The Virgin Valley High School Bulldog football team traveled to Las Vegas Thursday night, Sep. 24 to meet an underdog Sunrise High School Miners team in a regionally televised football game. The Dawgs left Las Vegas with a stinging 22-21 loss which was reminiscent of the loss to Del Sol last season.
As in 2014, the Dawgs were on a roll, but fell to the Dragons which complicated the Dawgs ride for a birth in the playoffs. Thursday’s matchup included critical mistakes and bounces of the ball which infected both teams.
The Bulldogs kicked off to the Miners to start the game. The Dawgs forced a four and out on the Miners first possession. The Dawgs began their first possession on their 44 yard line. Cody Jones ripped off runs of 12 and 5 yards. A flag flew, one of many for the evening, and the Dawgs were assessed a 10 yard penalty setting up third and long. A run and a high incomplete pass gave the ball back to the Miners on their 28 yard line.
The Miners ripped off four first downs on their way to the Dawgs 28 yard line. The Dawgs held once again taking possession on their 20 yard line. A mix of passes and runs set the Dawgs up with a first down on the Miners five yard line as time ran out ending the first period with the score 0-0.
Two runs set up Bulldog quarterback Hogan Fowles’ keeper to give the Dawgs the lead. Cesar Zarate hit the point after giving the Dawgs a 7-0 advantage.
The Miners began their first possession of the period on their 32 yard line and proceeded to march down field, helped by two penalties scoring on a 10 yard pass to the Dawgs right side making the score 7-6. The point after try might have been the most critical play of the game as the Miners P.A.T sailed left no good. But the kicker was crushed by a Bulldog linebacker causing a roughing the kicker penalty.
The kicker was helped to the sideline as the Miners had another chance on the extra point. The Miners quarterback took advantage of the Dawg miscue running off tackle for two points and an 8-7 Miners advantage. Neither team mounted another drive as the first half ended. “We had very little execution in the first half, no big plays. We need to play some football,” said Bulldog Coach Yori Ludvigson when interviewed at halftime by T.V. personnel.
The Bulldogs could not mount a sustained attack in the third period except for an attempted field goal from the Miners 37 yard line which sailed right. Penalty flags flew from defensive holding to 12 men on the field which hampered the Dawgs offense. Bulldog Josh Bishop brought the Dawg fans to their feet taking a Miners punt for a T.D. on a nifty 50 yard run.
But the all-glaring yellow flag was on the field negating the T.D. The Dawgs were stopped, forcing a fourth down from their side of the field. The Dawgs chose not to kick and the preceding pass was knocked down giving the Miners great field position. A penalty on the Miners set up a 55 yard run by the Miners. Bulldog Kai Mitchell made a huge come from behind tackle to save the T.D. A quarterback keeper finished the drive giving the Miners a 14-7 lead. The Miners attempted two point conversion was stopped by the Dawgs.
The Dawgs behind the running of Q.B. Tony Urias, replacing Fowles who was sidelined with an injury, blasted to the Miners 10 yard line to begin the last period. The drive ended on a handoff miscue giving the ball to the Miners.
The Dawgs had another opportunity to score on their next possession but a great catch and 25 yard run by receiver Jarret Tietjen fell short by a yard giving the ball to the Miners. The Bulldog defense, led by Chase Henderson, Jairo Vallejo, Jacob Ruvalcaba and Arden Bundy made a huge stop on fourth and one to keep the Bulldogs hopes alive, setting up an unbelievable finish to the game.
The Miners made their biggest mistake of the game with less than two minutes remaining. Faced with a third and five yards, Miners coach Chris Sawyers called a pass play instead of a run. The Miners pass was picked off by Josh Bishop with 1:25 remaining on the clock. Enter the injured Hogan Fowles who gets dropped for a six yard sack. Not to be denied, Fowles hits Jarron Linge for 23 yards and Nick Cox for the final 18 yards and the touchdown. Zarate’s extra point was good tying the game up 14-14.
The Dawgs got the ball in the overtime period from the Miners 10 yard line. A run by Jones set up a one yard T.D. by Fowles giving the Dawgs a 20-14 lead. Zarate’s extra point kick was good.
The Miners stepped up scoring a T.D. on a high 9 yard to the Dawgs right side. As mentioned before, the Miners were without their kicker who was injured and so chose to go for it all. The two point pass was high but pulled down despite defensive pressure for two points and the game.
The loss dropped the Bulldogs league record to 1-1. The Dawgs host power houses, Desert Pines and Moapa Valley back to back in two crucial games Oct. 2 and Oct. 9.