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I-A FOOTBALL: Mountain Lions dominate on defense to top Cowboys

If defense wins championships, Sierra Vista made a powerful statement Thursday in the first round of the Division I-A playoffs.

The Mountain Lions intercepted three passes, forced a safety and sacked Chaparral quarterback Jerome Williamson twice, while holding the Cowboys to just 60 yards of total offense, in a dominating 30-7 home victory.

“I’m really proud of our defense,” Sierra Vista head coach John Foss said. “That was one of our best defensive efforts of the year.

“We knew their quarterback was really dangerous, and they have some good receivers. We did a good job tonight of covering them, for the most part. We just tried to get pressure on the quarterback and keep him in the pocket.”

It was the first playoff win in school history for the Mountain Lions (7-3), who travel to Overton to face Sunrise League champion Moapa Valley (10-0) in the second round of the playoffs next week.

“(This playoff win) is such as big influence for the school,” senior Maliek Broady said. “The whole season just boosted up overall school spirit and its great to see.”

The game was the first playoff appearance for Sierra Vista since 2008, and the first for Chaparral since 2007, and nerves struck both teams early on, resulting in multiple turnovers.

Sierra Vista finally got on track with 11 minutes, 32 seconds left in the second quarter when Maliek Broady broke free on a 60-yard touchdown run to give the Mountain Lions a 7-0 lead. The score stood at halftime.

Broady finished with 105 yards rushing on 17 carries and added one reception for 41 yards.

“Without the offensive line I couldn’t have got that,” Broady said. “They opened the hole, and it was just me and the safety one-on-one. I felt more than enough confidence to win that match-up. The line put me in great position all game. They also opened up some big holes for (Andrew) Peterson. It was a big team effort, and we’re glad we can use this momentum to go to the next game.”

Oscar Aliago connected with Andrew Peterson on a 54-yard touchdown pass in the third to go up 14-0 with 8:47 left. The play turned out to be damaging for Chaparral (5-5) as standout Richard Nelson was ejected for a late hit. Nelson was the Cowboys’ leading rusher on the night with 28 yards on eight carries.

The personal-foul penalty was enforced on the kickoff, and the Lions recovered the onside kick. Five plays later, Peterson scored on a 15-yard run to push the Lions lead to 21-0.

The Cowboys took advantage of two personal fouls on the ensuing possession and scored on a 19-yard run by Williamson to cut the deficit to 21-7 with 6:45 to go in the third.

But then Williamson had a shotgun snap sail over his head into the end zone for a safety with 0:10 left in the third as Sierra Vista took a commanding 23-7 lead into the fourth quarter. Daniel Godfrey capped the scoring on a 5-yard run in the fourth to give the Mountain Lions the final score.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” Foss said. “They’ve really generated a lot of excitement at this school. We’re just excited to get this first win, and we hope to keep coming out and playing well.”

Faith Lutheran 40, Boulder City 11 — At Faith Lutheran, Boulder City forced turnovers on Faith Lutheran’s first two drives, and used a field goal to get on the board first, but the Crusaders scored the next 40 points in the first round of the playoffs.

Christian Marshall carried 13 times for 106 yards, including touchdown runs of 17 and 11 yards, for Faith Lutheran (7-3). Greg Benson completed 10 of 14 passes for 185 yards, throwing for a touchdown and running for another.

Austin Wishard finished 8-of-19 passing for 100 yards for Boulder City (4-6), which scored on a 1-yard run by Brooks Roe and a 23-yard field goal by Patrick Hood.

— Neil Grepke

Desert Pines 34, Cheyenne 20 — At Desert Pines, Isaiah Morris rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries to lead the Jaguars past the Desert Shield in a Division I-A playoff game.

Trevor Nofoa rushed for 69 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries for Desert Pines.

Nofoa had TD runs of 1 and 25 yards to help the Jaguars take a 22-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Marckell Grayson added a 36-yard TD pass to Jon McCoy for the Jaguars.

Dillard Davis had a 65-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for Desert Pines.

Cheyenne’s Anthony McConnico completed 5 of 11 passes for 122 yards. He had a 57-yard TD pass to Zavieh Harrell and a 7-yard scoring strike to Ashton Lawson.

Moapa Valley 41, Spring Valley 15 — At Overton, Zach Hymas passed for 174 yards and three touchdowns as the Pirates (10-0) defeated the Grizzlies (5-5) in a Division I-A playoff game.

Moapa Valley will host Sierra Vista next Friday.

Hymas completed 9 of 14 passes with TD passes of 47 and 7 yards to R.J. Hubert and 47 yards to Caleb Bodily, who caught four passes for 118 yards. Hubert had four catches for 70 yards and returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown.

Spring Valley got an 8-yard TD pass from Christian Tasi to Anthony Vasquez and a 24-yard scoring strike from Vasquez to Branden Peterson.

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