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November 22, 2014

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Adams unloads on Spring Valley for 33-20 win

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Kyle B. Hansen

Spring Valley’s Keenan Sanders (5) returns a missed field goal at the end of the second quarter of Friday’s game against Sierra Vista.

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Sierra Vista senior Akil Sharp runs with the ball during Friday's game against Spring Valley.

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Sierra Vista senior running back Akil Sharp may have been the bigger name entering Friday's game against Spring Valley, but Jacques Adams — his Grizzlies counterpart — had the better game and ended up on the winning side of a 33-20 final score.

Sharp, one of the valley's top college prospects after rushing for 1,255 yards in 2007 and putting up outstanding numbers at camps this summer, rushed 29 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns against Spring Valley, but Adams had 120 yards and three touchdowns on 16 fewer carries.

Not that the Grizzlies' running back went into the game trying to outperform his opposite number on the other sideline.

"You don't have to motivate a kid like Jacques. He just comes out and performs," Spring Valley head coach Kelly Murphy said. "He's pretty much self-motivated. He knows what he has to do, as far as a player, and do whatever's best for the team."

Adams put up his big numbers despite the absence of star offensive lineman Nate Holloway, who was out of town for a funeral.

Spring Valley's line did a fine job without the senior tackle, but the team also benefited from starting with good field position a number of times. Three of the team's five touchdowns came on drives of 20 yards or less.

"Whenever you get against a good team like that and you get a shorter field, it always helps," Murphy said. "What we do then, we really clamp down and make sure we make our plays, make our blocks, and do the job and finish it."

The first short drive came late in the first quarter after an interception return by Jacob Bodine that appeared to tie the score at 7-all was brought back to the 15-yard line because of a penalty. Two Adams runs later, though, the score officially was tied.

The Grizzlies (4-1 overall, 2-1 Sunset Southwest) forced a turnover on downs near midfield on the Mountain Lions' next drive, and took a 13-7 lead three plays later on a 36-yard run by Adams.

Sierra Vista (2-4, 1-2) moved into scoring range with a nine-play drive, but David DeCarlo's 47-yard field goal attempt was short. After the ball landed and came to rest on Spring Valley's 8-yard line for a few seconds while everyone on the field appeared to think the play was dead, Keenan Sanders picked the ball up and returned it to Sierra Vista's 32-yard line. A 15-yard penalty on the Mountain Lions gave the Grizzlies a first down on the 17-yard line, and quarterback Anton Stallworth scored six plays later on a 1-yard plunge.

Down 12 points, the Mountain Lions marched the ball methodically down field on their next drive, eating up 46 yards and six minutes on 15 plays (including 10 Sharp carries). However, an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty on the Grizzlies pushed them back 15 yards on fourth down, and DeCarlo's second field goal attempt ended up short once again.

"We had an interception and some stupid, stupid penalties and that hurt us tonight," Sierra Vista coach Mark Sauve said. "They're a very, very good football team."

Sharp finally got into the end zone on Sierra Vista's first possession of the second half, finishing the 13-play, 48-yard drive with nine straight rushes. His 1-yard scoring run brought the Mountain Lions within six points, 19-13, but the Grizzlies answered with an 11-play drive of their own that ended with an 11-yard pass from Stallworth to Mike Caster.

Adams and Sharp each added a touchdown run in the middle of the fourth quarter, but Spring Valley recovered an onside kick after the Sierra Vista score and held on for the win.

Along with Sharp's two scores and nearly 100 yards on the ground, backfield mate Garland Latham added 90 yards on 14 carries, scoring the game's first touchdown with a 40-yard run on the opening drive. The senior running back burst through the right side of the line, picked up a downfield block from Andrew Ramos and out-ran the Grizzlies to the end zone.

"Garland's really very elusive," Sauve said. "We like to get him on the outside. We popped him early. We thought we were going to have a big night going outside, but then we had the interception which kind of screwed everything up, but we feel like we can run the ball against anybody."

Sierra Vista quarterback Jeremy Green returned from a one-game suspension for grade issues and was 6-of-15 passing for 77 yards. Senior wide receiver Darian Yahyavi, who also was suspended for the same reason last game, has team highs of three catches and 32 reception yards.

Stallworth finished with 23 yards on seven carries and three completions on five pass attempts for 31 yards. T.J. Allen added 24 rushing yards, and Caster had two catches for 23 yards.

Spring Valley will travel to Western next week.

"Western's always a good football team," Murphy said. "It doesn't matter what their record is. We always get a good game out of them."

Things don't get any easier for Sierra Vista, facing their second tough back-to-back stretch of the season. The Mountain Lions started the year with consecutive games against Cheyenne (a 50-6 loss) and Palo Verde (a 35-6 loss), and now have to follow up Friday's loss by facing Bishop Gorman (6-1 after a 55-0 demolishing of Clark on Friday) next week.

"The scheduling gods are against us this year, however things turned out," Sauve said. "You gotta be able to shake that stuff off."

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