By Andy Thompson, ESPN 977

Defense Wins Championships...unless the other team plays even better defense

Crimson Cliffs played awesome defense.

They held star Desert Hills running back Tyden Morris to 2.8 yards per carry (per Digital Scout).

They held Noah Fuailetolo to 102 passing yards.

If you do that, you expect to win.

But amazingly Desert Hills' defense was even better.

The Thunder defensive line, lead by Keala Loo, Tasi Sauta, and Ocean Taufa gave Steele Barben no breathing room in the pocket. Barben had to make most of his first half throws fading away from contact. Barben rarely had a clear working space which resulted in him throwing three interceptions. The Thunder also did a great job keeping Barben from making plays with his feet.

Desert Hill's star safety, Lincoln Holmes, made two crucial interceptions. The first was a 50/50 ball at the goal line that he out-jumped everybody for. The second was a game clinching interception in the second half that he ran back deep into Crimson territory.

We've Seen the Future

Cyrus Polu, how do you do?

Polu had another amazing game for the Thunder. He was the clear MVP of their semi-final win against Ridgeline, but he made the play of the game in the state championship too. Crimson had scored a touchdown to make it a 16-6 game at the beginning of the fourth when they kicked off to Polu who made them pay with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Polu is the Swiss Army Knife of region 10. Big hitter, pass coverage, catches passes, runs the ball, kick returner, punter. That's actually more than a Swiss Army Knife.

Congratulations to Desert Hills on bringing the State Championship trophy back to southern Utah and to Crimson Cliffs on an amazing season. Can't wait for next year!

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