Friday, Sept. 30, 2016 | 11:32 p.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports editors Ray Brewer and Case Keefer express excitement over the race in the Northwest division with Shadow Ridge and Legacy emerging as surprise contenders, and take stock of the other leagues.
Las Vegas High coach James Thurman was interested to see how his team would handle adversity on the heels of his team’s first loss.
The Wildcats handled challenges better this week, erasing an early first-quarter deficit to leave with a 34-27 victory over Chaparral on Friday at Las Vegas High.
“We dug a little hole, didn’t we?” Thurman said of falling behind early.
Las Vegas running back Elijah Hicks carried the ball 33 times for 178 yards with two touchdowns, while quarterback Zach Matlock rushed for 87 yards on 14 carries with a pair of scores. Matlock also completed 10 of 16 passing for 104 yards with one score.
Thurman credited his offensive line for opening up running lanes and holes for his backfield, which made a difference late in the game when the Wildcats rarely attempted a pass.
“We take pride in our strength program here,” Thurman said. “Obviously, we have a couple good backs. Hicks is pretty talented and quarterbacks ran the ball pretty well, too.”
The Cowboys (3-3) jumped out to a quick lead after Devin Gaddy took the first of two interceptions to the end zone early in the first quarter. Soon after forcing the Wildcats (4-1) to punt, Kentrell Petite took a handoff and threw a pass to Gaddy, who then made a one-handed, falling-backward catch in the end zone to give the Cowboys a 13-0 lead.
The Wildcats settled down after Chaparral’s quick strikes, scoring the next three touchdowns to enter the half up 20-13. The teams traded scores throughout the second half with the game hanging in the balance until Matlock’s 4-yard touchdown run put the Wildcats ahead with 46 seconds left to play. Cruz Littlefield swatted away a pass intended for Gaddy with 14 seconds left to seal Las Vegas’ victory on the next possession.
Gaddy finished the night with five catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Petite caught seven passes for 151 yards to go along with his one touchdown pass.
“We had to be consistent (to beat Las Vegas),” Chaparral coach Paul Nihipali said. “We have to work on our discipline. Once we get the minor details, we’ll be OK. That’s something we need to do on a continuous basis.”
Las Vegas hosts Canyon Springs to begin region play, while Chaparral plays host to Boulder City next Thursday.