Lewis, Desert Shields run past Bulldogs in I-A Southern Region quarterfinal

Cheyenne didn’t waste any time making a statement in Thursday night’s Division I-A Southern Region home playoff opener.

The Desert Shields dominated Virgin Valley 44-14 to advance to the semifinals. They will face Boulder City at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 at home.

After closing out the regular season with six touchdowns against Clark, Cheyenne’s Myloe Lewis finished with 272 yards and three touchdowns against the Bulldogs.

“He’s the cog that helps this team go,” said Desert Shields coach David Cochran. “He’s the guy that’s going to lead us to success down the road, but it’s a total team effort.”

Lewis scored on the game’s first play from scrimmage on a 55-yard run to give Cheyenne the early momentum. The Bulldogs took the lead on the first play of the second quarter when quarterback Garrett Leavitt ran in for a 1-yard touchdown.

Cheyenne answered back with three consecutive touchdowns to head into halftime with a 28-7 lead.

Despite running eight more plays than the Desert Shields, Virgin Valley was unable to stop Lewis and the rest of the Desert Shields’ offense.

“All year I’ve been saying the strength of our team is our offense,” Cochran said. “We try to take the ball every time and just give it to him (Lewis) to help us get that momentum.”

Cheyenne’s Darrion Hammond hit Devin Tatum for a 27-yard touchdown toss to close out the first half. Hammond was 5 of 6 for 78 yards with a pair of touchdowns.

The Desert Shields did not attempt a single pass in their previous game, and Hammond took advantage of his opportunity against Virgin Valley.

“It definitely boosted my confidence,” he said. “I’m probably never going to get another game like this, so I’ve got to take the opportunity and excel in it.”

The Bulldogs caught a break in the third quarter when Cheyenne fumbled at the Virgin Valey 1-yard line. Leavitt found Dee Bowler in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown pass to cap off a 99-yard drive and cut Cheyenne’s lead in half with 2:55 left in the quarter.

The Desert Shields put the game out of reach with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter when Hammond connected with Tatum for a second time to put Cheyenne up 36-14. Lewis tacked on a 29-yard touchdown with 3:46 remaining to close the door on the Bulldogs.

“This wasn’t an easy win at first,” Lewis said. “We had to fight a little bit, but that’s football.”

Cheyenne outgained Virgin Valley 521-283 in total offense and never looked back after the 11:54 mark in the second quarter.

“We made a lot of mistakes early which helped keep them around,” Cochan said. “Once we settled down we did what we had to do to get the job done.”

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