Pahrump Valley hadn’t won a football game for what seemed like so long, students on campus had begun to forget the program even existed.
That program got a shot in the arm Saturday by winning its first game since 2006.
Ande Floyd ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally the Trojans to a dramatic 23-18 road win over Mountain View in the season opener for both teams.
“Everyone in our school has kind of just forgotten about us, so it’s good to be able to bring them a win,” Floyd said.
Floyd carried 17 times for 144 yards and three touchdowns. The senior scored on runs of 1, 3 and 5 yards — the clincher coming with 1:09 remaining.
The Trojans spoiled the 11-man debut for the Saints, who moved from 1A to 2A for this season.
Pahrump Valley piled up 211 yards on the ground.
“We know we can run the ball and drive on people, and the conditioning program we put our kids through came to fruition tonight,” Pahrump Valley coach Leo Verzilli said. “We owned the last four or five minutes of the game. Truly, conditioning won this football game.”
The Trojans overcame the loss of starting quarterback Nick Murphy to a right knee injury while the junior was playing defense late in the second quarter.
“We kept (the ball) on the ground a lot more because of that,” Verzilli said.
Mountain View jumped to a 12-2 lead with second-quarter touchdown runs of 11 and 29 yards by Mark Allen and Alex Watson, respectively.
But the defense faltered for the Saints after they entered the fourth quarter with an 18-9 lead, allowing a key 58-yard run by Floyd on the clinching drive.
Senior quarterback Raymond Velarde completed 10 of 16 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown to lead Mountain View.
Mountain View coach Ray LeBoeuf took personal responsibility for the loss, saying switching to a 3-4 defensive front on Pahrump Valley’s final drive was a mistake.
“For the most part, I’m trying to play the clock at the end,” LeBoeuf said. “We went to a 3-4 (because) they hadn’t broken a long run the whole game. I made the call to switch to a 3-4, (Floyd) broke the long run. That’s on me. I let my kids down. That’s disappointing.”
LeBoeuf was encouraged by the Saints’ competitiveness against a 4A school despite having only 14 players on their active roster.
“You’ve got to understand how to play tired,” he said.
Tanner Peterson caught four passes for 97 yards, and Cortland LeBoeuf carried four times for 48 yards for the Saints.
After an 0-8-1 campaign last season, the Trojans were desperate for a win.
Pahrump Valley has an uphill battle ahead as one of the smallest 4A schools, including a game at defending 4A state champion Bishop Gorman on Oct. 24.
“Getting these kids off to a start like this is monumental for our program,” Verzilli said.