Versatile star leads Needles to victory

Darra Russell couldn’t quite pinpoint his specialty on the football field.

On Friday night, he had a lot to choose from.

Playing running back, receiver, cornerback, return man and even kickoff specialist, Russell helped Needles (Calif.) spoil Calvary Chapel’s homecoming with a 40-8 rout in a Class 2A Southern League game at Faith Lutheran.

“I think I can do it all,” Russell said. “Whatever the coach needs me to do. I wouldn’t get the yards I’m getting without my teammates.”

Russell, a senior, carried six times for 97 yards and two touchdowns, and caught six passes for 132 yards and another score. He also intercepted a pass on defense.

“He’s just a special player,” Needles coach Steve Price said. “You’re not going to find many Darra Russells on any team. I have to take advantage of it and get him in there where we can. He makes plays when we need him to.”

Needles (5-1, 4-0), the defending 2A state champion in Nevada, rolled up 374 yards of offense, including 205 rushing.

In addition to Russell, the Mustangs also got production on the ground from Derek Tye (76 yards, two TDs) and Stevie Kidd (44 yards).

Needles quarterback Andrew Mathews completed 8 of 12 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

The Mustangs scored twice in each of the first three quarters, and cruised to a 40-0 lead with 4:02 left in the third.

Calvary Chapel (3-3, 2-2) was held to 153 yards of offense.

The Lions’ lone score came when Cody Taylor hit Juliene Mejia with a 25-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter.

Taylor, a sophomore, carried 18 times for 128 yards. He was 4-of-14 passing for 31 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

“Cody had a really good game,” Calvary Chapel coach Cliff Frazier said. “He’s starting to get a handle on our offense. We’ve still got to work on his throwing motion, but he’s improved a lot.”

The Lions struggled defensively without star safety Dario Rahming, whom Frazier said suffered a season-ending broken right wrist Oct. 3 during a 12-7 win over West Wendover.

Rahming had intercepted five passes in the Lions’ first five games.

“Our defense has really kept us in a lot of games,” Frazier said. “They just made some mistakes early.”

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