As expected, the Western High School football team proved no match for Pahrump Valley, as the Trojans became the fourth team this season to post 60 points on the Warriors in a 66-0 romp Friday night at Trojan Field.
As wasn’t expected, the Trojans used the rout to show off their passing game, something likely to send a few shivers down the spine of potential playoff opponents watching game films.
Also unexpected was, at the same time as the Trojans’ glorified scrimmage, Del Sol bouncing back from its 27-14 loss to Pahrump Valley in a big way, throttling Valley 46-6. The Vikings’ defeat, coupled with the Trojans’ victory, clinched the Class 3A Sunset League title for the Trojans, making Friday night’s anticipated showdown at Valley virtually meaningless.
And that might be the only negative surrounding Pahrump Valley football, an overmatched opponent followed by a game they don’t need to win followed by a bye week heading into the playoffs.
“It’s kind of nice, but yet at the same time I don’t like that,” Pahrump Valley coach Joe Clayton said. “I don’t like losing that edge, especially with a bye after Valley.”
Then again, if the practices leading up to a game against a foe as weak as Western are any indication, Clayton might not have to worry much.
“This week of preparation going into Western was probably one of the best weeks of practices we’ve had all season,” he said. “We went in it with the mindset as a staff that we’re going to come out and right away Monday just establish that we’re not backing off. We’re going to work really hard.
“They didn’t necessarily know it was us preparing for the weeks to follow, but we wanted them to know we’re not going to take a week off because we’re playing a weaker opponent. That was definitely important to us.”
For the record, the Trojans scored on six of their eight possessions, failing to net points only when running out the clock in each half. The rest of the points came without a possession, as Pahrump Valley scored on a punt return, an interception return, a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown and a safety.
“That was tough in the sense that I’ve been on the other end of that,” Clayton said. “It’s not fun. We by no means wanted to run the score up. We got everybody playing time, and even our younger guys and more inexperienced guys were having success.
“What we can’t have is them not playing hard because of the scoreboard and then somebody getting hurt because of not giving full effort. That was our big concern.”
The highlights included back-to-back drives in which the Trojans didn’t run once. Quarterback Dylan Wright completed 4 of 8 passes for 114 yards on those drives, with Casey Flennory taking a screen pass 22 yards for one score and Wright finding Willie Lucas over the middle for a 36-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-10 play.
The Trojans flashed a four-receiver formation, and Wright hit each of them once on those drives. The longest was a 39-yarder to Dylan Grossell that set up Flennory’s score. The fourth was for 17 yards to Nico Velazquez, who rushed for 105 yards on just eight carries, including touchdowns of 14 and 24 yards in the first quarter.
“We had a game plan that if we got up on them we would practice our passing game,” Clayton said. “It would be about as good a practice as you could possibly get.”
Velazquez didn’t touch the ball after halftime, but few Trojans did. With a running clock, Pahrump Valley ran just three offensive plays in the second half, including a 22-yard touchdown run by Antonio Margiotta and one snap in victory formation to close it out.
Junior Donnie Miller picked off a pass and returned it 36 yards for a score, Lucas returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown, and Jacob Buys blocked a punt that was recovered by Grossell in the end zone for another score. The safety came after a mishandled snap on a punt attempt. The Trojans’ other touchdown came on a 4-yard run by Joey Koenig.
Pahrump Valley closes out the regular season Friday at Valley, then will have a week off before a home playoff game against an opponent to be determined.
For more coverage, see the Trojans Football Notebook at pvtimes.com