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Mojave uses big third quarter to stun Moapa Valley

Mojave coach Abraham Gonzalez knew his Rattlers football team was going to be tested Friday night against Class 3A power Moapa Valley.

And it appeared Gonzalez was right, as the Pirates tied the game following their first drive of the second half.

But the Rattlers quickly answered that score, and never looked back.

Mojave scored three touchdowns in a three-minute span in the third quarter, and the host Rattlers went on to stun the Pirates, 38-20.

“We beat a very good football team tonight,” Gonzalez said. “We didn’t panic once (Moapa Valley) tied the game. We stuck with the gameplan and quickly regained control. I’m so proud of my football team and coaching staff.”

Moapa Valley took the second half kickoff and marched 46 yards in nine plays, and Logan Jackson finished the five-minute drive with a 9-yard run. Leo Rios missed the extra point, but the Pirates tied the game at 20-20.

But the Rattlers (3-1) answered.

Four plays following the Moapa Valley (2-1) score, Mojave senior Ironzi Miller ripped through the middle for a 64-yard score to give the Rattlers a 26-20 lead.

The rest of the night belonged to star running back Tawee Walker. Walker, who finished with 234 yards on 18 carries, extended the Mojave margin to 12 points with a 27-yard run, his fourth rushing touchdown on the evening.

Walker had TD runs of 6, 88 and 37 yards earlier, and the Rattlers rushed for 410 yards.

“I can’t say enough about the way we prepared for this game,” Gonzalez said. “From the weight room, to the film room, to believing in the system — these kids have done everything we’ve asked of them. Being in the weight room wasn’t high on the priority list before, now things have changed.”

To cap off the star-studded night, Walker threw a 22-yard scoring pass to Desaun Smith to end the scoring.

Moapa Valley had just 67 yards on the ground, but got 187 yards threw the air from quarterback Daxton Longman. Braeden St. John had a TD, while Derek Reese recovered a fumble in the endzone for the other Pirates score.

The Pirates turned the ball over three times in the final 15 minutes, and Mojave cruised to the victory.

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