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September 2, 2014

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Prep Football:

Las Vegas pulls off championship comeback

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Jummel Hidrosollo / Special to the Home News

The Las Vegas Wildcats bust through the banner at the end of halftime during the Sunrise Regional championship game against Del Sol at Frank Nails Field with a 25-38 win on Friday.

Las Vegas captures third straight Sunrise title

Las Vegas High School running back Raggie Bullock broke a 25-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds remaining in the game to finish off winning the Sunrise Regional title 35-28 against Del Sol at Frank Nails Field on Nov. 21.
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Las Vegas High's run as the Sunrise Region's top football team was in jeopardy Friday night.

Actually, the Wildcats' domination was minutes away from ending.

They trailed visiting Del Sol by 14 points in the Sunrise Regional title game midway through the fourth quarter, and appeared to be headed for a uncharacteristic premature end to the season.

That's when quarterback Emir Lopez, running back Reggie Bullock and Las Vegas' stifling defense took over.

Las Vegas closed the game with 21 unanswered points in the final 4 minutes and 29 seconds for a thrilling 35-28 come-from-behind victory to capture its sixth straight regional crown.

Bullock scored the game-winner on a 17-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds to play to push Las Vegas into the state semifinals against Sunset Region champion Palo Verde at Arbor View High School next Saturday.

"This was the best game I've ever been part of in my life," said Lopez, who rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another. "We never doubted ourselves. No matter what, we know we can score on anyone."

Las Vegas (12-1) has never lost to a team from Del Sol's Southeast Division since Southern Nevada was broken into two region's nine years ago, including beating Del Sol in the championship game the past three seasons.

This year, however, was almost different.

Del Sol drove the length of the field on its first possession and took a 6-0 lead when Saei Huihui threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tim Lawson with 5:55 to play in the first quarter.

Del Sol led the rest of the way until Bullock capped the comeback with seconds to play.

"Once the clock got under eight minutes, we needed everything to fit perfectly," Las Vegas coach Chris Faircloth said. "And it did."

A 20-yard touchdown run from Lopez with 4:29 left cut into the deficit as Las Vegas only trailed 28-21. But with the time not in its favor, and Del Sol successfully able to run the clock most of the night, Las Vegas' chances of defending its title still appeared slim.

But Las Vegas limited Del Sol to negative yards on its next possession to force a punt, and Lopez scored on a 15-yard run with 2:25 to play to even the game at 28.

Within the span of two minutes, the momentum shifted to Las Vegas and its vocal home crowd.

"We always believe that we are going to win the football game," Faircloth said. "We tell the kids that nobody can play with them for 48 minutes."

That was the case during the comeback as Del Sol couldn't stop Las Vegas from rallying.

Las Vegas held Del Sol to another three-and-out on its next series to regain possession around midfield with under a minute to play. Five plays later, Bullock broke through for the decisive score.

"We worked too hard in practice, and during the spring and summer to lose this game," said Bullock, who rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.

Del Sol (10-3) had leads of 20-7 and 28-14 in the second half, but couldn't hold on. The fifth-year program was looking for the school's first regional title in any sport.

"Against a team like them, you have to play every second of the game," Del Sol coach Preston Goroff said.

Derek Eamon rushed for 80 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries — significantly less than the 412 yards and five touchdowns he had last week in a semifinal victory against Basic.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected].

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