Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 | 1:50 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer are back for another high school football discussion. They look at all the matchups this week and spend extra time on the Southeast, which begins league play this week.
He made up for the lost time Friday — starting on the first play from scrimmage.
Love’s 65-yard touchdown run seconds into Henderson Bowl XXI highlighted a 270 yard rushing performance and carried Green Valley to a 36-33 victory to snap a three-game wining streak in the series by Basic.
“This is the greatest. What better way to start your first Henderson Bowl than with a win,” said Love, who missed last year's game with an injury in his first varsity season. “I’m really proud of my guys. We worked so hard in the summer. We have been prepping for this game all summer. Now we can see the bowl every day at school.”
Using the motivation of making the most of his lone time participating in the game, Love wouldn’t be denied late in the contest with the outcome in doubt. Green Valley (2-1, 1-0 Southeast) led by 17 points in the third quarter but allowed Basic to score 20 unanswered points for its first lead of the game, a 33-30 advantage with 10 minutes to play.
Players on the Green Valley sideline were obviously down after squandering such a significant lead in a game that seemed like a sure win.
Then Love saved the day.
On his first carry on the ensuing Green Valley possession, he raced 50 yards to bring the ball deep into Basic (1-2, 0-1) territory. Quarterback Jacob Olim scored on a quarterback keeper — his second rushing touchdown — a few plays later for the winning touchdown.
Love, like he did on the first play of the game, took matters into his own hands when he team needed it the most.
“Aaron did a helluva job tonight,” Green Valley coach Brian Castro said. “He is definitely a guy we have to get the ball to. We go as he goes.”
Seconds later, Love made another memorable run. He darted to a table behind the end zone to grab the Henderson Bowl trophy and officially bring it back to Green Valley for the first time since 2007 — the longest the Gators had gone without beating Basic.
He raced the trophy around the stadium, sharing the win with the fans in a moment he has surely fantasized about since first attending the Henderson Bowl as a seventh grader.
“It is crazy to think I’m the one to grab the bowl first,” Love said. “I’ve always wanted to do that since I was a seventh-grader. It’s great to finally do it and finally achieve it...Getting to that bowl was the fastest I have ran in my entire life.”
Vega passed for more than 300 yards and rushed for three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to overcome falling behind by 14 points in the first quarter. Junior wide receiver Devonte Boyd had one of the best receiving games in bowl history, catching nine passes for 214 yards.
Boyd had the biggest play of the game, catching a 93-yard touchdown from Antraye Johnson on a trick play where Johnson took a handoff and appeared headed up field before making the throw. That touchdown cut Basic’s deficit to 30-27 with 43 seconds to play in the third quarter.
In the end, however, Basic’s offense came up a few plays short on extending the Wolves’ win streak against Green Valley.
“It is tough. The kids aren’t happy,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said. “It is a long season. Hopefully we can learn from the things we did wrong here and come back strong next week.”
For Castro, Green Valley’s first-year head coach, the win signals a step in the right direction. Now he is tasked with making sure the emotional Henderson Bowl win is the first step in many more victories — this year and in future contests against Basic.
“This is huge for us. The kids haven’t won this thing in three years,” Castro said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them. I asked them to make a lot of changes and have a lot more commitment to our program. They have done it. It is early in the season. We have a long way to go, but we are on the right track.”