It was audible from the Sunrise Mountain sideline every time the defense came up against third down.
“Money down! Money down!”
It’s what the Miners call their third-down defense to hype up the players. It clearly worked Thursday night, as the “money down” only surrendered two conversions and the offense rolled in the Miners’ 54-0 drubbing of visiting Mojave.
Thursday night for Sunrise Mountain was, as junior defensive back Dante Calahan said, all about the money.
“Third down is money down, cash out,” Calahan said. “Couldn’t have been much better. Coach said come out, show them it’s going to be a long game and that’s what we did.”
Calahan did not even allow the first defensive series to reach the money down. On the second play of the game, he saw a floater come out of the hand of Mojave quarterback Taiwan Braden and jumped the route, taking the ball 25 yards for a touchdown.
“There was no receiver there so when the ball was in my hands it was green,” Calahan said. “Pay dirt.”
The offense did not struggle to find pay dirt, either. After Calahan’s score, the Miners (2-3, 1-0 3A Sunset League) scored seven more times en route to a season-high in points, topping their previous best of 39. In the first half, the only possession that did not end in a touchdown was when the first half ended, and even then, quarterback Stephen Wright was downed at the 1-yard line on the final play of the half.
Sunrise Mountain led 34-0 at the break behind. Dalton Pytrysson and Te’andre Love caught touchdown passes from Stephen Wright, and Claude Moore and Trayvon Ward had rushing touchdowns. The Miners tacked on three more touchdowns in the second half: a 3-yard pass from Wright to Kemani Wilks, a 58-yard TD run by Ward and a 45-yard scoring run by Moore.
Ward, the senior running back, was the offensive leader all night against the Rattlers (0-5, 0-1 3A Sunset League). He carried the ball 10 times for 141 yards.
“I thank my line a lot,” Ward said. “We matured a lot with a lot things and I just feel really good with the team this year.”
The offensive line had been a bit of a struggle for the Miners. The unit had not played particularly well in the season’s first four games but came together in a big way Thursday, paving the way for Sunrise Mountain to rush 26 times for 332 yards, an average of 12.8 yards per rush.
It’s the kind of play that can carry the Miners through league play. Next week they meet winless Western, before showdowns with Pahrump Valley and Desert Pines.
“We played the way we should be playing the rest of the season, and so far to this point we haven’t really played this well,” Miners coach Chris Sawyers said. “It just feels good to get in the win column, really. Especially in league (play), that’s nice.”
Lincoln County 32, Lake Mead 0 — At Panaca, Zachary Rowe ran for 143 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries as the Lynx blanked the Eagles.
Cody Thornock threw for 96 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown pass to Landon Smith as the Lynx took control of the game with a 15-point first quarter.
Zach Florence started the scoring with a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown with 9:30 to go in the first quarter.
The Lynx put the game away early in the fourth quarter when Jaques Wadsworth blocked a punt and Kevin Mathews scooped up the loose ball and scored to make it 29-0.