Jacob Ford had 24 carries for 80 yards and three touchdowns Friday, and Chaparral’s football team scored 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to knock off host Virgin Valley 34-16 in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.
“The boys this year, they had confidence in themselves,” Chaparral coach Paul Nihipali said. “They played a hard four quarters. Sometimes, we got rattled a little bit. Missed some assignments. A play here, a play there made a lot of difference.”
The Cowboys (6-5) will play at Spring Creek (10-0) in a state semifinal at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12.
Chaparral is making its second straight appearance in the state semifinals. Before last season, the Cowboys hadn’t advanced to that point since 1990.
Chaparral needed a late rally to get its return trip on Friday.
Trailing 16-14 in the fourth quarter, quarterback Santiago Vialpando ran a speed-option play with running back Tyray Collins, who entered with just 12 carries for 11 yards on the season. The result, though, delivered the perfect momentum swing for Chaparral.
Collins took a pitch and ran 60 yards for the touchdown to give the Cowboys a lead they would not surrender.
“Once Tyray broke out into the open, the confidence came back,” Nihipali said. “The boys, they’ve been there before. They stepped up to play.”
Collins finished with four carries for 70 yards. Kentrell Petite had five catches for 83 yards, and Devin Gaddy added three catches for 71 yards for the Cowboys, who avenged a 13-7 loss at Virgin Valley on Oct. 14
Jayden Perkins led Virgin Valley with 95 yards rushing and 76 yards receiving. The senior scored on a 2-yard rush in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs their first lead at 7-6. Cesar Zarate added a 20-yard field goal in the second quarter, then returned an interception 40 yards for a score in the third quarter to push Virgin Valley’s lead to 16-7.
Hogan Fowles completed 11 of 20 passes for 180 yards and rushed for 39 yards for the Bulldogs (9-2).