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Football: Virgin Valley shuts out Pahrump Valley in physical battle

Updated September 4, 2019 - 12:18 pm

On the surface, there wasn’t much good about Pahrump Valley’s 20-0 loss to Virgin Valley on Friday night in Mesquite.

The Trojans managed just 122 yards of total offense, barely one-third their total from the week before. They did not complete a pass, which, while not too unusual for a Joe Clayton team, seems more important in a game in which they were trailing since early in the second quarter. They were shut out despite getting called for fewer penalties and winning the turnover battle.

And yet, there is this:

“Overall we are absolutely happy,” the Pahrump Valley head coach said as his players watched film after a Monday morning practice. “Our boys played well, but Virgin Valley’s tough.”

The game was extremely physical, and the Trojans paid a price. Junior running back Anthony Margiotta came out early in the third quarter with what is thought to be a torn medial cruciate ligament; senior lineman Armani McGhee, who missed the opener against Lowry, went out with a possible dislocated knee; and sophomore Henry Amaya went out after taking a big hit as he was trying to make a catch over the middle.

“It was an illegal hit,” Clayton said. “I talked to the refs after the game, and they said they missed the call. I had to get it out of them, but they finally admitted that they missed the call. It was absolutely a defenseless receiver, he didn’t get a chance to take a step before he was hit.”

Clayton said the hit was clean and not helmet-to-helmet, but the 15 yards and the first down would have kept his team in the game. Instead, the Trojans had to punt on their first series of the fourth quarter, and a personal foul on the play left the Bulldogs near midfield.

While they turned over the ball two plays later, Pahrump Valley is not built to score 20 points in 11 minutes, although it has happened. The Bulldogs won because they were able to move the ball while the Trojans couldn’t. Virgin Valley racked up 220 yards on the ground on 22 carries, led by Wyatt Delano’s 9 carries for 111 yards.

It was Delano who set up the first score of the game, breaking off a 42-yard run on the first play of Virgin Valley’s second possession. He then ran for 13 yards on third-and-14, and, when the Bulldogs chose to go for it on fourth down, Delano burst over the left side for a 4-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead.

The hosts doubled that lead on their next possession, taking over on the Pahrump Valley 33 after an unsportsmanlike conduct call on a Trojans punt. A 4-yard loss on first down followed by an illegal block on Virgin Valley had the Pahrump Valley defense fired up, but sophomore quarterback Kyle Sudweeks, playing for the injured Meb Hollingshead, dumped off the ball to Delano, who raced 18 yards on second-and-18 from the Trojans’ 41.

Delano followed that up with a 20-yard run to the 3, and from there Sudweeks scored on a keeper to make it 12-0. Sudweeks had a strong game in his second start in place of Hollingshead, completing 9 of 12 passes for 90 yards and netting 39 yards and a touchdown on 4 carries.

Taking the ball to start the second half, the Bulldogs put together their best drive of the night. Overcoming two penalties, they reeled off five consecutive plays of 10 yards or more to march from their own 20 to the Trojans’ 15. Sudweeks then hit Tanner Fielding, who scampered to the Pahrump Valley 5 before getting stripped of the ball.

But the Trojans, backed up to their goal line after a holding call on first down, gave the ball right back on a fumble on the handoff from quarterback Dylan Wright to Neil Redmond. Coincidentally, it was Fielding who pounced on it in the end zone, and a successful conversion pass made it 20-0.

“We had the one mishap that occurred because we had people playing out of position,” Clayton explained. “Neil’s playing a spot he’s not normally playing. He had to go there because Tony went out.”

That the defense only gave up 12 of the Bulldogs’ 20 points after surrendering 46 the week earlier was the biggest reason Clayton was pleased with the Trojans’ effort.

“Giving up 12 points to a solid Virgin Valley team, we’re happy with that,” Clayton said. “Obviously, we weren’t happy offensively because we haven’t been shut out a whole lot. That was a little bit of an eye opener, but it was just so physical up front.”

That shouldn’t be a problem this week, as the Trojans travel to Chaparral High School to play SLAM Academy, a team in its first season playing a full league schedule. Boulder City, Coronado and an off week follow before Sunset League play begins Oct. 4 at Cheyenne.

For more coverage, see Trojans Football Notebook at pvtimes.com

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