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Recap: Palo Verde vs Las Vegas – Mountain Region Playoffs Round 1

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The third-seeded Palo Verde Panthers (4-2) and second-seeded Las Vegas High School Wildcats (4-1) NIAA Playoff game, started with a fierce defensive battle. It was 7-0 Palo after one quarter due to a drive of solid run plays that gained seven yards each carry. The drive was capped off by a fumbled handoff to running back Charron Thomas, when quarterback Paul Myro scooped it up and ran it in for the touchdown from five yards out.

It was still 7-0 after one, due to an impressive defensive effort by the Panthers that tore through the cracks in Las Vegas’ offensive line. That effort made highly-touted Wildcats starting quarterback Ja’shawn Scroggins’s night difficult. Scroggins was being rushed a ton, forcing him to throw the ball when he did not want to.

Las Vegas High School Football Palo Verde vs Las Vegas
Photo credit: Kalin Sokell

However, with about five minutes to go in the half, Las Vegas would start pounding the rock, gaining about 6-7 yards on each play, mixed in with a 20-yard pass by Scroggins. The drive brought the Wildcats into field goal range, which they would convert, the score was now 7-3 Palo. 

The Panthers had a few drives that stalled due to holding penalties against the offensive line, forcing Palo Verde into third-and-longs, which they could not convert. They ended up sustaining a drive, capped off by a long touchdown reception by senior wide receiver-Kade Madsen, and it brought the score to 14-3. This wound up being the halftime score after the Panthers were able to stop Las Vegas on a long kickoff return just before halftime.

 

Even Palo Verde Head Coach Joe Aznarez said after the game that he felt the team left points on the board early with a few costly penalties. “If not for some penalties, we could’ve had some more [points], we missed some opportunities there.”

Las Vegas then used the momentum from the kickoff return in the second half, which helped propel them to a touchdown when Scroggins was able to complete a deep pass to Dalten Silet with 10:14 left in the third quarter. Palo Verde was able to block the extra point and kept the score at 14-9 Panthers. 

This block, helped cause a momentum shift that went Palo’s way and the Panthers marched down the field to the Las Vegas ten-yard line. They converted a field goal, which made the score 17-9 Palo Verde with 6:03 left in the third quarter.

 

The Panther defense kept their intensity up on the ensuing drive and wreaked havoc on Las Vegas High School as the defense forced what had appeared to be a fumble, only to have the call reversed. It only took Palo Verde two plays to force another fumble, and this one stood with 5:03 left in the third quarter.

The momentum was now purely in the Panthers’ favor as Myro completed a 60-yard touchdown pass to Kade Madsen, helping to keep his final season alive. The score was now 24-9 Palo Verde with 4:13 left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats and their ultra-talented quarterback Scroggins offense struggled most of the night thanks to a  good defensive effort from the Panthers, and the Wildcats next score did not come until 8:16 remaining in the game. Scroggins was able to complete another touchdown pass, and Las Vegas would convert the field goal to make the score 27-16 Palo Verde.

 

With Palo Verde holding onto a two-score lead, the Panthers became a bit reckless with the football. Having fumbled the ball on the next drive, the Panthers did manage to recover it, and Charron Thomas, who had over 20 carries for 200 yards in this game, had his first touchdown. It was on a long run with 5:02 left to play. On the ensuing drive, the Panthers managed to score again and extend their lead and  it to 41-16.

Just as the first half had ended with a long return on a kickoff by Las Vegas, so too did the second half as the Wildcats’ Silet managed to return one to the house for a score. This touchdown put the final score at 41-23 Panthers, who advance to play at Centennial High School on Friday, November 22nd, at 7:00 PM.  They lost earlier in the year to the Bulldogs 50-26.

 

Just as Johnson entered this game with a win-or-go-home mentality, he will enter the Centennial game with the same attitude, and Coach Aznarez said that that is the mentality the team will have going into the next game. Johnson said, “Our mentality is, we got to play four quarters….our coach always preaches that. We wanted to come out in the second half and punish them. Everybody doubted us a lot, so we have to come in here and prove everyone wrong and go far in the playoffs. That’s what we did today to get the win.”

Palo Verde Head Coach Joe Aznarez spoke on Johnson’s performance tonight, saying that “He’s a stud” and that, “he’s been a panther since he was born and he’s the last of five brothers. I knew Charron was going to have a special night, my plan was to feature him, and he was a horse.” 

Coach Aznarez was also “super proud” of him, calling him “one of our league’s top backs” and that he, “does everything we ask him to. He’ll block, he’ll run, he’ll run routes, and he even played some defense tonight. It was a big effort from Charron tonight.”

Las Vegas High School Football Palo Verde vs Las Vegas

Las Vegas High School Football Palo Verde vs Las Vegas

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