what the Desert Hills defense brought to Rice-Eccles Stadium for the Class 3AA semifinals Friday.
Led by Lausi'i Sewell, Gabriel Sewell, Jacob Wagner and Sil Bundy, Desert Hills established its presence in its 21-14 victory over Dixie with hard hitting and consistent pressure on the quarterback.
In a game determined by the defenses, Gabriel Sewell said solid tackling and playing with authority would advance Desert Hills to the state championship.
"We needed to eliminate mistakes," Gabriel Sewell said. "Coach told us that we needed a perfect game to win it all. We brought our hardest hits and trusted each other to make the tackles."
Anchoring the Thunder's line was Lausi'i Sewell. The 6-foot, 295-pound lineman forced Dixie to double team as he charged through the line. He finished with six tackles.
"I focus on the defensive line in the trenches," he said. "If I take out a lineman to make the gap, I know they'll make the tackle behind me."
Bundy thought Lausi'i Sewell's efforts on the line not only established the run defense but defined the leadership on the field.
"He's a brick wall, nobody can move him," Bundy said. "He keeps up the pressure on the quarterback and gets it done for us."
The Thunder sacked Dixie six times for a combined loss of 42 yards. With Dixie scrounging up a total of 175 yards on offense, Wagner said that the defense did the dirty work needed to break up plays.
"Everybody came up and made plays," Wagner said. "We're all about physicality and wearing down the other team."
Bundy is confident that the Thunder can carry the momentum to the 3AA title game against Pine View.
"We have swagger and we knew that we could beat their offense," Bundy said. "We have great athletes on defense, and any given player can make the stop."