Michael Lofton’s fourth homecoming touchdown might have been almost a disappointment for the Desert Pines sophomore.
The hole his offensive line opened on the 44-yard score was so big, there was no one for the power back to run over. The untouched score was the closest anything went to going wrong for Lofton on Friday night, as his 208 rushing yards on 21 carries helped lead his team to a 35-6 win against visiting Mojave.
“He’s a physical kid, he likes contact,” Jaguars coach Tico Rodriguez said. “Sometimes we’re like ‘hey, juke,’ (and he says) ‘no coach, I like to go downhill.’”
Taking on contact is something Lofton takes pride in, and against Mojave, his running style led him to career-bests in rushing yards and touchdowns. Fellow sophomore Jyden King added 120 total yards and a touchdown against the Rattlers, complementing Lofton by running largely outside.
“I feel like I’m more of a power running back, up the hole. He’s more a sweep kind of guy,” Lofton said. “I like to get inside and fight for my yards.”
Behind its two backs Desert Pines (3-2, 2-0 Class 3A Sunset League) scored touchdowns on five of its seven drives and outgained Mojave in yards 384-227. Lofton had an 11-yard score on the Jaguars’ first possession, and then King finished the team’s second drive with a 3-yard touchdown. Lofton reached the end zone again 40 seconds before halftime and made the score 21-0, then added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
His 44-yard score with 3:28 to play ended his night, but busting out a big run was never on the back’s mind.
“NFL running backs, they usually average 5 (yards per carry), but at least they run hard and fight for the 5 yards. That’s what I look at,” Lofton said. “I don’t really care about breaking (a run) if I fight for the yards.”
Rattlers running back Tawee Walker squeezed a touchdown in between Lofton’s two fourth-quarter scores and finished with 156 yards, but Mojave’s offense rarely threatened. The Rattlers (4-2, 1-1) also lost two fumbles and threw an interception on the final play for the game’s only three turnovers.
The victory continued Desert Pines’ turnaround, as the team has won three straight after starting 0-2. The defending 3A state champions were shut out in their first two games but have now scored 111 in their past three because young players such as Lofton and King continue to develop.
“I scheduled two really tough teams early to go through the growing pains,” Rodriguez said, referring to Bishop Diego (Calif.) and Arbor View.
“We understood our situation. We knew we were young and we were putting in a new offense and it was going to take time … We were all frustrated but I knew the points would come.”
Moapa Valley 28, Chaparral 14 — At Overton, Braeden St. John caught the tying touchdown and ran for the go-ahead score, and the Pirates scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to rally past the Cowboys.
St. John caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Bennett on fourth-and-11 to tie the game at 14 with 7 minutes, 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The junior added a 26-yard TD run with 1:44 left to make it 21-14.
Hayden Redd scored on a 9-yard run with 59 seconds left for the final score. Daxton Longman ran for a TD, and Derek Reese had four catches for 80 yards for Moapa Valley (5-1, 1-0 Class 3A Sunrise League).
Chaparral’s Julius Hernandez and Sheik Fofanah each ran for a touchdown. Fofanah finished with 20 carries for 135 yards for Chaparral (5-2, 0-1).
Faith Lutheran 58, Cimarron-Memorial 39 — At Faith Lutheran, the Crusaders jumped out to a 30-3 lead in the first quarter, and quarterback Sagan Gronauer passed for five touchdowns as they cruised to a victory over the Spartans.
Gronauer’s favorite target was Dalton Kincaid, who had 187 yards and three touchdowns. Gronauer finished with 296 yards passing.
Kincaid’s emergence was a bright spot for the Crusaders (3-3, 3-1 Northwest League) after losing top receiver Elijah Kothe to a broken collarbone a week earlier — one of seven starters now on the sidelines for the hobbling Crusaders.
It was an emotional night for Faith Lutheran as two of school’s senior cheerleaders — twins Gianna and Natalia Baca — were in attendance after both had been shot in the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival on Sunday. Natalia had just been released from the hospital hours earlier.
Cimarron-Memorial outscored the Crusaders 36-28 in the final three quarters, including a running touchdown and a passing touchdown by backup quarterback Jose Carrasco in the final two minutes.
George Tribble passed for 178 yards for the Spartans (3-2, 1-2).
Durango 19, Del Sol 12 — At Durango, junior running back T.K. Fotu rushed for 174 yards on 16 carries, including a 53-yard touchdown, as the Trailblazers held off the Dragons.
Durango (5-1) had a 15-play, 81-yard opening drive, capped by a 13-yard TD catch by Justin Johnson from Kaden Renshaw to go up 7-0, and added Fotu’s 53-yard scoring run for a 13-0 halftime advantage.
Del Sol’s Barry Williams provided an interception on defense on the first play of the second half, and had a 35-yard TD catch three plays later to cut the deficit to 13-6.
Jayden Nersinger supplied a 6-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 19-6 for the Trailblazers.
Williams, who had a sack and two fumble recoveries on defense, added a 13-yard TD reception with 2:01 left to play for the game’s final margin.
Renshaw had 73 yards on 15 carries, and teammate Ka’Ron Shomo had 61 yards on six carries for Durango.
Andre Navarez completed 6 of 17 passes for 90 yards, and rushed for 62 yards for the Dragons (2-4), who got 85 yards rushing from Taariq Flowers.
Sunrise Mountain 60, Western 13 — At Western, Trayvon Ward led the Miners with 206 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns in their win over the Warriors.
Ward scored on runs of 79, 69, 27 and 3 yards, and also added a 24-yard touchdown reception with 2:10 left in the first quarter. Tyree Hayes completed 7 of 11 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns for Sunrise Mountain (3-3, 1-1 Class 3A Sunset League).
The Miners finished off the first half with a 93-yard scoring drive, capped by a 32-yard TD pass from Hayes to Xavier Kyles with 0:43 seconds left in the secpmd quarter. Sunrise Mountain finished the first half with 360 total yards of offense.
Kyles led the Miners with five catches for 133 receiving yards and one touchdown, and ran for 54 yards and a TD.
Western (1-5, 0-2 Class 3A Sunset League) began to show some life in the fourth quarter when Giovannie Garcia completed a 64-yard touchdown pass to Angel Mendizabal with 10:27 left in the game. Garcia finished the game with 137 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Boulder City 62, Rancho 33 — At Rancho, Thorston Balmer ran for 208 yards and four touchdowns as the Eagles snapped a four-game losing streak with a victory over the Rams.
Most of Balmer’s damage came in the fourth quarter, as Rancho attempted to climb out of what was a 26-point hole. After the Rams cut the Boulder City lead to 40-27 early in the fourth, Balmer scored on three straight plays from scrimmage — runs of 47, 45 and 72 yards. The last one pushed him over the 200-yard mark for the contest.
Briggs Huxford found the end zone three times for Boulder City (3-4), including a 65-yard TD reception from Parker Reynolds, and an 81-yard kickoff return in the third quarter.
Jonathan Gunter led the way for the Rams (0-6), carrying the ball 35 times for 182 yards and two touchdowns. He also passed for two scores. Rancho fell behind 26-0 before starting its comeback, with Gunter scoring on a 1-yard run and then hitting Kendrick Nieves for a 15-yard touchdown on a ball tipped in the end zone.
The 33 points for the Rams were more than the team had mustered in its five previous games combined.
Democracy Prep 40, The Meadows 0 — At The Meadows, Sayvyon Smith returned a fumble 88 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to break open a close game as the Blue Knights went on to defeat the Mustangs.
The Mustangs trailed 6-0 and were deep in Democracy Prep territory when the fumble occurred. The Meadows’ offense never recovered, and did not drive past the Blue Knight 40-yard line for the rest of the game.
Democracy Prep (3-2, 3-1 Class 2A Southern League) sandwiched the big defensive play between a 6-yard rushing touchdown by Vanell Meeks and a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Micah Gayman to receiver Kelley Jones for a 20-point second quarter.
Ramon Green, who led the Blue Knights with 131 yards rushing, gained a majority of that on an 81-yard touchdown run to give Democracy Prep a 34-0 lead to start the fourth quarter.
Running back Josh Navallo rushed for 62 yards to lead The Meadows (2-4, 2-2).
Lincoln County 61, Calvary Chapel 12 — At Panaca, Mason Thornock accounted for five total touchdowns to lead the Lynx past the Lions.
Thornock threw three touchdowns, ran for a TD and returned one of his two interceptions 35 yards for a score.
Dean Ottley added 75 rushing yards and three touchdowns, scoring on runs of 30, 42 and 3, and teammates Elijah Harr, Landen Smith and Kamden Lewis each caught a touchdown pass for Lincoln County (5-2, 3-0 Class 2A Southern League), which led 32-0 after the first quarter.
Noah Smith had a 79-yard kickoff return for a TD for the Lynx.
Dylan Sims threw two touchdown passes to lead Calvary Chapel (0-5, 0-4).
Needles 34, Lake Mead 3 — At Needles, California, Marcus Turner ran for three touchdowns as the Mustangs took down the Eagles.
The Mustags improved to 6-0, 3-0 Class 2A Southern League.
The Eagles fell to 3-2, 2-2.
Spring Mountain 74, Round Mountain 12 — At Spring Mountain, Eric Parker set a Class 1A state record with four interceptions as the Golden Eagles rolled over the Knights.
The Golden Eagles (4-1, 3-0 Class 1A Southern League) scored 54 points in the first quarter, and let 64-12 at halftime. Kamari Collins opened the scoring with a 24-yard TD run just 32 seconds into the game, then Dalvin Brown recovered a fumble in the end zone with 10:33 remaining in the first.
Corvell Fisher was the only player to score twice, returning an interception 22 yards for a touchdownin the first quarter, and catching a 77-yard TD pass in the third quarter.
The Knights fell to 0-6, 0-4.
Pahranagat Valley 64, Indian Springs 12 — At Alamo, the Panthers scored three times in the first two minutes, and six times in the first quarter to run away from the Thunderbirds.
Brodey Maxwell started the scoring with a 60-yard touchdown run 19 seconds into the game, then added a 45-yard interception return with 10:10 remaining in the first quarter for the Panthers (6-0, 3-0 Class 1A Southern League).
Pahranagat Valley quarterback Preston Higbee was 7 of 11 passing for 103 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 84 yards and two more scores on five carries.
Jay Barth and Tyler Bundy had touchdown runs for the Thunderbirds (1-5, 1-3).
Wells 66, Tonopah 36 — At Tonopah, Brandon Scobee rushed for 167 yards on 21 carries, but the Muckers fell to the Leopards.
Vance Day made 15 tackles for the Muckers (3-3), and Chris McCullough had three sacks.