The Virgin Valley High School football game versus Chaparral High School met all the pre-game hype Friday night in the Dawg Pound as the Bulldogs defense shut down the Cowboys vaunted passing game winning 13-7. “We played all three phases of the game,” said Bulldog head coach Yori Ludvigson. “Defense was the key, run the ball and take advantage of misplays by the Cowboys.” The win gave the Bulldogs the 3A Sunrise League title.
The first period, was all defense on both sides of the line. The Bulldogs defenses forced two straight four downs and out by the Cowboys. Zarate intercepted a Cowboy pass on the 40 yard line setting up a drive which culminated in a Perkins fumble on a 23 yard scamper and fumble into the end zone. A Cowboy jumped on the ball stopping the Dawgs dead in their tracks. The first period ended with the Cowboys on their own 39 yard line.
The Bulldogs defense stepped up forcing a Cowboy punt early in the second with 10:08 remaining in the half. The Bulldogs drove down field but were stopped by penalties. Facing a fourth and long, Bulldog kicker Cesar Zarate faked the punt, handed off to running back Jesus Ruvalcaba for a Bulldog first down keeping the drive alive. The Dawgs were again stopped by a holding call forcing a field goal attempt of 31 yards by Zarate. The kick split the uprights with room to spare giving the Dawgs a 3-0 lead. The drive consumed almost 8 minutes of the second quarter. Jayden Perkins had 8 carries during the Bulldog drive. Zarate’s subsequent kickoff went into the end zone giving the Cowboys the ball on their own 20 yard line. The Cowboys managed one first down before Bulldog defensive back Andrew Memmott intercepted a pass giving the Dawgs a first and ten at the Cowboys 46 yard line. Faced with a third and ten, Perkins took a handoff for 11 yards and a first down on the Cowboys 35 yard line. A Cowboy penalty gave the Dawgs a first down on Chaparrals 31 yard line with 1:10 left on the first half clock. Bulldog quarterback Cade Anderson, starting his first game for the injured Hogan Fowles proceeded to hit Zarate for 10 yards and a Bulldog first on the Cowboys 22. Anderson faked a run to his right, turned to hit a wide open Ruvalcaba for six points. Zarate’s point after was good upping the Dawgs lead to 10-0 with 46 seconds remaining in the half. The Cowboys Q.B. took a knee to end the half. The Bulldogs game plan was evident after one half of play, control the ball. The Dawgs had 14:53 minutes of offense.
The Cowboys were stopped on their first possession to begin the second half. A short punt gave the Dawgs a first and ten on the Chaparral 40yard line. Ruvalcaba took an Anderson pass for 12 yards and a first down on the Cowboys 25 yard line. A holding penalty set the Dawgs back 10 yards before Anderson, on a keeper went up the middle for 18 yards. Perkins followed with a 16 yard run to the Cowboys 4 yard line. The Cowboys defense stopped the Bulldogs cold before Zarate split the goal post for three and a 13-0 lead for the Dawgs. The Cowboys were not dead as they got life on a 37 yard kickoff return to their 43 yard line. The Cowboys scored on a four yard pass from Q.B. Santiago Vialpondo to Petite Kentrell cutting the Dawgs lead to 13-7.
The fourth period was a test of defense and steel for both defenses. Turnovers by both teams forced the defenses to step up. The Cowboys looked like they would mount a drive before running back Jacob Ford fumbled into the hands of Ruvalcaba giving the Dawgs the ball on their own 42 yard line with 4:55 remaining on the clock. It was Perkins time again as he led the Dawgs to a first down on the Cowboys 6 yard line. Three consecutive stops by the Cowboys defense forced a fourth and goal by the Dawgs. Coach Ludvigson let the clock run to 12 seconds before calling time out. A huge sigh of relief came over the Bulldog faithful, as the snap was fumbled in the air, but Perkins was there to down the ball with 8 seconds remaining in the ball game. The game ended on a Cowboy completion, before Bulldog Timothy Moeai crushed the Cowboy receiver. After the game coach Ludvigson said,” Nobody gave us a chance to begin the season. We lost 20 something players but the kids love for each other prevailed. We need to take care of business at Boulder City next week and prepare to host a playoff game. We want to go up north.” North, being the Nevada State playoffs in Northern Nevada. Perkins led the Dawgs with 167 tough yards on 37 carries. Anderson, Zarate and Ruvalcaba added to the Bulldogs 247 yards on the ground. Anderson was a little shaky in his first start but averaged 15 yards per completion and a touchdown. The Dawgs season record went to 7-1 and most importantly 3-0 in important league play. The vaunted Cowboy passing attack was held to 7 completions in 17 attempts. Cowboys receivers Kentrell Petite and Devon Gaddy had 22 touchdowns coming into the game. Gaddy only had one reception as the Dawgs defense almost shut him out.