Akil Sharp carried the offensive load for Sierra Vista in its 20-14 win over visiting Clark on Friday night.
But that wasn’t enough for the senior honors student.
When his running mate, Garland Latham, came up lame midway through the third quarter, the 5-foot-9-inch, 200-pound Sharp picked up the 160-pound Latham and carried him to the sideline.
“That’s just the kind of person and leader Akil is,” Silverado coach Mark Sauve said.
Sharp rushed for 196 yards — 154 on 16 carries in the first half — and scored all three of the Mountain Lions’ touchdowns. The victory improved Silverado to 3-3 in the Southwest League and 4-5 overall. The victory clinched a playoff spot for Sierra Vista.
Latham, a senior, didn’t stay off the field very long and finished with 76 rushing yards on nine carries.
Sauve gave credit to offensive lineman Miles Harris, Andrew Ramos and Jace Foster for opening holes for his talented backfield.
“We knew we could pound the ball, and our defense was outstanding,” Sauve said. “This has just been a hard-working team.”
Sauve said he knew they had to be well prepared for Clark’s running tandem of Aaron Arlt, who was held to 68 yards on 14 carries, and the outside threat of Andre Clay, who broke free for 112 yards on 23 rushes.
“That was a tough Clark team,” Sauve said. “It’s the best Clark team I’ve seen in quite awhile.”
Clark (2-7, 2-4 Southwest League) tied the game at 14 when quarterback Anthony Lotta completed a 5-yard pass to Devohn Marks with 1:28 left in the third quarter and Dan Barr kicked the extra point.
On the ensuing kickoff, Latham the ball at the 15-yard line and ran it back 65 yards before Barr made a touchdown-saving tackle. Two plays later, Sharp ran in 12 yards for the score. A personal foul on Sierra Vista made Barr’s extra point a 35-yard attempt, and it just missed wide to hold Sierra Vista’s lead to 20-14 lead.
Clark mounted a long drive on its next possession. The Chargers ran off 16 plays to reached the Sierra Vista 39, but a halfback option pass fell incomplete on fourth down with 5:19 left.
The Mountain Lions then began playing out the clock and converted two third downs, including a leaping catch by Darian Yahyavi for a first down with four minutes to go. They turned the ball over on downs with less than 2 seconds left, and a desperation pass by Clark was intercepted by Sierra Vista’s Ryan Stevens with no time remaining.