The Virgin Valley High School football team came out of the chute firing on all cylinders before the defense had to step up and stop a determined Spring Valley team in the last period of the game on Friday, Sept. 23, for a 24-20 victory.

Prior to the game, Grizzly coach Marcus Teal said, “We need to shut down their running back (Jaden Perkins) to get a win.” The Grizzlies did shut down the Bulldog workhorse, but still gave up 134 yards on 34 carries to Perkins.

The Grizzlies won the opening toss and deferred to the second half, counting on their defensive scheme for the game. The Grizzlies surprised the Dawgs with an onside kick that a Bulldog was able to recover on their 40 yard line. Perkins carried two times between a Hogan Fowles incomplete pass forcing a punt to the Grizzlies 24 yard line.

The Grizzlies, mixing up their plays behind their quarterback K.C. Moore marched down the field to the the Bulldogs 25 yard line before Fowles stepped between a Moore pass and rambled 60 yards to the Grizzlies 35 yard line. It was Perkins’ time as he carried the ball nine straight times before a stacked Grizzly defense stopped the drive on the 3 yard line. Bulldog wide out Cesar Zarate hit a field goal to give the Dawgs a 3-0 first period advantage.

The Dawgs held the Grizzlies on their first possession of the second period forcing a punt. Facing a third and long, Fowles hit Zarate across the middle for 12 yards and a Bulldog first down on the Grizzlies 47 yard line. Fowles hit Zarate on the same pattern for 11 more yards giving the Dawgs another first on the 36 yard line. Perkins rolled for five yards before Fowles’ pinpoint 31 yard strike to a diving Jarrett Tietjen gave the Dawgs six points. Zarate’s point after was good and a 10-0 lead for the Bulldogs with 9:26 left in the period.

The Bulldogs defense stepped up giving them possession on their 34 yard line. The Dawgs struck quickly on a 30 yard reception to Zarate. Fowles went 7 yards on a keeper plus a penalty gave the Dawgs a first down on the Grizzlies 14 yard line. Perkins took it the rest of the way with a bruising run around the left side for the T.D. Zarate’s kick was good and a 17-0 lead for the Bulldogs.

The Grizzlies were not dead as they marched down the field behind Moore’s passing and running to score with 1:02 remaining in the first half. Moore’s P.A.T. was good cutting the Dawgs lead to 17-7.

The Bulldogs forced a Grizzly punt on the opening possession of the second half. The Dawgs proceeded to march down the field behind Perkins running, Fowles passing plus a pass interference call on the Grizzlies setting up a Bulldog first down on the 11 yard line. Fowles took it the rest of the way on a keeper upping the Dawgs lead to 24-7 to the delight of the homecoming crowd. The Grizzlies were not done scoring, quickly cutting the Dawgs lead to 24-14. The third period ended with the Grizzlies once again on the march.

The Grizzlies scored early on a Moore pass and PAT cutting the Dawgs lead to 24-20 with 10:24 remaining in the game. It was crunch time for the Bulldog defense as they faced a determined Grizzly offense. The Dawgs bent but did not break as Tietjen made a huge fourth down stop giving the Dawgs possession.

The Dawgs offense sputtered once again giving the Grizzlies another opportunity on their 34 yard line. A bad snap over Moore’s head was recovered by Brayton Hampstead on the 45 yard line. Two Bulldog penalties back-to-back forced a Zarate punt. Zarate nailed a 51 yard bomb to the Grizzlies 12 yard line with 1:15 remaining on the clock.

Moore brought a groan from the Bulldog faithful hitting a streaking Marquelle Diggs for 44 yards and a Grizzly first down on the Bulldogs 35 yard line. Two Moore completions netted 5 yards plus a Moore keeper for one set up a fourth down and four from the Bulldog thirty with less than a minute remaining. Moore, trying to do it all, kept the ball on a keeper but was crushed by a huge hit from Bulldog defensive lineman Jaden Dalton short of the first down marker. It was jubilation time for the Dawgs and their fans as they ran out the clock and got a 24-20 Bulldog victory.

“I almost had a heart attack those last few minutes,” said a smiling Bulldog head coach Yori Ludvigson after the game. “We are glad for the win going into league play. We came out strong but stumbled a little making a few mistakes. We got a little sloppy with penalties but our effort was good. It was a good prep for Moapa Valley next week.”

The Dawgs begin league play Sept. 30 against archrival Moapa Valley. The Pirates shut out Boulder City 37-0 in their league opener Friday evening.