Nate Gord knew his team could pull an upset Friday night, but not quite like this.
The junior receiver caught three touchdown passes to lift The Meadows to a stunning 41-0 romp over visiting Needles (Calif.) in what was supposed to be a showdown in the Class 2A Southern League.
It was the first league loss for defending 2A state champion Needles (6-2, 5-1) since 2005.
“Not at all,” Gord said when asked if he saw the 41-0 score coming. “But I knew our team could do it. When we put our minds to it, we can beat anyone.”
The blowout also surprised The Meadows coach Frank DeSantis, whose team shook up the postseason picture.
Needles blew a chance to clinch the South’s No. 1 seed for the 2A state playoffs, while The Meadows created a three-team logjam atop the Southern League.
The Meadows (7-2, 5-1) dominated in all three phases from start to finish, outgaining Needles 355-88 in total yards of offense.
Gord also had one of The Meadows’ two recoveries of onside kicks, which the Mustangs attempted on every kickoff.
“They’ve got two great kids back there and we wanted to keep big plays to a minimum,” DeSantis said, referring to Needles kick returners Darra Russell and Stevie Kidd. “That’s the way to do it. We got fortunate on a couple of them.”
With three sacks, Dylan Lee led a swarming defense for The Meadows that stuffed Needles 19 times for loss or no gain and forced three turnovers.
The Meadows freshman quarterback Gerard Martinez threw for 184 yards and three touchdowns, with Gord catching four passes for 51 yards.
Pat Kenny carried 22 times for 107 yards and three TDs for The Meadows, which led 27-0 at halftime.
Russell, Needles’ usually-explosive running back/receiver, was held to 57 yards on six touches. He had to be helped off the field after suffering an apparent leg injury on the second-to-last play of the game.
Martinez, who has thrown 25 touchdown passes this season, completed passes to six different receivers.
“That’s one thing I do like about our team,” DeSantis said. “I think we have balance with the receivers.”
Added Gord: “I think we’re definitely the most explosive passing (team) in the league, and the offensive line is doing a great job.”
Boulder City 34, Faith Lutheran 14 — At Boulder City, Jake Phillips ran for a touchdown and tossed two TD passes as the Eagles (5-3, 1-2 3A Southern League) dominated the Crusaders (5-4, 0-3).
Phillips threw a 40-yard TD pass to Shane Levin and an 18-yard TD pass to Jeremy Smith. Phillips also had an 18-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Phillips completed 9 of 15 passes for 195 yards.
Boulder City’s Alex Dillon returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown, and Joey Felsenfeld scored on a 15 yard run. Boulder City’s Spencer Sasarita rushed for 83 yards on 18 carries.
Faith Lutheran quarterback Joe Portaro completed 15 of 35 passes for 202 yards and two TDs.
Moapa Valley 49, Desert Oasis 9 — At Desert Oasis, Max Jenkins threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more as the Pirates (6-2) rolled over the Diamondbacks (3-6).
Shaun Hilton caught one of Jenkins’ scoring strikes, a 36-yarder, and rushed for another score.
Brad Weiss also had a rushing touchdown for Moapa Valley, which visits Virgin Valley next week in a showdown for the Class 3A Southern League regular-season title.
Virgin Valley 46, Vasquez (Calif.) 7 — At Mesquite, Terran Leavitt threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to the win.
Colton Teerlink carried 16 times for 106 yards and two scores for Virgin Valley (8-1). Jonathan Gleave caught five passes for 85 yards and two TDs for the Bulldogs.
Henderson International 30, Diamond Ranch (Utah) 22 — At Henderson International, Jay Sutorius scored his third touchdown on a 3-yard run with 2:55 to play, breaking a 22-all tie and lifting the Wolverines (2-1) over Diamond Ranch.
Sutorius, who caught TD passes of 5 and 8 yards from Logan Christie, finished with 194 yards on 20 carries and 42 yards on five receptions. After Sutorius’ go-ahead score, Vinh Thai sealed the victory with an interception.
Keenan Gladd-Brown had an 85-yard touchdown run for the Wolverines.
Diamond Ranch tied the game midway through the fourth quarter on Travis Wilmeth’s 73-yard interception return.
Indian Springs 65, Sandy Valley 30 — At Sandy Valley, Nick Vandever rushed for 192 yards and four touchdowns to help the Thunderbirds (4-4, 2-3 Class 1A Southern League) defeat the Sidewinders (0-8, 0-6).
Indian Springs built a 27-0 halftime lead and led 39-16 after three quarters.
Adam Reinke added 105 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and Roger Atchley rushed for 85 yards and two scores. Junior Baker rushed for a touchdown and returned a fumble for another score for the Thunderbirds.
Laughlin 66, Round Mountain 44 — At Laughlin, the Cougars rode a 22-8 halftime lead to the win.
Round Mountain (5-3) tied the game 22-22 in the third quarter, but the Cougars (6-2) outscored the Knights 44-22 from there.
Round Mountain played without leading rusher Clint Wilson, who sprained his right ankle at Indian Springs on Oct. 17. He could be back for the playoffs, Knights coach Jim Swigart said.
Pahranagat Valley 50, Tonopah 33 — At Alamo, Taylor Poulsen threw for three touchdowns in the final five minutes of the first half, helping the Panthers (8-0, 5-0 Class 1A Southern League) beat the Muckers and take sole possession of the league lead.
Poulsen hooked up with Kale Leavitt for touchdowns of 9 and 34 yards, then found Brady Whipple for an 18-yard score with 16 seconds left in the half, giving Pahranagat Valley a 30-6 halftime lead.
Poulsen, who also ran for a touchdown, threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Adrian Eggert in the third quarter. Pahranagat Valley also got a punt return touchdown from Leavitt, and Whipple scored on a 20-yard run in the fourth. Whipple finished with 143 yards on 20 carries.
Scott Thibodeaux threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 125 yards, including a 5-yard TD, for Tonopah (5-3, 4-1). Denver Otteson caught TD passes of 20 and 15 yards, and Jeffery Blackburn caught a 3-yarder.
West Wendover 28, White Pine 8 — At Ely, West Wendover (1-7, 1-5 Class 2A Southern League) took a 15-8 halftime lead en route to posting its first win of the season.
Michael Johnson ran for White Pine’s (2-6, 2-4) lone touchdown.