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Valley rallies to defeat Rancho, clinches playoff spot — PHOTOS

Updated October 15, 2021 - 12:14 pm

Valley’s Tyler Searcy and Deandre Gholar led a drive that high school football dreams are made of in a 12-7 win over Class 3A Mountain League opponent Rancho on Thursday night.

Searcy, a sophomore quarterback, moved the Vikings down the field, culminating in a 1-yard Gholar touchdown run with about a minute left. Gholar was stuffed on two previous plays but came through on third down. He fielded a high snap, then found a clean lane to the end zone.

Rancho made one last drive into Valley territory, but the Vikings defense held steady when it mattered most and helped Valley (3-5, 2-2) clinch a playoff spot and eliminate the Rams from postseason contention.

Searcy finished 14-for-32 for 188 yards and two interceptions. Gholar was Searcy’s main target, hauling in a team-high six catches for 73 yards.

Gholar not only put the exclamation point on the victory but also got Valley onto the board first with a pick-six in the second quarter.

Rancho (2-4, 0-3) appeared to have momentum early in the second quarter. After Rams defensive back Dige Nichols picked off a pass and returned it to his 20-yard line, Rancho quarterback Kole Lindholm connected with Mason Reams for a 32-yard pass.

Rancho’s trip into Valley territory was short-lived, however. The drive ended when Gholar snagged a tipped ball and ran 59 yards for the score, putting his team ahead 6-0.

About five minutes later, Rancho’s Vince Marcione, who came on in relief of Lindholm, scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Martin Bueno’s PAT gave the Rams a 7-6 lead.

Both teams struggled to gain momentum throughout the game, which saw eight turnovers and plenty of penalties.

Valley finishes its regular season at home next week against Pahrump Valley. Rancho travels to Western.

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