“It never gets old. We love it,” the senior quarterback said after rushing for 84 yards on eight carries to help hand the Aggies their first loss.
The Panthers have gone unbeaten during the regular season three of the last four years, suffering one loss last year.
“That’s our goal, to go undefeated every year. As the year goes on, that’s what keeps us going through the season,” Anderson said.
Neither team was able to score in the first three quarters, though Arbor View had the better chances. Palo Verde finally broke through on a 51-yard touchdown run by Brandon Wright just over a minute into the final period.
“We knew we were going to be in a dogfight before we even got here, so we just strapped it up and said, ‘Let’s go,’” said Wright, who gained 96 yards on 11 carries. “At halftime … we said, ‘If we want to be champs, we’ve got to get this thing going.’ ”
Arbor View outgained Palo Verde 138-64 in the first half, but missed a field goal and had a pass intercepted in the end zone by Ryan Beaulieu.
“At halftime, some of our senior captains really stepped up in the locker room where they got really vocal and they really hadn’t done that all year,” Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost said. “I was totally impressed with that. Hats totally off to those kids. They really wanted it.”
The Panthers came out in the second half and looked more like the team that has dominated the Northwest for four years, holding the upstart Aggies to 29 yards after the break.
Palo Verde extended its lead to 10-0 on a 27-yard field goal by Garrett Dunlap with 4:48 to play and the game was essentially wrapped up when Arbor View fumbled the ensuing kickoff after trying to run a trick play on the return. Garrett Rost concluded the scoring with a 1-yard run three plays later.
The Aggies fell short in their quest for a league crown, but will host Durango in a first-round playoff game Friday as the Northwest’s No. 2 seed.
“You want to win the first division championship in your school’s history, but we had a lot of firsts this year,” Arbor View coach Dan Barnson said.
Palo Verde will host Spring Valley on Friday, but the win means the Panthers will have home-field advantage even if they meet the Southwest’s top-seed, Bishop Gorman.
Bishop Gorman 56, Durango 6 — At Gorman, Durango’s crowd erupted when Julio Mora broke through for a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Unfortunately, the Trailblazers’ first scored came after the top-ranked Gaels had a 35-0 lead.
Both teams had already locked up playoff spots, so Gorman’s blowout victory was mostly for pride and statistics. Southwest top seed Gorman (9-2, 8-0) will host Northwest fourth seed Shadow Ridge (6-4, 4-4) in the Sunset Region playoffs Thursday. Southwest third seed Durango (7-3, 6-2) will travel to Northwest second-seed Arbor View (9-1, 7-1).
On Friday, Gorman allowed points for the first time since Oct. 1 — only the opponents’ second touchdown in league play — but that didn’t faze the Gaels, who gained 335 yards rushing and 243 passing.
“Teams have been trying to stop the run against us and we’ve seen some pretty unorthodox things,” Gorman coach Tony Sanchez said.
“There’s no doubt in my mind who the best quarterback in the state is. As we move forward, teams will start playing us more honest.”
Solomon passed for 243 yards, including TD passes of 25, 25 and 10 yards in the first quarter. Sophomore Justin Sweet rushed for 115 yards on nine carries, including a 67-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Evan Zeger had a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown and 77 yards receiving for Bishop Gorman.
Mora compiled 133 yards on 36 carries for Durango.
“As a team we played well, psychologically,” Trailblazers coach Gary Maki said. “It might be one of our better games of the year in that sense — especially considering we had three days off school this week. If we had played with this intensity against Desert Oasis, things might have been different.”
Cheyenne 52, Legacy 28 — At Legacy, the Desert Shields (4-5, 3-5 Northwest) scored 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, preventing the Longhorns (4-6, 3-5) from gaining a Sunset playoff bid.
Legacy took a 28-22 halftime lead on four second-quarter touchdown runs by fullback D’Andre Hughes (11, 22, 2, 44 yards). Then
Cheyenne’s defense clamped down and the Desert Shields took control. They went ahead for good on Jalen Walker’s 2-yard TD run and a 2-point conversion for a 30-28 lead.
Kenneth Counts added a 2-yard TD, Saunjay Meyer dashed in from the 3 and Brandon Leu ran back an interception 22-yards for Cheyenne in the final 12 minutes.
Walker also had an 8-yard TD and finished with 82 yards on 13 carries. Drew Calhoun scored on runs of 1 and 10 yards and led Cheyenne with 118 yards on 12 carries.
“We took our medicine in the first half and came out stronger in the second half,” Cheyenne coach David Cochran said. “We went out a winner so that’s good.”
Hughes led the Longhorns with 130 yards on 18 carries.
Spring Valley 38, Clark 12 — At Spring Valley, senior quarterback Jordan Cox accounted for four touchdowns, leading the Grizzlies (6-4, 5-3 Southwest) to a Sunset Region playoff berth.
Cox rushed for touchdowns of 65 and 22 yards and passed for scores of 16 yards to Christian Morimando and 20 to Tim Craig. Cox led Spring Valley with 96 yards on the ground and had 123 passing.
The Grizzlies’ defense forced three turnovers.
Senior running back Christopher Jackson rushed for 121 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown, for Clark (3-7, 3-5), whose slim playoff hopes were dashed.
Cimarron-Memorial 34, Mojave 19 — At Mojave, Christian Brown rushed for 276 yards and five touchdowns to power the Spartans (4-6, 4-4 Northwest) over the Rattlers (0-9, 0-8) in the season finale for both teams.
Brown scored on a 63-yard run on the fourth play from scrimmage and added a 19-yard TD to give the Spartans a 13-0 lead in the first quarter.
Mojave came back with touchdown passes of 26 and 20 yards from Trevonte Veal to Bryant Lewis to tie the game 13-all at halftime.
Veal and Lewis hooked up again for a 27-yard score in the third quarter, but the Spartans’ running game was too strong.
Brown scored on runs of 14, 3 and 37 yards in the second half.
Martin ran in from 6 and 2 yards in the first quarter and 25 and 53 in the second, leading Bonanza to a 28-0 halftime lead. Bengals quarterback Sterling Sprau scored twice in the third quarter, on a 9-yard run and a 52-yard pass from backup QB Brett Doyle on a fake punt.
Austin Rowe kicked six conversions for Bonanza.
For Sierra Vista, Gene Germaine rushed for 85 yards on 13 carries and ran for fourth-quarter touchdowns of 2 and 5 yards.
Reggie Williams added a 22-yard TD pass to Aaron Buckley to give Western a 20-7 lead.
Pahrump scored on the game’s final play when freshman quarterback A.J. Segura hit Cody Keasling with a 26-yard pass. Segura, making his varsity debut, completed 11 of 19 passses for 141 yards.