Host Virgin Valley High and Las Vegas engaged in a shootout to open the prep flag football season Monday night at Evan Wilson Stadium.
When the scoring stopped, the Lady Bulldogs found themselves on the short end of a wild 44-42 decision to the visiting Lady Wildcats.
Virgin Valley didn’t have much time to dwell on the defeat as it was back on the playing field less than 24 hours later Tuesday at Legacy High School in North Las Vegas. The Lady Bulldogs prevailed, 21-7, to even its record at 1-1.
“I thought our offense played really well against Las Vegas,” coach Joey Bowler said. “We played a lot better defensively against Legacy and our running backs played well.”
Monday’s contest, which featured a combined 930 yards of total offense, was one of those games that came down to which team had the ball last.
After holding the Lady Wildcats on fourth and short on a great defensive stop by Mackenzie Leishman, the Lady Bulldogs had one last chance – down two with 22 seconds remaining and no time outs at the Las Vegas 38-yard line.
Virgin Valley quarterback Kallie Graves found Leishman for 21 yards to the Las Vegas 21. With the clock ticking down the final seconds, Graves rolled right and fired a pass into the end zone where it was batted around before falling to the ground incomplete as time ran out.
The Lady Wildcats set the tone early by scoring on their first possession with junior quarterback Kaitlyn Horstdaniel throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass to senior Natalie Gennuso, who made a leaping grab in the end zone.
The Lady Bulldogs came right back on their next possession to score on four-yard run by Graves, who then completed a pass to Katie Zuniga for the conversion top put VVHS up 7-6.
Las Vegas regained the lead, 12-7, when Horstdaniel connected with Gennuso for 19 yards and a touchdown.
Virgin Valley responded with Graves completing a 23-yard scoring pass to Leishman putting the Lady Bulldogs back in front, 13-12, with 46 seconds remaining in the half.
The Lady Wildcats used three plays to score on the final play of the half on a 31-yard pass from Horstdaniel to sophomore Morgan Adamson to give Las Vegas a 19-13 halftime advantage.
Horstdaniel threw touchdown passes of 22 and 50 yards to Gennuso and 52 and 10 yards to Adamson in the second half that offset two six-yard scoring runs by Zuniga and a 20-yard TD run by Emily Teerlink that left the Lady Wildcats up 44-34 with two minutes remaining.
Graves’ nine-yard scoring run and two-point conversion pass to Madison Cheney cut the margin to 44-42 with 45 seconds to play.
Graves completed 14-of-25 passes for 188 yards and rushed for 86 yards on 12 carries to lead the Lady Bulldogs. Cheney was the leading receiver with four catches for 41 yards. Teerlink was the top rusher with 88 yards on nine carries with sophomore Nikita Eskelsen adding 62 yards on six carries.
Horstdaniel completed 26-of-31 passes for 421 yards and seven touchdowns for the Lady Wildcats with Gennuso grabbing eight passes for 160 yards and Adamson eight for 146 yards.
“Horstdaniel may be the best quarterback we see all season,” Bowler said.
Against Legacy, Graves threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Cheney and scored on a five-yard run while Zuniga added a 15-yard TD run to guide the Lady Bulldogs to victory.
Zuniga rushed for 65 yards on eight carries while Graves added 61 on eight tries.
Cheney led the way defensively with seven flag pulls while Leishman and Markell Ludvigson had six each.