STEPHEN SYLVANIE / SPECIAL TO THE SUN
Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 | 1:20 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer compare the run Moapa Valley is on in the Division 1-A to the one Bishop Gorman has put together this season in the upper decision. Other familiar arguments arise, including a debate on whether Arbor View should be considered as the second-best team in the state. Give us your thoughts in the comments.
Green Valley defensive back Mitchell Barry made up for all the missed meals and hungry days he endured this summer.
Barry, the rare senior who serves as a key contributor on a young Green Valley squad, broke his jaw in a 7-on-7 game in July. Unable to eat solid foods for more than a month, Barry lost 20 pounds.
“I just had a whole bunch of soup and smoothies,” Barry said. “Eventually it gets really boring.”
Good thing Barry feasted on Friday night. The Las Vegas High offense was the dish du jour.
Barry had two of Green Valley’s four interceptions to lead the Gators to a commanding defensive performance and a 43-14 victory.
At least one other Gator saw the breakout coming, as Barry recounted sophomore quarterback Christian Lopez pulling him aside before the game.
“This is your senior year,” Lopez told Barry. “This is going to be your game to remember.”
Lopez may not soon forget this road game either. He continued his tear to start the year by completing 13 of 25 passes for 258 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
On the first play of the game, Lopez found junior Gio Hernandez on a crossing route. Hernandez shook off one tackler and took the pass 80 yards for a touchdown.
“He’s a playmaker for us,” Green Valley coach Brian Castro said. “When we can get him the ball, it helps take the pressure off.”
Castro had no shortage of ways to feed Hernandez against the Wildcats. In addition to three catches for more than 100 yards, he carried the ball 22 times for 147 yards.
Hernandez scored Green Valley’s second touchdown by punching in a three-yard run. Barry set up the next score, a two-yard rush from Gino Jonassanit, with an interception in Las Vegas territory.
The Gators were ahead 19-0 in less than eight minutes to start the game. They held Las Vegas to five yards of offense in the first quarter.
Micah Klorman and Cody Milner recorded Green Valley’s other two interceptions.
“Our secondary played the game we know how to play,” Barry said. “At practice, we do everything right. We just had a really good game.”
It helped, of course, that defensive-front standouts Keti Salakielu and Sam McAloon were both pressuring Las Vegas quarterback Trevor Swenson and stuffing the run game.
Wildcat junior Andrew Moreland got loose a couple times in the second half — he finished with 73 yards on 19 carries — and helped his team steal momentum.
Las Vegas trailed only 29-14 in the third quarter after sophomore linebacker Jacob Littlefield recovered a fumble at the 2-yard line and dove in the end zone. The Wildcats then forced the Gators to go three-and-out on their ensuing possession.
It was their chance to get back into the game until Barry intercepted his second pass that Lopez promptly turned into seven points with a pass to sophomore Albert Lake.
“(Barry) did a great job for us,” Castro said. “He came into this year, had an injury this summer and overcame it. He’s been a great player in our secondary. He’s just another guy who continues to get better every week.”
The game served as a statement for the Gators, which chomped down on the Northeast division’s most storied program in their first year in the league.
Barry tried to take it all in, thankful just to play after what he went through a few months ago. Lopez had a few words for Barry when the game concluded.
“I told you,” Lopez said.