It became awfully apparent early that Desert Hills had a little more offensive flexibility than its crosstown rival.
The Thunder used a healthy balance of running and passing to their advantage, racking up 420 yards of total offense (196 passing, 224 rushing) as part of a 28-7 victory over Pine View on Friday at Thunder Stadium.
“We have the athletes and we play as a team,” Desert Hills coach Carl Franke said. “We wore them down with the passing game a little bit, and ran them out of the gym so to speak.
“When they’re believing in what they’re doing, they do amazing things.”
The win improves Desert Hills to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in Region 9 play. The Panthers dropped to 2-3 and 0-2 in region play.
Quarterback Ty Rutledge, once again, was a complete package. He went 9-for-18 passing for 196 yards with two touchdowns. He also beat the Panthers with his legs, rushing for 156 yards on 16 carries, including an 80-yard scamper to cap his 352-yard day.
“I’ve been saying it all year, and nobody believes me when I’m saying it, ‘Ty Rutlege is the best athlete in Region 9,’” Franke said. “He could be one of the best athletes in the state. Nobody believes me until they see him play.”
Rutledge, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Friday, admitted he couldn’t sleep the night before, adding that the game against Pine View always brings out the best in his team.
“We match up OK with them. They’re bigger than us, but we use our speed to the best of our abilities,” Rutledge said. “The win feels great.”
While Rutledge’s numbers are impressive on paper, it was two big plays that contributed to his big night.
In the second quarter, Rutledge found Brad Wulfenstein (three catches, 100 yards) for a 77-yard touchdown, which was his second passing touchdown of the night.
Then with the Thunder firmly in control late in the fourth with a 21-7 lead, Rutledge ran to the left side of the field, got a great block from Keenan Wittwer, setting him free for an 80-yard score.
“That last run was all on the line, and Keenan Wittwer made two huge blocks to spring me free,” Rutledge said. “It was fun.”
Pine View’s workhorse back Prentiss Miller played the role again against the Thunder. He carried the ball 29 times for 142 yards with a touchdown. But outside of his 46-yard scoring scamper, Miller had to work for all of his yardage against a stout effort from the Desert Hills
“We had to shut him down,” Rutledge said of Miller. “We focused on our keys. We were told to stop by our d-coordinator, and that’s what we did.”