A small contingent of loyal football fans sat with umbrellas and ponchos at Rancho High School as the unrelenting rain came down in torrents, soaking the two football teams on the field.
On Friday, Pahrump Valley High School was one of the few teams to actually start its game, defeating Rancho 24-0 on the rushing by junior running back DeAngelo Brown, who had close to 74 yards and one touchdown.
“I have never seen this much rain come down for such a long period of time in Las Vegas,” said one soaking wet fan.
In the end, the game was called late in the second quarter due to lightning strikes that came close to the stadium, not the rain. The Trojans were not the only team to suffer from the downpour, nine other games were affected by the monsoonal rains (see box).
“There were very few teams that got to start because of the rain,” Trojans assistant coach Craig Rieger said. “We were lucky to play and I am just thankful that we got in a half. A lot of these teams didn’t get to start.”
The rules of the rain
“There is a thunder and lightning rule, where there is a 30-minute delay,” NIAA assistant director Donnie Nelson said. “Principals and athletic directors must think of safety first. Since the majority of the games were non-league games, they will not be rescheduled. There was only one game that was rescheduled because it was a league game and that was Legacy vs. Palo Verde and they resumed play on Monday.”
He added, “Referees in a rain situation do not have the power to call a winner. Only the coaches can come together and one coach has to concede. In Pahrump Valley and Rancho’s case, the coaches did just that and Pahrump was the winner.”
One lightning bolt struck the lightning rod on the top of the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino, which was 3.9 miles away. As soon as that happened, the game was canceled.
It took a while for both teams to get used to playing on the slippery turf in the deluge that lasted the entire game.
The Trojans (1-2 overall, Class 3A Sunset League) had some misfires and miscues as their offense sputtered in the first series.
“It took us a while to get focused,” Trojans head football coach Joe Clayton said. “The rain pretty much kept the ball on the ground for us but we were going to do that anyway.”
Senior Trojans defensive back Jacob Sawin said there was some confusion on the field.
“The ball was slippery on offense and it was hard to secure the handoffs,” he said. “And the snap count because of the rain and thunder was hard to hear.”
After the rough start, the Trojans offense went to work and they were able to run the ball the entire game.
“Once we got rolling, I was excited about our offensive line,” the coach said. “The line was getting off the line and coming off the ball well.”
Clayton said that his coaching staff also did their homework. The head coach of the Rams, Gary Maki, coached Del Sol last year.
“We were prepared for him,” Clayton said. “He defended us the same way he did when we played Del Sol and so the team studied film from Del Sol.”
The scores flooded in
Mid first quarter the Trojans started on their own 26-yard line after a punt by the Rams (0-2, Class 4A Northeast League).
Junior running back DeAngelo Brown on first down took the ball downfield for a 19-yard carry to midfield which gave the Trojans first and 10 on the 50.
Two Rams penalties and two runs later and the ball was on the 32-yard line. On second and three, Brown got the call again and took the ball 31 yards to the one-yard line. Senior Trojans quarterback Dylan Coffman then scored on a quarterback keeper to give the Trojans the first score. The Trojans went for two and got the conversion on a Coffman keeper and the score was 8-0. That was a seven-play drive for 74 yards that took 1:59 off the clock.
The Trojans defense went to work and Pahrump then held Rancho to a three-and-out which ended the first quarter.
According to Clayton, the Trojans had several sacks in the game.
“Defensively we worked on tackling, ball control and hitting our gaps better,” the coach said. “I wanted them to be more aggressive, which they were.”
Sawin said the practices helped the defense.
“We practiced all week on staying close to the line of scrimmage,” Sawin said. “And funneling the ball east and west instead of north and south. Our corners did a good job of forcing the ball to the outside.”
The Trojans got the ball on their 43-yard line after the Rancho punt, which gave them excellent field position.
The second score
On the third play of the drive, Coffman then showed his speed as he kept the ball for a 22-yard run to the 32 of the Rams. There was a personal foul on the play, which gave the Trojans first and 10 on the 17-yard line. Two plays later, Brown carried the ball over the left side for a seven-yard TD run. The Trojans scored another two-point conversion on a Coffman run to make the score 16-0.
“Things started clicking and we got our blocks,” Coffman said. “I was able to see the holes opening up in the lines for me and the running backs. On the one long run I had I really thought I was going to score.”
The drive was five plays for 54 yards.
The last score
Pahrump held the Rams again and after a short punt started on their 40-yard line.
Brown got the call again and carried the ball for a 15-yard gain to the Rancho 45-yard line.
Then on second down and four, the Trojans mixed it up a bit and gave the ball to senior running back Reese Sanholtz, who ran the ball for a 19-yard gain down the sideline to set up the third and final TD for the Trojans.
The Rams got called for a late hit on the play and this tacked on 15 more yards, which gave Pahrump first and goal on the 10-yard line.
On third and goal, Coffman went around the right tackle and strolled into the end zone. He then made another two-point conversion to give the Trojans a 24-0 lead.
Rancho then marched down the field on several personal foul calls on the Trojans and with 2:56 left in the half they had the ball first and 10 on the Trojans’ 18. And that is when the game was called due to the storm.
Contact sports editor Vern Hee at firstname.lastname@example.org