With a Sunrise League title safely tucked away, the Virgin Valley High flag football team will embark on its quest for a state title beginning Thursday at home.
The Lady Bulldogs, who ran the table going 10-0 to win their second consecutive Sunrise crown, will host Sunrise Mountain (4-15 overall), the Sunset League fourth-place finisher, in a 3A South regional contest Thursday at 6 p.m. inside Evan Wilson Stadium.
Desert Pines (4-6 overall, Sunset No. 2) will square off against Tech (9-9 overall, Sunrise No. 3) at 4 p.m. also at Wilson Stadium. The two winners of Thursday’s doubleheader will meet in a state semifinal contest Tuesday at 6 p.m. with the highest seeded team hosting.
Thursday’s other regional contests will be played at Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas. Del Sol Academy (13-8, Sunrise No. 2) will meet Mojave (5-11, Sunset No. 3) with Cheyenne (13-4, Sunset No. 1) facing Boulder City (8-7, Sunrise No. 4).
The 3A state championship game will be played at Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas on Feb. 22 at 4 p.m.
Coach Joey Bowler’s team, which is 15-3 overall with all three losses coming to larger 4A schools, capped their perfect league season by defeating second-place Del Sol Academy, 33-20, Thursday night at Wilson Stadium.
Before the contest, the team honored its 11 graduating seniors who have been instrumental in helping stamp Virgin Valley as one of the top flag football programs in Southern Nevada.
Katie Zuniga rushed for 143 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns to lead the Lady Bulldogs while Nikita Eskelsen added 107 yards on 10 carries and two TDs.
After Del Sol Academy pulled even at 7-7 early in the second quarter, Eskelsen quickly put Virgin Valley back in front with a 60-yard touchdown sprint down the near sideline. On the Lady Bulldogs’ next possession, Zuniga ran 59 yards to the DSA one-yard line and followed with a one-yard run up the middle for a touchdown to increase the VVHS lead to 20-7.
Maddison Cheney had a solid game for Virgin Valley catching six passes from quarterback Kallie Graves for 79 yards and recording eight flag pulls on defense including two sacks.
The Lady Bulldogs, who fell to Cheyenne, 7-0, in last season’s state title game, have been focused on getting back to the championship game since leaving the field that chilly evening in North Las Vegas nearly one year ago.