Palo Verde coach Joe Aznarez wasn’t too proud to admit he had Friday’s game against Shadow Ridge circled in his calendar.
He knew its importance going in — wins over the Mustangs proved crucial to the Panthers reaching the playoffs the last two seasons — and his team played like it did too. Palo Verde won 14-6 at home to improve to 2-0 in the Northwest League and 4-1 overall for the first time since 2013.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Aznarez said. “That was a pretty big swing game in our league. We knew that coming in. Our kids felt it too.”
The Panthers started fast, as their second play of the game was a 64-yard touchdown run by junior Jaylin Henderson. Shadow Ridge (4-2, 1-1) cut its deficit to 7-6 in the second quarter off a two-yard TD run by quarterback Kody Presser but that’s all the offense the Mustangs could muster.
Senior Karsonne Winters had a 3-yard rushing TD late in the third quarter to extend Palo Verde’s lead and its defense stopped Shadow Ridge on fourth down with 49 seconds left to seal the win.
“Oh my goodness, it feels amazing,” Henderson said. “The sky is the limit (for us). I’m at a loss for words, I’m just excited for my team.”
Junior running back Antony Wheaton had 140 rushing yards for the Mustangs, who outgained the Panthers 278-185. Shadow Ridge had the game’s lone turnover though as it fumbled the ball at Palo Verde’s 3-yard line in the second quarter and Henderson recovered.
“Basically I just saw the ball come out,” Henderson said. “It was me and Karsonne and we were both fighting for the ball.”
The turnover proved crucial in a short game that featured only 16 drives and 91 offensive plays. The two run-heavy teams, who each passed just six times, kept the clock moving and gave each other limited opportunities to score.
“We pride ourselves on stopping the run,” Aznarez said. “We did a fairly good job of that. They run their stuff well. We were just a little better tonight.”
Foothill 35, Eldorado 0 — At Eldorado, Koy Riggin threw two touchdown passes as the visiting Falcons dominated from start to finish, blanking the host Sundevils.
Riggin led an offense that built a 28-0 lead at halftime and never let up. He completed 13 of 19 passes for 171 yards. He spread the ball to five receivers, but Jordan Blakely caught both touchdowns, his only two receptions of the night, and tallied 54 yards. Braeden Wilson caught four passes for 65 yards for Foothill (5-0).
Foothill’s run defense was stellar all night. Eldorado (1-4) ran the football 23 times for 60 yards. Ollie Chori also returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown for the Falcons.
Eldorado quarterback Jalen Malone was the sole source of the Sundevils offense. He completed 9 of 15 passes for 116 yards and an interception, and ran nine times for 44 yards. Trezon Turner caught two passes for 50 yards.
Eldorado’s struggles were epitomized with the end result of their most promising drive. The Sundevils had the ball inside the Foothill red zone in the third quarter, but a block in the back penalty followed by consecutive sacks backed them up 43 yards from the previous spot. The drive ended in a punt.
Cheyenne 57, Valley 13 — At Cheyenne, Majae Madison ran for 202 yards and four touchdowns in the first half as the Desert Shields blew by the Vikings.
“He’s a beast,” Cheyenne coach Pat Ward said. “He lives in the weight room. Great kid.”
Madison’s first touchdown opened the scoring with a 10-yard run on the Desert Shields’ opening possession. He scored again from 3 yards out, then from 73 yards to cap the first-quarter scoring and put Cheyenne up 18-6.
He struck again in the second quarter, taking in another score from 5 yards out. Madison then turned the scoring over to the defense, which tackled the Viking punter after a bobbled snap in the end zone for a safety. Joshua Washington returned the free kick for a touchdown, and Cheyenne took a 36-6 halftime advantage. Wesley Federson’s 97-yard fumble recovery completed a strong scoring output for the Cheyenne defense.
Rayvion Brown caught a 13-yard touchdown pass for Cheyenne (5-1, 1-0 Class 3A Sunset League), and Luis Hornas ran in a 53-yard score.
“I think we put it together tonight,” Ward said.
Valley (2-4, 0-1) scored with 6:44 remaining in the first to tie the game, 6-6 on a 1-yard keeper from quarterback Jarrett Zibert. Bryce Jones had Valley’s other touchdown, a 51-yard touchdown on a screen pass.
Del Sol 58, Western 0 — At Del Sol, Trey Alexander and Markell Turner each scored three touchdowns Friday as the Dragons defeated the Warriors in the Class 3A Sunset League opener for both teams.
The Dragons (4-2) jumped on top of the Warriors early, seizing a quick 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. With a defense that limited Western (0-5) to 68 yards of total offense, Del Sol never let up in winning its third straight game.
Del Sol hadn’t won three in a row since starting the 2014 season with a 3-0 mark.
Turner, a senior receiver, scored all three times he touched the ball on offense. He started the scoring by taking a handoff on a flanker sweep around the right edge for a 10-yard rushing touchdown. Turner later added touchdown catches of 18 and 60 yards.
Alexander is a 200-pound workhorse of a tailback who gained 84 yards on 14 carries, but scored on runs of 4, 2, and 11 yards in the first half as Del Sol built a 37-0 lead.
Del Sol receiver Maalik Flowers returned the second-half kickoff 60 yards for another score. Flowers would later added a 45-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
Mojave 55, Sunrise Mountain 12 — At Sunrise Mountain, the Rattlers used a solid rushing attack to build a 27-6 first-quarter lead en route to teh win over the Miners.
Devinn Houston led all rushers with three touchdowns and 68 yards. De’vann Underwood and quarterback K’maurian Philogene both added rushing TDs for Mojave. Underwood also returned an interception 17 yards for the final score of the game.
Philogene, who was coming off a 384-yard passing performance in his previous outing, completed 11 of 24 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns for Mojave (2-3).
Despite throwing two interceptions, Sunrise Mountain’s Damaurier Alexander nearly matched Philogene’s passing numbers. The junior was 13-for-27 for 180 yards. His top target was Laquan Macklin, who caught five passes for 125 yards.
Alexander also was responsible for the Miners’ two scores: an 88-yard kickoff return early in the first quarter and a 4-yard rushing TD late in the third quarter.
Sunrise Mountain (1-4) struggled with penalties and inconsistent play on offense.
Canyon Springs 28, Clayton Valley (Calif.) 0 — At Concord, California, Carson Sumter scored a pair of touchdowns Friday to lead the the Ugly Eagles over the Pioneers.
Sumter scored in the first quarter to give the Ugly Eagles (4-1) the lead.
He added another score with just less than two minutes to go in the second quarter to up the margin to 21-0.
Clayton Valley scored again late in the fourth quarter and held on for the shutout.
Canyon Springs is 1-3.
Pahrump Valley 48, Democracy Prep 25 — At Rancho, the Trojans topped the Blue Knights in a game that featured no punts and seven lead changes.
Pahrump scored the game’s final three touchdowns to pull away. Dylan Wright’s 1-yard scoring run followed by 2-point conversion run by Nico Velazquez gave the Trojans a 32-25 lead with 1:54 to go in the first half.
Wright rushed for just 33 yards on a 11 carries, but had four TD runs.
Velazquez rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, and Dylan Grossell added 85 yards on 13 crries for Pahrump (2-3, 1-0 Sunset League).
Democracy Prep struck right away as Ramon Green returned the opening kickoff 95 yards to give the Blue Knights a quick 6-0 lead.
The Trojans answered with Wright scoring on a 1-yard run to take the lead.
Micah Gayman completed 9 of 19 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown for Democracy Prep (1-5, 0-1).
Moapa Valley 55, Rancho 0 — At Overton, the Pirates scored three first-quarter touchdowns and rolled past the Rams.
Derek Reese caught a 73-yard touchdown pass from Luke Bennett 37 seconds into the game. Bennett added a 32-yard TD pass to Chase Hoy and a 3-yard scoring strike to Josh Cox before the end of the quarter.
Braeden St. John caught a 34-yard TD strike from Bennett with 10:44 to go in the first half to make the score 28-0.
Bennett completed 10 of 12 passes for 192 yards.
Devyn Collins added a pair of TD runs for the Pirates (5-1, 1-0 Sunrise League).
Rancho fell to 1-5, 0-1.
Calvary Chapel 57, Mountain View 6 — At Calvary Chapel, the Lions built a 35-0 lead at the half and cruised past the Saints.
Lions quarterback Drake Miller completed 7 of 8 passes for 180 yards and four touchdowns.
Calvary Chapel led 57-0 before Mountain View quarterback Alex Diaz hit Nicholas Santana for a 3-yard touchdown as time expired.
The Lions improved to 3-0. Mountain View fell to 0-2.
Lincoln County 65, Lake Mead 0 — At Panaca, Noah Smith rushed for 252 yards and four touchdowns on 11 carries as the Lynx trounced the Eagles.
Smith had TD runs of 1 yard, 19 yards, 51 yards and 81 yards.
Kobe Kelley had seven tackles and an interception for Lincoln County, which led 30-0 after one quarter.
Kamdon Lewis also intercepted a pass for the Lynx (4-0, 1-0 Class 2A Southern League).
Lake Mead fell to 0-3, 0-2.
Pahranagat Valley 58, Beatty 22 — At Alamo, Reece Thornton rushed for 192 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers beat the Hornets.
Thornton had TD runs of 14, 16 and 46 yards for the Panthers, who scored three third-quarter touchdowns to pull away. Thornton also had five tackles.
Preston Higbee rushed for 101 yards and two scores and completed 6 of 12 passes for 105 yards for Pahranagat Valley (3-0, 1-0 Class 1A Southern League).
John Hansen had a 2-yard TD run an returned a punt 80 yards for a score, and Jesse Jones added an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for the Panthers.
Beatty’s Austin McKenzie had a 50-yard TD run, and Jacob Henry hit Max Taylor with a 15-yard scoring pass for the Hornets (1-1, 0-1).
Spring Mountain 78, Laughlin 0 — At Spring Mountain, Malik Powell and Chris Mosley each returned a free kick for a touchdown in the first six minutes as the Golden Eagles routed the Cougars.
The Golden Eagles (2-1) recorded two safeties in the first six minutes. Powell returned a free kick after the first safety for a 58-yard touchdown. Mosley raced 60 yards for a score on the kick after the second safety as the Golden Eagles built a 20-0 lead before the midway point of the first quarter.
Mosley scored again on a 13-yard run with 5:49 left in the first quarter, upping the margin to 28-0, and added a TD run in the second quarter.
Kadreion Payne and Jared Ulat each had two TD runs for the Golden Eagles.
Laughlin fell to 2-2.
GV Christian 32, Beaver Dam 16 — At Littlefield, Arizona, Talon Smith scored four touchdowns to lead the Guardians over the Diamondbacks.
Smith returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns and also hauled in two TD passes from Collin Killoran.
Vincent Bush added a 15-yard TD reception from Killoran for the Guardians (1-3, 1-0 Class 1A Southern League).
Beaver Dam fell to 2-2, 0-2.