February 24, 2014 - 10:56 pm
Trailing by one point and needing to 60 yards with just two minutes to play Monday, there was no question who would be getting the ball for Cimarron-Memorial’s flag football team.
Both coaches, players and even many fans were certain the Spartans would put their Sunset Region title hopes in the hands of quarterback Jaymee Luke.
Everyone knew. And yet no one could stop her.
The junior quarterback carried five times for 60 yards on the clinching drive and lifted the Spartans to a 32-27 win over Centennial in the Sunset final at Arbor View. Cimarron (18-3) will meet Sunrise Region champion Green Valley (17-4) in the Clark County School District championship game at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Arbor View.
“It’s no secret,” Cimarron coach Mark Bailey said. “We give the ball to Jaymee and magic happens. Nobody has her ability to move away from pursuing defenders. Her speed is better than anybody that I’ve ever seen in a female athlete. They just can’t pull her flag.”
Luke’s 4-yard TD run capped a seven-play drive.
“I wasn’t planning on running it,” Luke said. “We were going to score either way, whether someone got open or I did run it.”
Centennial (17-4) took a 27-26 lead on Zshalyn Canfield’s 20-yard TD pass to Taylor Reeves and Tiana Bonds’ extra-point catch before Luke and the Spartans countered.
After Luke’s TD, Centennial still had 28 seconds to drive 60 yards. The Bulldogs ran out of time at Cimarron’s 19-yard line.
Luke, who accounted for 709 total yards and 10 TDs in Cimarron’s two playoff wins last week, completed 9 of 19 passes for 128 yards and 2 TDs and added 281 yards rushing and three scores against the Bulldogs.
“I’m so happy,” Luke said. “I wanted this one more than any other win. This is our top competitor. We came in first and second (in the Southwest League), so this was our hardest game. I’m glad we came out with a win. Can’t wait for tomorrow.”
Tiana Bonds led Centennial with 98 yards receving, 72 yards rushing, and two touchdowns.
Whitley Beattie added 16 carries for 136 yards for the Bulldogs, and teammate Taylor Reeves had two receptions for 28 yards and a TD.
Green Valley 18, Boulder City 13 — Morgan Gibson threw two touchdown passes and ran for another TD as the Gators handed the Eagles their only loss of the season in the Sunrise final.
Gibson’s 65-yard TD pass to Tamera Grieves gave Green Valley its first lead with just 2:22 to go in the game. The Gators then held Boulder City on a fourth-and-9 at their Eagles’ 9-yard line to seal the victory.
“I know exactly how they feel because that was us last year. We had won 20 games, lost none, and lost in the semis,” said Green Valley coach Jason Clark, whose team fell to Silverado in the region semifinals last year. “It feels amazing to finally get over that hurdle.
“These girls have worked so hard. They’ve built this program. We’ve won 38 out of our 42 games, and it’s all a testament to their hard work. It’s all about them.”
Boulder City got on the board first as Jeanne Carmell hit Mackenzie Pluta on a 2-yard TD pass with 20:15 left in the opening half. Carmell ran in the extra point to make it 7-0.
Just before halftime, Green Valley responded when Gibson hit Jackie Cook on a 6-yard TD pass. The failed extra point allowed Boulder City a 7-6 lead at the break.
Gibson completed 10 of 16 passes for 174 yards and had a 1-yard TD run.
“Morgan’s been our go-to,” Clark said. “She’s prepared for every game. We go when she goes. When she thrives, we play well.”
Carmell also had a 1-yard TD run in the second half for Boulder City.