After dominating the Clark High School Chargers for most of Friday night’s season opener, the Virgin Valley High School Bulldogs hung on for life to pull out a hard earned victory 28-20. Coach Matt Woods plan to play hard-nosed in your face football worked perfectly until the last six minutes of the game. The Bulldogs behind the running of Wyatt Delano, Tanner Fielding and quarterback Mebs Hollingshead controlled the ball rushing for 257 yards for the evening. Hollingshead added 102 yards on 8-11 including a touch down through the air.
Clark received the opening kickoff and marched down the field before the Bulldog defense stiffened and knocked down a fourth and short pass. The Dawgs running game drove the ball to the Chargers 25 yard line before an inopportune fumbled stop the time consuming drive. The Bulldog defense forced the Chargers to punt on their next possession. The first period ended with the Bulldogs on the move. Delano and Hollingshead shared the load as the Dawgs drove to the Chargers 10 yard line before Hollingshead scored on a keeper to give the Dawgs a 6-0 lead at the 10:32 mark of the second period. The point after kick failed. The teams battled evenly for most of the second period until the Dawgs defense blocked a Charger punt in the end zone for an apparent touchdown, but the Dawgs were penalized for having a twelfth man on the field giving the Chargers room to punt the ball. A short kick set up a final opportunity for the Dawgs with less than a minute remaining in the half. The Dawgs called time out with 33.7 seconds remaining in the half. Hollingshead broke free from a tackle and threw a bullet to the right corner of the end zone to a diving David Shane-Carson who made the catch putting the Dawgs up 12-0. Fielding ran in the 2 point attempt to end the half with the Dawgs up 14-0.
The Dawgs rushing attack continued to begin the second half of play. Fielding scored on a gallop through the Chargers for 28 yards. Fielding completed the two point conversion with a dive up the middle giving the Bulldogs a seemingly insurmountable 22-0 lead with 3:23 remaining in the third period. The Chargers would have none of that as they scored 17 second later on a 30 yard pass cutting the Bulldogs lead to 22-6 after three periods of play. The Bulldogs retaliated running the ball to the two yard line before Delano finished it off bulldozing his way up the middle to make the score 28-6. The Chargers would not go away as they took advantage of a Bulldog penalty on fourth and long to keep their march going and scored on a 20 yard pass into the end zone. The two point conversion was good cutting the Dawgs lead to 28-14. The Chargers defense forced a four and out for the Dawgs giving the Chargers another opportunity with 1:52 remaining in the game. The Charges only needed three plays to go 68 yards for a T.D. cutting the Bulldogs lead to 28-20 with 31.5 seconds remaining. Everyone in the stadium including the Bulldogs new an onside kick from the Chargers was coming. It came and the Chargers recovered but it was negated by a Charger penalty. The proceeding kick was recovered by the Dawgs but that too was negated by a penalty. The Chargers recovered the third onside kick attempt with 27.5 on the clock. The Bulldog faithful were stunned as the Chargers hit a 35 yard pass to the Bulldogs 16 yard line. An offside penalty moved the ball to the 11 yard line with 10.9 seconds on the clock. Three straight incomplete passes brought a huge roar from the hometown crowd. The Bulldogs ran away with a 28-20 victory to begin the 2018 season. After the game, Coach Matt Woods said,” We need to finish the game. Two communication mistakes on the long passes from our defense almost cost us the game. We can never let down when we are ahead. One thing about this game is you face a different defense almost every week. We go to Pahrump next week to face a strong double wing offense. I think we played well on both sides of the ball except for the miscommunications.” The Bulldogs travel to Pahrump on August 24 before returning home to face Del Sol on August 31.