Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 | 11:22 p.m.
On several occasions last season, the Green Valley offense made up for mediocre performances from the defense to win close games.
In the Gators’ first game this year, the trend flipped. The defense stood tall all night, enabling Green Valley to pull out an exciting 26-23 victory over Charter Oak from California.
Charter Oak was driving for a chance to win the game late, but Green Valley stuffed a fourth-and-3 play with 50 seconds remaining.
“I was real happy with the way our defense played,” Green Valley coach Brian Castro said. “To tell you the truth, our offense gave them a lot of opportunities that we didn’t need to. We didn’t move the ball well enough and we put our defense out there more than they needed to be.”
Green Valley fell into an early 7-0 hole, but scored the game’s next touchdowns with rushes from quarterback Christian Lopez and running back Albert Lake. The Gators controlled the middle portion of the game before Charter Oak cut their lead to 18-15.
That’s when Albert Lake broke loose for a 60-yard touchdown run. It proved enough cushion for Green Valley to hold Charter Oak off, but just barely.
The out-of-state opponent scored in the final couple minutes and recovered an onside kick to put a scare into Green Valley. That’s when the defense proved it was up to the challenge.
“Things didn’t go our way and we got a stop when we really needed to,” Castro said.