The Virgin Valley High School Bulldogs ‘Pistol’ offense failed to score in the first quarter of a game this year as the Faith Lutheran High School Crusaders dominated the Bulldogs in a 48-26 win over their hosts. The Bulldogs literally shot themselves in the foot as the Crusaders took advantage of six Bulldog turnovers to score touchdowns. The Bulldogs secondary could not hold Crusader quarterback Shawn Balva in check as he passed for five touchdowns and over 230 yards during the win.
After the Bulldogs won the toss, everything went South in their first two possessions as two turnovers resulted in two touchdowns for the visitors. The Crusaders showed immediately they came to play as they attempted an onside kick to begin the game. The Bulldogs covered the ball. A Garrett Leavitt pass was picked off by a Crusader defensive back on the 49 yard line. The Crusaders behind Balva’s running and passing drove to a first down on the Bulldogs 12 yard line. A strong defensive stand led by Bulldog Jared Walther’s sack of Balva, set up a fourth and goal from the ‘Dawg’s nine yard line. Balva’s pass to Sean Bishel resulted in a Crusader touchdown. The two point conversion was good making the score 8-0 in favor of the Crusaders. Trailing for the first time in a game this year, the Bulldogs prepared for the kickoff. The kick was fumbled but recovered by the ‘Dawg returnee on his own 37 yard line. Dee Bowler began the possession with a three yard smash up the middle. Leavitt fumbled the snap giving the Crusaders a first and ten from the Bulldogs 37 yard line. Four plays later, led by a Balva 23 yard pass to the Bulldogs six yard line, the Crusaders had a first and goal but a holding penalty moved the ball back to the Bulldogs 39 yard line. Two pass plays later the Crusaders had a first and ten from the Bulldogs 13 yard line. A Balva pass resulted in the second TD of the game for the visitors. The point after kick failed, keeping the score 14-0 in favor of Faith Lutheran. The Bulldogs took the ensuing kickoff and returned it to their 34 yard line. Led by Bowler’s rushes the Bulldogs drove to the 47 yard line as the first period drew to a close.
The Bulldogs began the second period driving to the Crusaders six yard line. Leavitt finished the drive with a keeper for six points. The P.A.T. failed making the score 14-6 in favor of Faith Lutheran. The Bulldog faithful’s cheers were short lived as the Crusaders took the kickoff to their 43 yard line. The Crusaders scored on a long Balva touchdown pass of 40 yards to increase their lead to 21-6 as their P.A.T. was good. The Bulldogs began their next drive from their own 26 yard line. A Leavitt pass to Tyson Teerlink for 19 yards gave the ‘Dawgs a first down on the Crusaders 48 yard line. Leavitt’s next pass was intercepted by the Faith Lutheran squad on their 40 yard line. It didn’t take long for the Crusaders to put six more points on the scoreboard. Six plays later plus a pass interference on the ‘Dawgs, Balva hit his receiver for a T.D. The extra point failed keeping the score at 27-6 with 1:51 remaining in the first half of the game. The Bulldogs fumbled the ensuing kickoff but were fortunate to recover the ball. A pass from Leavitt to Teerlink gave the ‘Dawgs a first down on their 40 yard line. A Leavitt keeper lost five yards and a delay of game penalty forced the Bulldogs into a third and twenty. Leavitt’s next pass was intercepted and gave the ball back to the Crusaders on the ‘Dawgs 21 yard line. Balva then hit Bashil for an 11 yard completion. Balva finished the short drive on a keeper for six more points. The P.A.T. was good making the score 34-6 in favor of the Crusaders. The half ended with the Bulldogs on the short end of the score. Five Bulldog turnovers resulted in five touchdowns for the Crusaders. No doubt it would take a huge momentum shift to get the Bulldogs back in the game.
The Crusaders were not ready to give momentum to the ‘Dawgs as their returnee took the second half kickoff back for 50 yards to the ‘Dawgs 30 yard line. Six plays later Balva hit another T.D. pass for 21 yards to increase the Crusader lead to 40-6. The P.A.T. was good increasing the lead to 41-6. The Bulldogs began their first drive of the second half from their own 42 yard line. Bowler ripped off 30 yards on an off guard run to the Crusaders 28 yard line. Dallen Carnesecca added 14 more on a smash off tackle. Cristian Aquirre ran it over from the 14 yard line. The P.A.T. was blocked making the score 41-12 in favor of the visitors. The Bulldogs surprised the Crusaders on an onside kick recovered by Teerlink. Coach Chris Sawyers made a Q.B. change moving Aquirre to the position. It immediately paid off as Aquirre gained 21 yards on a keeper to the Crusader 20. A personal foul moved the ball back to the 32 yard line. Aquirre then hit Leavitt on a beautiful pass and catch for 32 yards and a touchdown. The two point conversion failed. The Bulldogs now trailed 41-18. The Bulldogs couldn’t fool the Crusaders again as their onside kick was recovered by Faith Lutheran squad on their 48 yard line. It took the Crusaders behind Balva’s passing only five plays to put six more points on the scoreboard. The P.A.T. was good upping the Crusader lead to 48-18. The Bulldogs started the next drive from their 30 yard line and drove to the Faith Lutheran 33 yard line as the third period ended. The big play was a 17 yard run by Bowler and an interference call on the Crusaders.
The final period began with Aquirre being picked off by the Crusaders and the ball returned to the 47 yard line. The Bulldog defense forced the first four and out punt by the visitors. The punt went dead on the ‘Dawgs 17 yard line. Two runs of 26 and 15 yards by Bowler gave the Bulldogs a first and ten from the Crusaders 49 yard line. Aquirre and Leavitt ran for big first downs keeping the Bulldogs drive alive. A personal foul gave the ‘Dawgs a first on the 18 yard line. Aquirre hit Teerlink for the T.D. Leavitt ran for a two point conversion cutting the Crusader lead to 48-26. Both teams defenses took over and kept the score 48-26 in favor of Faith Lutheran. The Bulldogs managed a season high 240 yards on the ground but need to shore up their secondary play. “We didn’t play well and didn’t react to the ball. They set the game tempo. There receivers were bigger and stronger than our defensive backs. There Q.B. played well and I take the blame for being a little pass happy,” said Coach Sawyers. The Bulldogs season record fell to 3-1 and the Crusaders evened theirs at 2-2. The Crusaders lost big to Bulldog rivals Moapa Valley and Boulder City 54-19 and 41-22 respectively. The Bulldogs will face Chaparral big winners over El Dorado 52-14 next Friday before hosting Boulder City during home coming activities on September 28.