It took the Mojave football team nearly 16 minutes to get a first down on Friday. And on the very next play, the Rattlers fumbled.
It was that kind of night for Mojave.
Visiting Virgin Valley did all its damage in the first half and held the short-handed Rattlers to 78 yards of total offense during a 27-0 victory in the opening round of the Division I-A playoffs.
It was the first postseason win for the Bulldogs (8-2) since 2008 and sets up a semifinal matchup against rival Moapa Valley, the top seed from the Sunrise League and a 47-0 winner over Cheyenne. Moapa Valley defeated the Bulldogs 53-35 when they met Oct. 18 at Mesquite.
“If there’s ever a time to go up against them, this is it,” Virgin Valley coach Chris Sawyers said. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity. It should be a good football game.”
Garrett Leavitt completed 21 of 33 passed for 332 yards and three touchdowns and helped Virgin Valley open up a 20-0 lead after the first quarter.
Wide receiver DeVonte Milligan caught four passes for 141 yards and two scores. Dee Bowler added eight catches for 95 yards for the Bulldogs.
“I thought the game plan we put together this week was a good one,” Sawyers said. “Obviously, they were short-handed. It was nice for us to get on the kids they did have and put them away early. That was big for us.”
Mojave (6-4) was missing six starters due to disciplinary reasons, according to coach Joe Delgado, and struggled to move the ball all game. The Rattlers lost 24 yards after a high snap on their third play of the game, and their initial first down came on a 12-yard run by Ty Flanagan with 8:15 remaining in the second quarter.
Mojave finished the first half with 25 yards and the lone first down.
Flanagan ran for 60 yards on 11 carries, while backup quarterback Kharye Shine finished 4-for-12 for 23 yards. The Rattlers’ longest play was a 22-yard run by Shine midway through the fourth quarter.
“With the new quarterback in, we knew our passing game was going to be slim to none,” Delgado said. “We had to rely on the run, and being one-dimensional is obviously not how you win ballgames in the playoffs. Virgin Valley came out and played great.”
The Bulldogs needed less than three minutes to get on the scoreboard as Leavitt hit Dillon Graves for a 20-yard touchdown to cap an eight-play, 56-yard drive.
Junior Paongo, who finished with a game-high 74 yards rushing, made it 13-0 with 6:15 left in the first on a 3-yard run before Leavitt connected with Milligan down the seam for a 39-yard touchdown on fourth-and-11 with 1:57 to go in the quarter.
Milligan added his second TD when he caught a slant from Leavitt, shed one tackler and outran the Rattlers’ defense for a 78-yard score that made it 27-0 with 8:57 to play in the second quarter.
“We definitely had high hopes this season,” Delgado said. “We always shoot high for state, but with the predicament we were in, we knew it was going to be tough. The kids gave it their all. Unfortunately, tonight it wasn’t good enough.”
■ Faith Lutheran 62, Boulder City 7 — At Faith Lutheran, Mark Rubalcaba blocked a punt on Boulder City’s first drive, and Dylan DeFrank picked the ball up and scored on a 10-yard return to send the Crusaders on their way to a rout in the opening round of the Division I-A state playoffs.
Quarterback Jake Deaville connected on each of his first 10 passes, including scores of 63 yards to Vinny DeGeorge and 6 to Rubalcaba for Faith Lutheran (9-2). Keenan Smith rushed for a 1-yard TD — his first of four — midway through the second quarter to extend the Faith Lutheran lead to 28-0.
Trenton Carmell hit Austin Wishard on a 5-yard touchdown pass to draw Boulder City (4-6) within 28-7.
Right before halftime, Faith Lutheran took a knee to try to run out the clock, but the Eagles called timeout.
Deaville then hit George on a 72-yard touchdown pass.
DeGeorge finished with 242 yards on six catches. Deaville passed for 297, connecting on 13 of 15 attempts. Smith ran for 63 yards on 14 carries.
Sam Woodbury led Boulder City with 31 yards on nine carries.
■ Desert Pines 30, Clark 14 — At Desert Pines, quarterback Iquan Corsey ran for two touchdowns and passed for another to give the Jaguars a first-round Division I-A playoff win over the visiting Chargers.
The senior finished 7 of 12 passing for 31 yards and added 64 yards on the ground to keep the Jaguars perfect at home this season.
After a sluggish start from both sides, Desert Pines (9-1) got on the board first with a 1-yard run from Corsey just before the first quarter came to a close.
Clark (4-6) quickly responded at the beginning of the second, after a 50-yard kick return from Milan Dixon that put the Chargers in Desert Pines territory.
Quarterback Kareem Warren hooked up with Andre Turner on a 12-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-6.
Warren finished 7 of 18 passing for 88 yards, and had 56 more on the ground for Clark.
Desert Pines scored twice more before the half on a 12-yard run by Jon McCoy and a 4-yard touchdown reception by Malik Davis. The Jaguars led 20-6 at halftime.
Offensively, Desert Pines slowed down in the second half with Corsey having the only points in the third quarter on a 2-yard run.
The Jaguar defense recorded a safety in the fourth, and the Chargers scored the game’s last touchdown, a 1-yard run from Ty’Rek Wells.
Eric Wilkes finished with 11 carries on 78 yards, and Trevor Nofoa added 82 yards on nine carries for Desert Pines.
Milan Dixon finished with 13 carries and 80 yards for Clark.
■ Moapa Valley 47, Cheyenne 0 — At Overton, Zach Hymas tossed three touchdown passes, and the Pirates raced to a 21-0 first-quarter lead on their way to a rout of the Desert Shields in the opening round of the Division I-A state playoffs.
Hymas connected with Bunker Wimer on an 11-yard touchdown pass on the Pirates’ first possession. He added a 25-yard TD pass to Tyler Zobrist in the first quarter, and teammate Lance Hilton returned an interception 67 yards for a score to give Moapa Valley (10-0) a 21-0 lead.
Hymas, who was 9 of 11 for 122 yards, added a 17-yard TD pass to Jeremy Waite in the second quarter.
Kaleb Bodily, Andrew Huerta and Justin Gentry each tacked on a TD run for the Pirates, who will host arch-rival Virgin Valley next week.
“We executed pretty well,” Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said. “We thought we could do the things we wanted to do if we didn’t make mistakes.”
Deonte Pekins rushed for 51 yards for Cheyenne (2-8).