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June 12, 2021

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Prep football:

Palo Verde’s Brandon Wright leads victory over Cheyenne

Palo Verde at Cheyenne

Justin M. Bowen

Palo Verde’s Brandon Wright looks for running room Friday night in the first half against Cheyenne.

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Palo Verde running back Brandon Wright said that before Friday’s game, his uncle told him to never put his head down and to make big plays for his team when they need it most.

That’s exactly what Wright did in a hard-fought 48-34 victory against Cheyenne. The three times the Desert Shields pulled within a score of the Panthers, Wright answered with touchdowns.

“I just had to make some big plays for my team,” Wright said.

Wright finished with 173 rushing yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. He also returned a kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown.

On top of that, Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost said, Wright played more defense than he had all season against Cheyenne. Wright simply carried the Panthers.

“Brandon had a great game,” Rost said. “The only problem is (Cheyenne) had five Brandons. We only had one.”

While Palo Verde relied on Wright to carry its offense, Cheyenne had a wealth of playmakers.

Four different Desert Shields attempted a pass, with starting quarterback Kody Stahl finding the most success with 183 yards and two touchdowns on 14-for-24 passing.

Four receivers had at least 40 yards for the Desert Shields, including senior Marquise Hall with 126 yards and a touchdown.

“I hope we came out and showed people that we are still one of the teams to be reckoned with,” Cheyenne coach Perryn Hale said. “We are in the middle of a playoff push and our goal is to go ahead and get an opportunity to play them again.”

Both Cheyenne and Palo Verde scored on their first plays from scrimmage. The Panthers had the ball first and Wright scampered in the end zone for a 31-yard score.

The Desert Shields answered seconds later when Stahl threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Hall.

“It’s just one of those games when you put that many athletes on the field,” Rost said.

Cheyenne appeared to grab the momentum late in the third quarter when Stahl found senior Jordan Butler for a 30-yard touchdown to make the score 35-27.

But on the ensuing kickoff, Wright saw a gaping hole created by his blockers and erupted through it. He was not touched on his way to the end zone.

Cheyenne never got within a touchdown for the rest of the night, but a pair of injuries overshadowed the game in the fourth quarter.

An ambulance arrived to pick up Cheyenne receiver Xavian Johnson, who limped off the field early in the fourth quarter. Hale said Johnson had severe chest pains and respiratory problems.

Play was also delayed for nearly five minutes when Stahl went down and had to be helped off the field. Hale said Stahl had trouble breathing and possibly suffered a concussion.

“We played with every ounce of anything we had tonight,” Hale said.

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