Agassi Prep added one more first in its “season full of firsts” Saturday.
The Stars were trying to avoid this first, however — the school’s first-ever playoff loss.
After making the playoffs for the first time in the school’s three-year history and posting the school’s first playoff win, Pershing County dominated Agassi Prep in a 34-16 win in a Class 2A state semifinal at Rancho.
Pershing County (7-4) will face Mountain View in the 2A state championship game Saturday at 3 p.m. at Arbor View.
The Mustangs rushed for 356 yards on their way to stopping the Stars, who amassed 162 yards on the ground.
Agassi Prep (7-3), which won its first playoff game last week against The Meadows, was overwhelmed by Pershing County running backs Marcus Tippens and Jared Jensen. Tippens had 12 carries for 170 yards and two touchdowns, and Jensen ran for 124 yards and two scores on 20 touches.
“They were tough up front. They were big, they were physical, and a well coached football team,” Agassi Prep coach Colt Goodman said of the Mustangs. “They knew what they had to do to win this football game and they did it. My hat’s off to them.”
Tippens’ 62-yard touchdown run put Pershing County ahead, 14-0 with 10:28 left in the third quarter. At that point, the Mustangs had outgained the Stars, 249-61.
But the Stars found a way to get off the deck and rally to take a brief lead.
Junior running back Tank Carter — who finished with 75 yards on 14 carries to lead the Stars — put his team on the board with a bruising 15-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive. Terrell Kemp’s two-point conversion run trimmed the lead to 14-8.
The Stars then forced the Mustangs to turn the ball over on downs in four plays on the ensuing drive — with Kemp coming up with two big tackles on third- and fourth-down with two yards to go.
Agassi Prep drove the ball 58 yards in 10 plays, capped by Derreon Whitesides’ 14-yard touchdown run on an end around. Kemp added another two-point conversion run to give the Stars their first lead at 16-14 with 4:06 left in the third quarter.
“My kids played hard. There was no quit in them,” Goodman said of his team’s rally.
But Agassi Prep failed to extend its lead after driving to the Pershing County 28 and stalling at the end of the third quarter, and the Mustangs retook control of the game in the final period.
Tippens broke loose for a 46-yard touchdown run with 11:25 left in the game to give Pershing County the lead again, 20-16.
Robby Bugard then came up with an interception for the Mustangs on the next drive, and Jensen rumbled into the endzone on a two-yard run. Pershing County added a two-point conversion to take command, 28-16.
“It’s tough to come back in the playoffs. You have to have a pretty flawless game,” Goodman said. “We may have had more penalties today than we did in any game all year.
“But I was really proud of the season they had this year. We had a lot of firsts.”