Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2018

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Mojave beats Chaparral for first playoff win in five years

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Christopher DeVargas

Members of the Mojave High School football team, from left, Tawee Walker, Dylan Mleynek and Xavier Delong pose for a portrait at the Las Vegas Sun’s high school football media day August 2, 2017, at the South Point.

The Mojave football team got the ball with only 3:30 to play, facing a four-point deficit and needing to drive the length of the field to win its first playoff game in five years.

The Rattlers relied on star running back Tawee Walker all year, but with time running out they needed to pass the ball to extend the season.

Quarterback Xavier DeLong stepped up, leading Mojave 85 yards and capping it off with a game-winning, 18-yard touchdown pass to John Harper to give the Rattlers a 12-10 win over Chaparral.

“Xavier was so composed out there,” Mojave coach Abraham Gonzalez said. “He put in the effort practicing the two-minute drill all year and then executed it and it looked awesome. He executed it almost to perfection.”

It was Mojave’s first playoff win since Oct. 25, 2012.

“It means the world,” Gonzalez said. “It shows how changes are coming for this school. The expectations are raised for these kids. We are reaping the rewards of everything we’ve done with the hard work all season.”

Next up for the Rattlers is a trip to Mesquite to play Virgin Valley, who they beat 26-0 earlier in the season.

“It’s going to be a hard-fought game,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t expect them to roll over when we go over there. They have something to prove. They are going to want a little payback. The playoffs are a whole different level.”

Jesse Granger can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Jesse on Twitter at twitter.com/JesseGranger_.