The final score of the ‘Battle of the Valleys’, Pirates 35 Bulldogs 7 was not indicative of a hard-fought game. The Bulldogs trailed by only 7-0 with seconds remaining in the first half of play despite five interceptions, one being called back and other mental errors. The Bulldogs attempted a few trick plays to keep the Pirates off guard but could not capitalize on them. The Bulldogs attempted to control the clock and keeping momentum on their side worked to a point but the defense fell guilty to mental lapses and allowed Moapa Valley to score on long plays. The Bulldogs had no answer for Pirate receiver Cole Murdock who got behind the Bulldog defense to the tune of 198 yards on only 8 receptions for two touchdowns and 24.75 yards per catch average.
The game began with a surprise onside kick by Marcello Lara that failed giving the Pirates good field position on the Dawgs’ 49 yard line. The Bulldogs held forcing a Pirate kick which went for only 11 yards to the Bulldogs 38 yard line. The Bulldogs went four and out with their punt traveling 19 yards giving the Pirates a first and ten from the Pirate 41 yard line. The Dawgs’ defense stiffened, aided by a penalty forcing the Pirates to the air on third and fifteen. Murdock got wide open behind the Bulldog pass defense for a 65 yard touchdown from Pirate Q.B. Zach Hymas and a 7-0 Pirate lead. The Bulldogs, facing a fourth and ten on their next possession from their 45 yard line, faked a punt with Cody Faught hitting Nick Cox for 24 yards and a Dawg first down on the Pirates 34 yard line. The Dawgs went to the air on third down and were intercepted by the Pirates on the Moapa 19 yard line stopping a good Bulldog drive. The Pirates rode Kaleb Boddily’s back to a first and ten on the Dawgs 25 yard line as time expired in the first period.
Dawg Keegan Biasi’s sack of Hymas forced the Pirates to pass on fourth down. Hymas’ pass went wide and the Bulldogs took over on their 38 yard line. The Pirates would intercept the Dawgs’ pass but were called for a personal foul giving the Dawgs a first down on their 47 yard line. An apparent interference call on the Pirates was not called, brought loud boos from the Bulldog faithful. Faught’s next pass was intercepted on the Pirates 13 yard line stopping another Bulldog drive. The Pirates drove to the Bulldogs 22 yard line but were stopped again by the Bulldog defense with 3:34 remaining on the first half clock. Junior Paongo would give the Dawgs a first down on an 11 yard run to their 33 yard line. Faught would be intercepted again by the Pirates on the Dawgs 30 yard line. The Bulldog defense dug in forcing a fourth and 7 from the 17 yard line. The Pirates completed a pass to the Dawgs 2 yard line as a Bulldog defender stumbled. Boddily would take it in with 34 seconds remaining to give the Pirates a 14-0 lead with 28 seconds left in the half. The Bulldogs would not back down as Paongo ran for two before a Pirate stepped in front of a Bulldog pass for the fifth interception of the half. The Pirate was stopped on a saving tackle on the three yard line as time ran out.
Paongo took the second half opening kickoff from the 10 yard line to the Dawgs 35 yard marker. A delay of game penalty and three plays resulted in the sixth interception by the Pirates giving them a first on the Dawgs 23 yard line. The Bulldogs would take over on downs as they held the Pirates to negative yards on the possession. The Bulldogs would mount their best drive of the game behind the running of Paongo. Paongo would get the last 12 yards for the Dawgs cutting the Pirates lead to 14-7. The Pirates would counter quickly on a 31 yard strike to Murdock over a Bulldog defender who bit on a Q.B. fake making the score 21-7 Pirates. The third period ended with the Dawgs on their 40 yard line.
The Pirates would hold and drove to the Bulldogs four yard line behind a Murdoch reception of 57 yards. Boddily would finish the drive giving the Pirates a 28-7 lead. The Pirates would add another score making it 35-7 Pirates. The Dawgs drove down to the Pirates 22 yard line behind a pass to Cox for 28 yards and a Jarron Linge keeper for 26 more yards. The drive ended on a bad snap and fumble recovery by the Pirates. The Pirates record went to 4-0 in conference play well the Dawgs fell to 1-3. Paongo led the Dawgs with 80 yards on the ground. “Our defense played well and I’m proud of our kids,” said Bulldog Coach Yori Ludvigson. “We still control our own destiny if we can win our next two games. Paongo, Mitchell, Faught and Biasi played although hurt. Just too many mistakes,” added Ludvigson. The Bulldogs face Chaparral in a homecoming game this Friday before finishing league play against Boulder City at Boulder on October 24. The Dawgs need two wins to have a chance for the playoffs.