The improbable run by the Virgin Valley High flag football team came to an end against top seed Del Sol Academy in the Nevada 3A State title game Monday afternoon in Las Vegas.
The Lady Bulldogs, who returned just three starters from last year’s state runner-up team and was in a supposedly rebuilding year, came up short dropping a 19-6 decision at the hands of the Lady Dragons at Cimarron-Memorial’s Spartan Stadium.
Virgin Valley finished its “rebuilding year” at 20-4 overall with three of those losses coming to Del Sol Academy, which also finished 20-4.
“I’m really proud of our girls to get where we’re at,” coach Joey Bowler said following the game. “No one expected us to be here.”
Virgin Valley, the top rushing team in 3A this season, was stymied by the Del Sol Academy defense. The Lady Bulldogs were held to just 75 yards on 20 attempts.
“Del Sol is quick and athletic,” Bowler said. “Their experience made a big difference.”
The Lady Dragons scored on their first possession to take an early 6-0 lead and then increased their advantage to 12-0 midway through the second quarter.
Virgin Valley responded when junior quarterback Ally Wright completed a short pass over the middle to senior Macy Bundy who sprinted 55 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 12-6.
After getting a defensive stop, the Lady Bulldogs drove deep into Del Sol Academy territory and appeared to be on the verge of evening things up. But, the Lady Dragons thwarted the drive with an interception at the VVHS five-yard line late in the half.
Del Sol Academy then marched 75 yards to score a back-breaking touchdown with seconds remaining on the first half clock. Instead of possibly being tied, the Lady Bulldogs found themselves down 19-6 at halftime.
“Missed opportunities hurt us,” Bowler said. “That was a big one.”
Defensively, senior Julia Ramirez and Bundy led Virgin Valley with eight flag pulls apiece with junior Nataly Serna getting seven. Bundy also had two tipped passes while sophomore Alley Shaner recorded two sacks.
Virgin Valley, which has played in three consecutive state championship games, will graduate five seniors – three starters – this year. Add the fact that both the junior varsity and freshmen teams both went 21-1 this season; the program appears set for years to come.
“We’ve got some really good talent coming up,” Bowler said. “The future looks bright.”