Las Vegas Sun

June 15, 2019

Currently: 91° — Complete forecast

Defense propels Desert Pines over Canyon Springs

Desert Pines at Canyon Springs

Kyle B. Hansen

Canyon Springs quarterback Mike McWilliams (7) hands the ball to Paul Woodward (1) during Thursday’s game against Desert Pines.

Desert Pines at Canyon Springs

Desert Pines attempts to gain yards during Thursday's game at Canyon Springs. Launch slideshow »

Related blog entry

Expanded coverage

Sometimes just getting a win is more important than how you get it.

That's especially true just a week away from beginning the playoffs.

Desert Pines High didn't put together the prettiest or easiest victory Friday, topping one-win Canyon Springs High, 14-0, but the road win just a week before next Friday's playoff game against Green Valley High can only benefit the young team.

The Jaguars defense was the star of the evening, holding the Pioneers to 55 total yards and allowing them to cross midfield just twice.

"I've been saying all year that our offense is slowly maturing, but our defense has been our foundation, all year long," Desert Pines coach Paul Bennett said. "We decided that we wanted to finish on top, and a win definitely helps your momentum going into the playoffs so we were pleased with that."

After a scoreless first quarter, Derrick Shaw put the Jaguars (4-5 overall, 4-2 Sunrise Northeast) on top 7-0 with a 10-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter.

The Pioneers (1-8, 1-5) nearly answered back just before halftime, but their 11-play drive ended with an incomplete pass on fourth-and-8 from the Desert Pines 9-yard line.

Neither team could get much going in the third quarter as the first four possessions all ended in turnovers (three fumbles and an interception). The fourth quarter started with two turnovers on one play, as Canyon Springs senior Trevor Davis picked off a Dalton Leilua pass for the second time but fumbled the ball after a 30-yard return.

"We were in it and Trevor Davis made a great play and then he fumbled," Pioneers coach Chris Littmann said. "Even then, we switched the field up on them a little bit and I felt like we needed one stop and needed to execute one play or two plays."

Canyon Springs' defense did just that, forcing a punt six plays later, but the team's offense couldn't reciprocate. The Pioneers gained first downs on a 15-yard pass from Mike McWilliams to Jonathon James and a personal foul on the Jaguars, but punted four plays after the penalty.

Desert Pines finally broke through with a big play on the next drive when Dennis Scott rumbled 50 yards downfield to the Canyon Springs 7-yard line. The senior fullback scored on a 2-yard run three plays later, giving the Jaguars a two-touchdown lead with just a bit more than two minutes to go.

Canyon Springs had one more opportunity to get back in the game, but incomplete passes on third and fourth downs gave the ball back to Desert Pines, which ran out the clock.

"We were in it until the end," Littmann said. "This offense, with the kind of athletes we have, even down 14-0, I didn't think we were out of it. We've battled all year. I didn't think our kids were going to quit, and they didn't. I don't think we're ever out of a game with our kids."

Along with the stellar defensive effort, the Jaguars put up solid numbers on the ground, gaining 213 yards on 43 carries. Shaw finished with 75 yards on 22 rushes and Scott had nine carries for 100 yards.

Turnovers were the only real problem for Desert Pines, as Leilua finished 4-of-10 passing for 56 yards with the two interceptions and the Jags fumbled the ball away twice in the third quarters.

Desert Pines survived those mistakes Friday, but they'll have a harder time doing so against Green Valley (7-3, 5-1, No. 2 seed in the Sunrise Southeast) in the first round of the playoffs.

"It's a mental thing," Bennett said of the turnovers. "They have to get over that and just keep chugging away. They don't give up. They keep rolling, and I've never been more proud of them."

Vince Postel led Canyon Springs with 12 rushing yards on five carries and averaged 41 yards on six punts.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy