Rattlers feed ‘Beast,’ top Desert Shields

In order to snap its 0-9 record against rival Cheyenne, Mojave decided to feed “The Beast.”

Ty “The Beast” Flanagan ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries to rally the Rattlers past the Desert Shields, 22-8. He also caught a pass for 25 yards. The junior running back, who sat out the first half with a leg injury, did all his damage in the second half.

“He’s a beast,” Mojave coach Joe Delgado said. “He is very important to our offense when he’s 100 percent healthy. He and (quarterback Zack Arave) are our two workhorses, and we need both of them to keep our offense going.”

Flanagan’s second-half heroics were necessary because the Rattlers (4-3, 2-1 Sunset League) never seemed to get going in the first half. Mojave was plagued with bad snaps, penalties and missed assignments.

“I don’t know if it was so much what they were doing to us as opposed to us shooting ourselves in the foot,” Delgado said. “We had a couple of misplayed snaps, some big penalties, a touchdown called back – it was kind of the same ole story there for a while. In the second half, we were able to overcome that and erase all the bad things that happened in the first half.”

After a scoreless first half, Cheyenne (2-5, 2-1) took the lead midway through the third quarter on a 10-yard run by Jordan Johnson. Zavieh Harrell ran in the 2-point conversion to give the Desert Shields an 8-0 advantage. Johnson led the Desert Shields with 92 yards on 18 carries.

From that point forward, the Rattlers turned to Flanagan for a spark, and he provided it with a 25-yard touchdown run with 13 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Deandre Armstrong ran in the 2-point conversion to tie the game.

With 6:25 left in the game, Mojave drove 75 yards on five plays to take a 14-8 lead. Flanagan ran for 64 of those yards on two carries – including a 33-yard TD run with 4:20 remaining.

“I do whatever I can to help my team win,” Flanagan said. “I told them I was gonna come out here and sacrifice my body for this team. We played hard from the beginning to the end. I told them we’d come out here and grind and get this victory.”

The Rattlers iced the game when Arave scored on a 41-yard touchdown run with 1:05 remaining.

“We finally got that monkey off our back and it feels good,” Delgado said. “It was a tight game there at the beginning, and with the score 0-0 at halftime, it’s anybody’s game.”

The Rattlers hope this win over Cheyenne will give the needed push to secure a spot in the Division I-A playoffs.

“This win was real important because this is a rivalry game,” Flanagan said. “It was the most important game of the year to me. They are a great team. They put up a hard-fought battle against us, and we ended up getting the win by executing and doing what we have to do. It was a great victory, and I couldn’t be happier for my team.

“If we keep doing what we have been doing so far – excel off of this win, keep grinding, stay together as a team and sacrificing for one another, we can make it to the playoffs.”