To say Shadow Ridge ran past Las Vegas in Friday’s night’s 47-13 home win would be an understatement.
After all, the Mustangs ran the ball 40 times for 505 yards and seven touchdowns, led by Aubrey Nellems, who rushed for 257 yards on 18 carries with three touchdowns.
But it was Shadow Ridge’s defense that was equally impressive, as it limited Nevada Preps’ preseason No. 1 running back Elijah Hicks to 50 yards on 11 carries, 44 of which came on one play.
“We preached turnovers all week, that’s what we work on, my assistant coaches do a great job, I wouldn’t be where I’m at without them, so kudos to them, kudos to the kids for going out and executing what we worked on all week,” Shadow Ridge defensive coordinator Bryan Frank said. “We preached all week we got to stop 10 (Hicks). We knew their running game was real good, and we knew we had to stop him and limit him and the big plays that he got, and the kids did a great job.”
The Mustangs limited Las Vegas to 154 yards of offense in the first half while disrupting Hicks and quarterback Zach Matlock numerous times to kill potential scoring drives. The Wildcats lost three fumbles in the first half, all three deep in Shadow Ridge territory.
Leading the charge on defense was captain Chase Horlacher, who recovered one fumble, had a sack and was in on two more tackles for losses.
“I think the defensive line really stepped up and kept us going, and we just pushed through and kept fighting each time,” Horlacher said. “Coaches make the difference, and the players came together as a family.”
Kody Presser got the scoring started with two 55-yard touchdown runs before Nellems broke free for an 80-yard sprint to put the Mustangs ahead 18-0 after the first quarter.
Moments after Kaejin Smith-Bejgrowicz ripped the ball from Hicks’ arms while he was driving inside Shadow Ridge’s 8-yard line, tailback Elisha Young broke free for a 41-yard touchdown.
The Mustangs then scored a safety on the ensuing kickoff, and two plays later, Nellems galloped 25 yards for a score, pushing the lead to 33-0. Nellems’ third TD was a 39-yard jaunt for a 40-0 halftime lead.
“Offensively, our line gave us its all. I just know I wouldn’t be able to do anything, Elisha wouldn’t be able to do anything without those guys.” Nellems said. “Our defense played hard, and we just plugged arguably the best running back in the state.”
Las Vegas got late touchdowns from receivers Preston Williams and Jordan Murrel. Williams had four receptions for 74 yards.