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Football: Trojans defense leads upset of Chaparral

Chaparral was the biggest challenge to date this season for Trojans coach Joe Clayton, facing an offense that had 917 passing yards in three games. His team knew they had to put pressure on the Cowboys quarterback, and the defense didn’t let them him down.

The defense came through with flying colors on Friday, stopping the Cowboys cold for a 28-21 win.

The Pahrump Valley defense disrupted the Cowboys quarterback’s rhythm the whole game, causing five punts, a fumble, two interceptions and a sack.

“Our plan was to man up on Kentrell Petite (Chaparral receiver),” Trojans coach Joe Clayton said. “We knew that he was their stud. He had 200-something yards against Basic. Our plan was to shut him down. He was going to get double-teamed all night. That plan worked and he didn’t get the ball at all and couldn’t make any big plays. I told our coaching staff that this is our best defense, arguably the best defense Pahrump has ever seen.”

In the first half, the Trojans limited the Cowboys to just 79-yards passing, which was their entire offense and then 53 total offensive yards unofficially in the second half.

Pahrump started the game with an interception, but couldn’t do anything with it. Then the Cowboys got the ball for the first time and the Trojans defense caused Chaparral to punt from their 26, giving Pahrump the ball with excellent field position on their 40-yard line.

Keeping the ball on the ground, the Trojans ran 11 run plays, driving 60 yards for the touchdown. Aaron Fuentes had a 15-yard TD run.

The Cowboys retaliated on their next possession with a 33-yard pass reception for the tie.

The Trojans (3-1 overall, Sunset League) defense stopped Chaparral two times in a row, forcing two punts in the second quarter. Pahrump tried to get their offense going and had good field position, starting their drive on the 40 only to stall due to a Cowboy sack.

Chaparral got the ball back with just a minute to go in the half. Their QB, Santiago Vialpando, was driving the ball and was on the Trojans’ 42-yard line when he threw a completed pass to the Trojans’ 32-yard line, but the receiver fumbled the ball and Nico Velazquez ran it back for 70 yards and a TD.

The Trojans took a 14-7 lead to the locker room at the half.

Pahrump started the second half with the ball and had a first down on the 42-yard line when the ball was stripped from a Trojans running back. The Cowboys got the ball in Trojans territory on the 48-yard line. It took four plays for the Cowboys to score to tie the game.

Disaster hit the Trojans on the ensuing drive. On the third play of the drive, Trojans quarterback Parker Hart was intercepted for a pick-six, giving Chaparral the lead, 21-14, with four minutes and 14 seconds to go in the third.

The Trojans then ran 16 plays, starting on their 25-yard line, driving the ball to the Cowboys’ 18-yard line and the Trojans decided to go for it on fourth and three. The Cowboy defense held and they took over on downs on their own 16. Although the Trojans didn’t score, they ran close to 10 minutes off the clock. Chaparral got the ball with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Two Chaparral penalties kept the Cowboys (2-2) from doing much with the ball. It backed them up to their seven-yard line and this led to a Cowboy punt, which was blocked by their own man.

“The blocker for the punter stepped in front of the punter at the last moment,” Trojans assistant coach Craig Rieger said. “He punted it into his own teammate. Jeremy Albertson (Trojans defensive lineman) recovered the block for a touchdown.”

On their next drive, the Trojans defense held Chaparral to a three-and-out.

Pahrump took over on their 25-yard line. Two plays later on first and 10, Hart lobbed a pass to Jesse Dillon, who got the ball midfield and ran it in for a TD and the lead, 28-21.

Chaparral received the kick and started on their 20-yard line with 4:45 to go in the game and still plenty of time to get back into the game.

The Trojans defense again caused a three-and-out and took over on their 38 with 3:35 to go.

Pahrump ran the ball five times to run over 1:30 off the clock and Chaparral got the ball back with 1:52 left. On the first play, Vialpando threw an interception to Case Murphy and the game was over.

Clayton was excited to win the game. He said the Cowboys could be the number one or two team in the Sunrise League.

“I told the boys that was the best football game I have ever coached,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Jesse Dillon, a defensive corner, was responsible for the coverage on Petite during the game.

“We have a good group of guys who have been playing together since the sixth grade,” he said. “Coming into high school we know where everyone is going to be. It is all chemistry. Everyone knows their job and we all put 100 percent forward.”

Dillon also caught a 70-yard reception that led to a score.

“That felt good,” Dillon said. “I thought I was going to score; I am not going to lie. It was close.”

Trojans open league play at Class 3A favorite Desert Pines (3-1) on Friday at 7 p.m.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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