By GANNON HANEVOLD
Moapa Valley Progress
The Moapa Valley High School flag football team will see each league opponent twice in any given season. Following last week’s pair of games, the team has now gotten one shot at each of their league competition, with one game left on the schedule.
Hoping to grab their first league win and gain traction in a tight playoff race, the Pirates put their best effort on the field last week in their two matchups on the road Tuesday against SECTA and at home on Thursday against Chaparral.
The first game of the week, in Las Vegas against SECTA’s Roadrunners was sure to be a difficult matchup. SECTA has been one of the top contenders on this side of the region in recent years and this season has been no different. While the Pirate defense came and put on a pretty great performance, the offense struggled to find their way into the endzone. In a game where the defensive side of the ball can force three turnovers, all interceptions, it comes as a surprise the Pirates would fall scoreless in both halves.
The final score would be 24-0, thanks to three rushing touchdowns by the Roadrunners. The Pirates couldn’t capitalize off of their turnovers forced and the rushing attack was too strong for the defense to stop. However, the game certainly showed the potential the defense has to be a force against even the best of teams.
On the offensive end, quarterback Alex Peay said, “We can usually get it down the field, but I think that we need to work on getting the ball into the endzone. In a couple of games, we’ve gotten there but haven’t been able to score.”
However, she expressed praise for what she saw the defense do in the game. “Our defense has been that good all year, but they keep getting better.”
In the second game of the week, the Pirates returned home to host Chaparral. On the first play from scrimmage, the Cowboys took it the distance and jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
Moapa didn’t give up, however, responding with a touchdown pass of their own on the ensuing possession. A missed extra point attempt kept it at 7-6 at halftime.
In the second half, both sides traded touchdowns. But Moapa Valley would fall an extra point short of a victory. The final score was 13-12 as the clock hit zero.
Leading the way for the Pirates was Benedicte Johannsen, who grabbed nine receptions for over 150 yards and a score. The other receiving touchdown landed in the hands of senior Jessica Leon.
Johannsen, a foreign exchange student from Norway, has been a key contributor for the team this season. This game, however, stood out as her breakout opportunity.
“I think it’s all about staying focused and believing in yourself and doing your best to try to improve at practice,” She said of her improvement over the course of the season.
She has already grown close with her teammates in a sport that is new to her. “My favorite part is how the team has become family to me,” she said. “Everyone is always uplifting and supportive. We stay together through our ups and downs.”
With five games still left on the regular season schedule, the team’s hopes are far from over, even despite an 0-5 start to their league games, which included a pair of heartbreakers to Boulder City and Chaparral.
“We played extremely well this week and we didn’t give up,” concluded Peay. “If we keep that mindset I think we’ll have a good chance at the playoffs.”
The next five games will determine if the junior quarterback is right and whether or not her team can fight their way to a playoff berth.