As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Dixie quarterback Blake Barney jumped on the back of offensive lineman David Teaupa, who scampered a few yards in celebration.
There was more than a touch of irony in the scene because it was Barney who carried the Flyers to the Class 3A title in a 49-21 win over Spanish Fork on Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
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Barney, who dazzled with his arm and his legs, proved to be too much for the Spanish Fork defense to handle. The senior quarterback passed for 299 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 173 yards and three more scores.
"We couldn’t ask for anything else," Dixie receiver Drew Batchelor said. "Blake is such an athlete. He can run, he can throw, he can break tackles. ... If you can get out of the pocket, it creates havoc."
The game was tight late in the third quarter when Spanish Fork closed to within 28-21, but Barney responded by almost single-handedly pushing the game out of reach. He broke off a 63-yard touchdown run to put the Flyers back up by two scores, followed by a 36-yard touchdown scamper on the following drive.
"This has been my dream since I was 2 years old," said Barney, who bounced back from a third-quarter interception to finish off his masterful performance. "It’s the greatest feeling ever."
Barney’s big plays were not limited to what he did with his feet. He found three different receivers for touchdown strikes, including a 78-yarder to Lukas Hildebrandt that reignited a Dixie offense that had been stagnant for several drives. Hildebrandt finished with seven catches for 203 yards — a state championship game record.
The win put the capstone on the Flyers’ improbable playoff run. In consecutive weeks, the Flyers knocked off unbeatens Stansbury and Juan Diego to reach the title game.
"If you look from week to week, we’ve always been on the downside," Batchelor said. "Teams said, ‘Dixie can’t do this, Dixie can’t stop the run, Dixie can’t hang with Stansbury, Juan Diego will crush Dixie.’ "
Following the game, Barney fielded questions from the media before joining his teammates huddled near the Dixie sideline. But his teammates, hoisting the trophy, worked their way through the crowd to find their leader. As Barney reached out and touched the trophy for the first time, he put into perspective the Flyers’ first title since 1998.
"Everyone was doubting us," Barney said. "We had to go through all those tough wins. You have to beat the best to be the best, so that’s what it is."
Quarterback Jason Money threw for 364 yards and a touchdown to lead the Dons, but threw two costly interceptions.
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