Mojave quarterback Xavier DeLong lined up behind his center 4 yards away from the goal line on his team’s second play of overtime, knowing a touchdown would win the game. When the ball was snapped, the 5-foot-10-inch junior slithered between his left guard and tackle and into the end zone to incite a frenzy of screams from the Rattlers home crowd.
A few cries though, might have been sighs of relief.
Despite building a 22-0 lead in the second half, Mojave needed overtime to defeat Sunrise Mountain 34-28 on Friday for in its Sunset League opener. The Miners tied the game late in the fourth quarter but missed a field goal on the first possession of overtime to set the stage for DeLong.
“We were scared a bit, I ain’t going to lie. But our kids rose to the occasion,” Rattlers coach Abraham Gonzalez said. “They wanted the challenge. Sometimes it just takes a challenge like that to get them fired up and get them going.”
Mojave (4-1, 1-0) had nearly as many rushing yards (284) as Sunrise Mountain had total yards (297) and near the end of the game it looked like the Rattlers ground game would seal a victory. The Rattlers got the ball back with a 28-21 with 6:45 to play in the fourth quarter and ran four minutes off the clock until a fumble gave the ball back to the Miners.
Sunrise Mountain (2-3, 0-1) didn’t miss its opportunity, with running back Trayvon Ward scoring from 8 yards out to tie the game with 1:11 left in regulation. Ward, who finished with 152 yards on 21 carries, and quarterback Tyree Hayes each scored two second-half touchdowns for the Miners to force overtime.
“I think we got really complacent,” Gonzalez said. “We thought we had it won and they took advantage of us. A team like that, you cannot go to sleep on.”
Mojave relaxed after scoring on its first and last possessions of the first half to take a 16-0 lead into the locker room, and then senior John Harper recorded an interception return for a touchdown than two minutes into the third quarter to make the score 22-0.
The Rattlers even answered Sunrise Mountain’s first score in the third quarter with a touchdown of their own from running back Quincy Smith, who finished with 129 rushing yards, but the Miners wouldn’t quit. Sunrise Mountain scored three touchdowns in the last 15:27 to force overtime.
“They were able to expose a lot of our weaknesses,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m glad that our kids were able to stay composed.”
Faith Lutheran 20, Legacy 13 — At Legacy, quarterback Sagan Gronauer passed for 327 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Crusaders over the Longhorns.
Gronauer, who was sidelined with a foot injury in last week’s comeback win over Palo Verde, completed 19 of 33 passes.
One of Gronauer’s targets was Josh Hong, who scrambled after for a 73-yard TD pass, and Faith Lutheran (2-3, 2-2 Northwest League) followed it with a 2-point conversation by Nate Meredith to give Faith Lutheran an 8-7 lead.
Hong not only drew first blood for the Crusaders offense, he also stopped the bleeding late the fourth quarter for the defense, picking off a trick-play pass on fourth-and-11 with a minute to play to end a Longhorns threat.
Aubrey Washington led a couple of big drives for Legacy (4-2, 2-1), rushing for 136 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Legacy’s other touchdown came on a 16-yard run by Jerry Martin.
Faith Lutheran kicker Garrett Greene hit field goals of 30 and 29 yards, Dalton Kincaid had four receptions for 92 yards and one TD, and Peyton Thornton had a game-high six receptions for 104 yards.
Cheyenne 40, Western 0 — At Cheyenne, Clarence Rose scored four touchdowns to lead the Desert Shields to the win over the Warriors.
After the first drive of the game ended with no points, Rose ended the next two series with touchdown runs of 2 and 8 yards for the Desert Shields (2-2, 1-0).
Western recovered a Cheyenne fumble deep in the Desert Shields’ territory, but a pass from Western’s Giovannie Garcia was intercepted and returned 98 yards for a touchdown by James Henry, giving Cheyenne an 18-point lead with 2:37 to play in the second quarter.
Rose got another shot at the end of the half, taking a backwards pass from Joshua Rose 59 yards for a touchdown with 19 seconds remaining. A 2-point conversion provided a 26-0 halftime margin.
Clarence Rose rushed for 178 yards on 14 carries, and Joshua Rose rushed for 55 yards and passed for 59.
Jeremiah Towns led the Warriors (1-4, 0-1) with 26 rushing yards, and Eric Hughes hauled in four passes for 50 yards.
Palo Verde 47, Del Sol 12 — At Palo Verde, senior running back Chamere Thomas rushed for 159 yards on eight carries with scoring runs of 21, 31, and 58 yards, and caught a 29-yard TD pass, as the Panthers routed the Dragons.
Quarterback Nick Zuppas tossed two TD passes, and teammate Isaiah Scott supplied 111 yards on eight carries for Palo Verde (2-3), which held Del Sol to 94 yards of offense.
Ryan McCormick added a 2-yard TD plunge for the Panthers, who got a 30-yard TD reception from Daniel Bellinger.
Taariq Flowers provided Del Sol (2-3) a 72-yard TD scamper, and teammate Victor Cano returned a fumble 45 yards for a score.
Moapa Valley 40, Las Vegas 14 — At Overton, running back Hayden Redd had 136 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries as the Pirates took down the Wildcats.
Pirates’ running back Logan Jackson ran for 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, and teammate Trystan Lehman had 50 rushing yards. Dallas Larsen returned an interception 83 yards for a touchdown for Moapa Valley (4-1).
Las Vegas quarterback Zach Matlock went 11-for-19 with 87 yards and one interception. Running back Elijah Hicks had 117 rushing yards and one touchdown on 13 carries, and Miles Davis had a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for the Wildcats (0-5).
Virgin Valley 36, Boulder City 12 — At Mesquite, Jayden Perkins rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns to help the Bulldogs defeat the Eagles.
Perkins also had three receptions for 89 yards and two TDs to power the Bulldogs (4-2).
Virgin Valley quarterback Cade Anderson went 9 of 14 passing for 211 yards and three touchdown passes and added a 14-yard rushing touchdown to open the scoring.
Joshua Abbott had 53 rushing yards on four carries, Timothy Moeai had a 72-yard receiving touchdown and Vicente Pinto had 50 receiving yards with five receptions.
Vincent Pacini had two rushing touchdowns for Boulder City (2-4).
Desert Pines 28, Pahrump Valley 0 — At Pahrump, Tyler Williamson ran for a 1-yard score and threw a 20-yard touchdown to Darnell Washington to help the Jaguars defeat the Trojans.
Tye Moore and Jamel Brown each added a rushing TD for Desert Pines (2-2, 1-0 Class 3A Sunset League), which led 7-0 at halftime.
Pahrump fell to 2-3, 0-1.
Lincoln County 48, Laughlin 0 — At Panaca, Mason Thornock threw two touchdown passes and had two rushing touchdowns to lead the Lynx to a victory over the Cougars.
Noah Smith rushed for 119 yards on six carries and had three touchdowns for the Lynx (4-2, 3-0 Class 2A Southern League). Landen Smith had 77 rushing yards on seven carries, a 49-yard touchdown reception and six tackles on defense.
Lincoln County’s Dean Ottley had 55 rushing yards on four carries, and Elijah Harr had a 6-yard receiving touchdown. Alex Smith led the Lynx with 10 tackles, and Kobe Walker had eight tackles and a sack.
The Cougars fell to 1-3, 0-3.
Beatty 40, Indian Springs 0 — At Indian Springs, the Hornets (4-0, 3-0 Class 2A Southern League) scored all their points in the first half to roll by the Thunderbirds (1-4, 1-2).