Cheyenne faced a third-and-eight from the Centennial 41-yard line, in desperate need of a big play to maintain its one-point lead in the fourth quarter Friday.
And then Jordan Butler came up with one of the biggest catches of the season.
Fighting off three defenders, Butler made a catch for 36 yards and set up the Desert Shields’ final score in a 13-6 victory at Centennial.
“I knew I had to make a play,” said Butler, who also hauled in a 33-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. “When the ball was tipped, I just concentrated on finding the ball. I’ve never made a catch like that, and it was big.”
Butler’s catch set up Chris Spencer’s 6-yard pass to Marquise Hall on fourth-and-goal, giving Cheyenne the seven-point lead.
Centennial (3-4, 3-3 Northwest) had a pair of possessions down the stretch, but the Cheyenne defense rose to the occasion.
“Our defense was tremendous,” said Desert Shields’ coach Perryn Hale, whose unit held Centennial to 113 total yards. “We put the defense in tight spots a couple of times and they just played hard-nosed football tonight. This is a tough league to play in — some could call it the SEC of Las Vegas football — so for our defense to play this well is a big accomplishment.”
The Desert Shields (4-3, 4-2 Northwest) intercepted Centennial quarterback Christopher Henderson twice, capitalizing on both plays.
“We knew it was going to be a hard-hitting contest,” Hale said. “Centennial always plays us tough and we knew we were going to be in a battle. It doesn’t get any easier next week; it seems that every game could be a playoff tuneup.”
Centennial’s lone score came from Javanh Sanders on a 2-yard run.
Cheyenne dominated the first half, getting inside the Centennial red zone six times but coming away with just the one score. The Desert Shields missed three field goals in the opening half despite holding the Bulldogs to a mere 35 yards.
Butler led the Desert Shields with 41 yards on 16 carries while Kody Stahl completed 10-of-15 passes for 87 yards. Sanders had 64 yards for Centennial, which ran only 19 plays in the first half.