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Shadow Ridge runs past Las Vegas to earn spot in 4A title game — PHOTOS

On Shadow Ridge’s first offensive play Friday night, running back Jaquieze Holland rushed for 16 yards … and fumbled.

Las Vegas High quickly capitalized by scoring and taking a two-touchdown lead not even two minutes into the game.

Holland and his teammates would not be deterred, however. He bounced back to rush for 209 yards and three touchdowns, helping to lead the Mustangs to a 65-37 victory over host Las Vegas in the Class 4A state semifinals.

“He’s a tough a kid as I’ve ever coached,” Shadow Ridge coach Travis Foster said of Holland. “His second effort, his mental toughness, he’s remarkable.”

Shadow Ridge (9-2), which outscored Las Vegas 29-0 in the fourth quarter, will play Silverado on Thursday at Allegiant Stadium for the state championship.

“It’s awesome,” Holland said. “It will feel like I’m in the NFL.”

Quarterback Coen Coloma ran the Mustangs’ triple-option offense to near perfection, rushing for 183 yards and three touchdowns. The Mustangs as a team had 567 yards on the ground. Coloma had one official pass attempt — a 29-yard touchdown was called back because of holding — that fell incomplete.

“It’s hard to contain that offense,” Las Vegas coach Erick Capetillo said. “You’ve got to get a few stops versus that offense. You obviously don’t imagine an offense like that in a shootout, but at the end of the day, if you can’t stop them, you’ve got to keep scoring.”

The Wildcats certainly gave it a shot with their high-tempo spread attack. Las Vegas freshman quarterback Elijah Espinoza completed 30 of 47 passes for 476 yards and four touchdowns. All four TDs were in the first half.

But it was two defensive plays that turned the game Shadow Ridge’s way in the fourth quarter.

With Shadow Ridge clinging to a seven-point lead, Devon Woods recovered a botched handoff. With the help of a fourth-and-2 conversion, the Mustangs turned the takeaway into a two-possession lead on Maddyx Valenzuela’s 11-yard touchdown with 6:46 left.

Then Jonah Ruiz returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown with 4:21 remaining for a 59-37 lead, putting to rest any questions about the outcome of this game.

“The pick-six was huge,” Foster said. “We truly believed they were going to give us one, and we were just fortunate enough to make that play.”

It was a game of big plays, and as many as Las Vegas (7-4) made, it didn’t make enough.

Capetillo told his team after the game “to remember that feeling because we’ll be back next year for sure.”

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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