Rattlers big plays bite Bulldogs 46-20 end title hopes

The final score 46-20 was not indicative of a hard fought game as the Rattlers from Mojave High School took advantage of their host, Virgin Valley High School’s four turnovers to end the Bulldogs run to State. The Dawgs were no match for the fleet Rattler running backs and receivers, scoring their touchdowns on long quick strikes. Mojave took advantage of their quickness scoring on runs of 59, 60, 76 yards, two passes for 70 and 40 yards and finally a kickoff return of 75 yards.  The pregame hype from the Vegas media was the matchup of two of the best running backs in Southern Nevada, the Rattlers Tawee Walker and Bulldog Jayden Perkins. The crowd was not disappointed as Walker had 221 total yards of total offense to Perkins 182 yards. Walker ran for 181 yards on only 11 touches to Perkins hard fought 148 yards on 27 touches.

The Dawgs held the Rattlers on their first possession forcing a short punt. The Dawgs could not take advantage of field turning the ball back to Mojave. Walker made them pay streaking 59 yards to give the Rattlers a 6-0 lead three minutes into the game. The Bulldogs defense buckled down and held the Rattlers the rest of the first period. The Dawgs had great field position on their first possession of the second period starting a drive from the Rattlers 48 yard line. Perkins ran for 12 yards followed by 23 yards from Cresent Crandall setting up a first and 10 from the Mojave 13 yard line. A penalty, two incomplete passes and a big sack stopped the drive. The Rattlers then proceeded to drive the length of the field to take a 14-0 lead. A botched onside kick gave the Dawgs great field position once again on the Mojave 40 yard line. The Dawgs failed to take advantage as an incomplete pass, two short runs set up a fourth and four from the 36 yard line. Bulldog quarterback Cade Anderson was sacked turning the ball over to Mojave. Walker made the Bulldogs pay on the first play going 60 yards for a T.D. and a 20-0 lead for the Rattlers. Bulldog Tim Moeai took the ensuing kickoff to the Bulldogs 27 yard line. On the first play of the drive Q.B. Anderson ran up the middle for 37 yards on a keeper to the Rattlers 26 yard line. Perkins finished the drive with two 12 yard receptions and a 3 yard T.D around end. The first half ended with Mojave up 20-7 with the Dawgs receiving the second half kickoff.

Despite trailing, the Bulldog coaches were confident they could control the ball. They began the second half of play on their own 25 yard line. On a third and one, Perkins broke free into the Mojave secondary but was run down by the swift Walker who reached around Perkins and stole the ball on the Rattlers 20 yard line. The play changed the whole momentum of the game as the Rattlers went 85 yards on two runs, with last the 40 yards by Walker for the score. So instead of a 20-14 score, Mojave went up 28-7 to the dismay of the Bulldog faithful. The Dawgs battled back scoring quickly on a Cresent Crandall 69 yard run through the entire Mojave defense shaking off defense men along the way. The extra point kick was good making the score 28-14 with only four minutes gone in the period. The Bulldog excitement was short lived despite sacking the Q.B/ setting up a second and long for a first down. Mojave Q.B. Xavier DeLong next pass to his receiver bounced off the receivers hand into a secondary wide out who scored on a 66 yard play. The Bulldogs now trailed 34-14. The Dawgs may have seemed down, but they were still full of fight going downfield on 8 plays, with Perkins going the final 12 yards for the score cutting the Mojave lead to 34-20. The Dawgs hopes were dashed on the ensuing kickoff as Rattler John Harper took it to the house for a 75 yard score upping the Mojave lead to 40-20 as the third period ended. The Bulldogs third fumble of the game gave the Rattlers a first and ten from their own 25 yard line. The Rattlers made the Bulldogs pay as Walker picked his way along the Bulldog line before dashing up field for a 75 yard touchdown making the final score 46-20. The 26 point differential was the same amount as the Rattlers shut out the Dawgs 26-0 in an early season game. A disheartened band of Bulldogs joined their coaches on the sidelines as each coach stated how proud they were of their Dawgs. “I’m so proud of you guys,” said Dawg head coach Yori Ludvigson. “You never gave up and battled a very good team. Nobody expected us to win the 3A Sunrise league.” The Bulldogs had 432 yards of offense for the game. Crandall had his best offensive display of the season with 110 yards on the ground plus 21 yards in receptions. The Dawgs finished the season with a 7-4 record.

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