Mortensens lead Moapa Valley past Virgin Valley

All that Moapa Valley running back Conner Mortensen wanted was for his brother, kicker Dylan Mortensen, to have another chance Saturday.

Dylan Mortensen had a potential game-winning 49-yard field goal attempt blocked in the fourth quarter of a Class 3A state quarterfinal against visiting Virgin Valley.

But Conner Mortensen made sure his brother got another shot, scoring on a 5-yard run in overtime. Dylan Mortensen then booted the extra point to cap a dramatic 13-12 victory.

“That was a thriller. It almost gave me a heart attack,” Conner Mortensen said. “Dylan has been working hard, and he deserves it. I’m very proud of him.”

Moapa Valley (9-2) will host Lowry (9-2) in a state semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday with hopes of reaching the 3A state title game for the sixth straight year.

Virgin Valley (5-5) had several chances to seal its first win over its biggest rival since 2007, but lost three fumbles in the final six minutes of regulation.

Holding a 6-0 lead with less than three minutes left, the Bulldogs took over on downs after a Moapa Valley incomplete pass. But Virgin Valley lost a fumble while trying to run out the clock.

On the next play, Moapa Valley’s Dakota Watters threw a 38-yard TD pass to Brandon Johnson down the right sideline with 2:15 to play.

Virgin Valley had another shot to win when Wyett Williams returned the block of Dylan Mortensen’s field goal attempt to Moapa Valley’s 4-yard line. But the Bulldogs were flagged for a delay of game on second-and-goal from the 1.

Virgin Valley eventually lined up for a 26-yard field goal, which was blocked with 2.8 seconds left in regulation.

Bulldogs coach Kirk Hafen said the delay of game penalty was a bitter pill to swallow.

“The play was in, and I thought everything was good,” Hafen said. “When we were down on the goal line, to see the officials throw a flag, that just ate at me.”

Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said: “I haven’t seen three minutes of football like that. Take your hat off to Virgin Valley. I felt like we were outcoached and outplayed. I feel bad for (Hafen) because he’s such a good guy.”

Bulldogs quarterback Humberto Urias scored on a 4-yard run in overtime, but his pass attempt on the conversion fell incomplete, setting the stage for the Mortensen brothers.

"I’ve been telling Dylan all year, we’d been hit and miss on our extra points," Lewis said. "I told him, ‘The game is going to come down to an extra point,’ and sure enough, it did."

Virgin Valley struck first when Urias scored on a 13-yard run to cap an 11-play, 85-yard drive to start the game.

The Bulldogs dominated time of possession, running 53 times for 203 yards. Dee Bowler rushed for 86 yards on 14 attempts, Trevor Thompson for 72 on 19 carries and Urias for 44 on 19 rushes.

"We knew we couldn’t just match up with them in a power-I or anything," Hafen said. "I thought our kids played as hard as they could. I’m as proud of them as I can be. We’ll be rooting for (Moapa Valley)."

Watters passed for 81 yards, hooking up with Johnson three times for 76 yards.

"Johnson had a great game. He was a playmaker today," Conner Mortensen said. "He did his job perfectly, and Dakota connected with him. Brandon was on fire."

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