By DAVE BELCHER
Moapa Valley Progress
It was a wild night in more ways than one on Friday night as the Pirates hosted the Shadow Ridge Mustangs at the home field.
The athletes and fans were expecting a tough game. The Mustang team is ranked 15th in the state of Nevada, 15th in the 4A. The Pirates are ranked 25th in the state, 5th in the 3A. It was going to be an uphill battle.
But the weather on Friday evening also added its part to the melee. Wild weather ended the game early, with 2:12 remaining in the second quarter. Numerous lightning strikes were occurring within a 3-mile area of the stadium. This required the game to be delayed for 30 minutes to see if the squall would pass by. The athletic trainer on site is the one who determines whether it is safe to resume or if the game should be cancelled. In the end, the continued lightning and accompanying torrential downpours cancelled the game early.
The weather issue was widespread in the region on Friday. Throughout Las Vegas, other football games were also cancelled. The only game that was made up was Legacy at Palo Verde, which happened last Monday night because it was a league game.
Despite the early end to the game, there was little doubt which direction the game was headed. Shadow Ridge has speed, size, and the triple option offense that not many run anymore. The Moapa Valley defense held its own through the first quarter. The Pirates held Shadow Ridge scoreless in the first quarter. And the offense showed promise, including an early trip inside the five-yard line before a holding call sent them back 10 yards where the Pirates lost momentum and turned the ball over on downs.
But then came the turnovers.In the second quarter, on first and ten from the Moapa Valley 41-yard line, Pirate junior Braeden St John takes the pitch right and is hit and stripped of the ball. The Mustangs recover the ball at the 38-yardline. On the next play, the Mustangs tossed to the right and ended up in the end zone for a 6-0 Mustangs lead. On the 2-point conversion, Shadow Ridge lined seven players to the offensive left near the sideline. A direct snap to the back behind the line on the right and a score, 8-0.
After the kick off the Mustang defense read the screen. Longman, rolling right threw left where a Mustang stepped in front of St John for the interception. It was Shadow Ridge’s ball inside the Pirate 10 at the 7-yard line. A hand off left, and a stop at the 3-yard line. Same play: left again, and another touchdown. Same line up on the two-point conversion, a direct snap for 2 points and a 16-0 Mustang lead.
On the next series, it was 3rd down and 9 at the Pirate 12 yard line. Longman rolled left lofting a pass. It was picked at the 25 and run back, weaving through Pirate defenders, all the way to the end zone for another touchdown. The point after was short and the Pirates now trailed 22-0.
On what would be the final possession of the game. Moapa Valley crossed the Mustang five-yard line with a first down pass reception from Longman to Reece at the 4-yard line. But after three runs failed to cross the goal line, Longman was dropping back and was tripped, stumbling before going to the ground.
He lost the ball in the process and a Mustang defender picked it up and ran 91 yards for a touchdown. The referee and the rest of the officials conferred at midfield and awarded the touchdown. The point after the touchdown kick was good for a final of 29-0.
The players took their places for the kick-off when another lightning bolt lit up the southern sky. This was what prompted the first thirty-minute delay. The players then cleared the field.
The score was 29-0 Shadow Ridge. The game was postponed and eventually cancelled as unfinished. There was no winner or loser on the record books because the game didn’t continue into the second half. The game will not be made up or finished because it is not a league game.
The Pirates will travel to Mojave on Friday night to play against a good Rattlers team who is 2-1 this year. The Rattlers have shut out both Del Sol and Virgin Valley, the two 3A teams they have already played this season. They beat Del Sol 36-0 and the Dawgs 26-0 in a storm shortened game also played Friday.
The Rattlers’ only loss came to Legacy a couple of weeks ago 50-14.
Mojave is led on offense by Tawee Walker who has 325 yards rushing in the three games with two touchdowns. Quarterback Xavier Delong has attempted 13 passes this year completing 5 of them for 106 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Game time is at 7:00 pm.