Moapa Valley overcomes slow start to win Hammer Game

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By Lindsey Smith Special to the Review-Journal

October 22, 2021 - 10:35 pm

First impressions tin beryllium deceiving. At least, that’s what Moapa Valley aimed to beryllium Friday nighttime aft a rocky commencement to the yearly Hammer Game against rival Virgin Valley.

But by the clip the last horn sounded successful a 46-28 location victory, the Pirates had each but forgotten astir their aboriginal struggles.

“We look to person an contented oregon 2 each erstwhile successful a portion coming retired a small spot level and getting a hiccup oregon two, but it woke america up a small spot and we came backmost strong,” Moapa Valley manager Brent Lewis said. “We had a mates drives that stalled, and we didn’t fto that deter us.”

The Bulldogs’ defence had the momentum early, sparked by a pick-six by elder Benson Leavitt. Leavitt, a two-way standout, had a 41-yard interception instrumentality connected the 2nd play from scrimmage, and the Bulldogs aboriginal recovered a fumble arsenic the Pirates’ discourtesy struggled to find its footing.

Enter Austin Heiselbetz.

In the archetypal infinitesimal of the 2nd quarter, Heiselbetz marched successful a 19-yard touchdown, sparking a Moapa discourtesy that scored 24 points successful the 2nd quarter.

Heiselbetz recovered a wide-open spread to locomotion into the extremity portion untouched. The elder finished with 3 touchdowns, besides scoring connected a 1-yard propulsion successful the 2nd 4th and a 4-yard completion from elder backmost Peyton Neilson.

“That was immense for us,” Heiselbetz said. “We had a ton of momentum going into that 2nd half, and that truly helped decorativeness the crippled for us.”

Dustin Gordon scored back-to-back touchdowns for the Pirates successful the last infinitesimal of the archetypal half. Moments aft reeling successful a abbreviated touchdown walk from Neilson, Gordon pulled down an interception and returned it 37 yards for a score.

Gordon besides opened the 2nd fractional with an interception and scored his 3rd touchdown precocious successful the 4th quarter.

“He was a antheral among boys tonight,” Lewis said. “He was each implicit the field.”

Virgin Valley yet recovered the extremity portion precocious successful the 3rd 4th connected a 5-yard walk from Gavin Brown to Leavitt. The 2 connected connected different 5-yard touchdown precocious successful the fourth, and Brown threw an 18-yard TD walk to Cutler Crandall successful the last minute.

“Both of these schools person storied traditions, and we are warring and scrapping for championships, truthful that was what it was each astir tonight. We wanted to marque definite the champion squad won,” Lewis said.

Lewis knows the contented well. His father, a 1955 Moapa Valley graduate, played successful the rivalry game.

“This is twelvemonth 26 for me, and it conscionable gets sweeter each time,” Lewis said.

The triumph marked the 2nd consecutive Hammer triumph for Moapa Valley, which defeated Virgin Valley 18-14 successful the spring.

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