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October 25, 2014

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Receiver’s aerial maneuver highlights Wildcats’ big win

Quick scores key Las Vegas to 40-15 victory, 2-0 division start

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Kyle B. Hansen

Las Vegas quarterback Emir Lopez passes the ball to Reggie Bullock during Friday’s game at Chaparral.

Las Vegas High at Chaparral High

Chaparral quarterback Breonta Griffin passes the ball to running back Isaiah Washington during Friday's game against Las Vegas High. Launch slideshow »

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Las Vegas High coach Chris Faircloth has been around football long enough to know that a game isn’t decided by one play. Then again, he’s never seen a play like the one Marquan Major made Friday night.

“Wow, I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like that before in a high school game,” said a smiling Faircloth, of his sophomore wide receiver’s decision to hurdle a Chaparral defender via the air instead of choosing a more traditional path on the ground.

Major’s play had little effect on the outcome of Las Vegas’ 40-15 victory at Jack Mannion Stadium, but it was all anyone could talk about on the Wildcats’ sideline. Heck, even the chain crew and training staff were oohing and ahhing long afterward.

But Major insisted it wasn’t planned, even if he recently watched a replay of Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno performing a similar airborne stunt against Central Michigan earlier this season.

“I didn’t see any open holes, so I just jumped over him,” the 6-foot-3 Major said matter-of-factly of his 15-yard reception, which became the stuff of legends when he hopped over Cowboy defender Malcom McMurray near his team’s sideline.

“It was all instinct,” said Major, flashing a big grin after his five-catch performance. “I was like, 'hey, if they want to go for my legs like they had all game, I’ll just go over them.'”

While the highlight reel play was impressive to everyone, including Faircloth, the Wildcats’ skipper was especially pleased with the overall performance of his 4-1 squad, which he said looked sluggish last week in a 21-0 win over Desert Pines.

“We rode our kids all week long because we expect to be better than where we are at right now. But we’re going to keep pushing until we get to where we think we can go,” said Faircloth, whose team improve to 2-0 in the Northeast Division standings. “It was important to get out to the quick lead tonight, because Chaparral is definitely improved compared to where they’ve been recently.”

But in the early going for the Cowboys, things probably didn’t seem much different than past meetings with the Wildcats. Las Vegas senior running back Reggie Bullock scored twice in the first six minutes to give Vegas a commanding lead.

“We talked this week about how Las Vegas High is supposed to play and that’s what we tried to come out and do,” said Bullock, who followed his 61-yard touchdown run with a 6-yard touchdown reception minutes later.

“Everyone kind of got their minds straight and we came out and did just what we talked about,” Bullock said. He rushed for 118 yards in the first half, but didn’t play in the second half because of a bruised knee.

At the same time that the Wildcats could do little wrong, Chaparral couldn’t move in the right direction.

Out of the Cowboys’ first 10 plays, only a 10-yard scramble by quarterback Breonta Griffin went for positive yardage. Everything else went either for no gain, negative yards or ended in a punt.

“We just got off to a slow start. With a team like that, which is so powerful, so aggressive, you can’t do that or they will stick you in a hole. There’s a reason they’ve won so many state titles,” Chaparral coach Fernando Carmona said.

The Wildcats didn’t take their foot off the gas in the second quarter, either.

Bullock — who had an 85-yard touchdown negated because of a penalty on the Wildcats’ first play of their third drive of the game — eventually capped off the 18-play series with a 1-yard scoring plunge.

Las Vegas added a fourth touchdown before the half, when Riyaadh Nevins recovered his own fumble in the end zone. The Wildcats held the Cowboys to just 17 yards rushing on 20 carries in the first 24 minutes. Take away Chaparral's six plays of 25 yards or more Friday, and the Cowboys' total offensive numbers would have been close to being in the red.

But not everything went perfectly for the Wildcats. A dozen or more penalties took away two touchdowns and at least 200 yards of offense.

“We killed ourselves with penalties,” said an agitated Faircloth, who had more than a few choice words for the free-flowing yellow flags that littered his team's side of the field. “We’ve got to take care of that, but we definitely will. We’re still trying to find out who we are.”

Andy Samuelson is a sports writer/editor for the Las Vegas Sun. He can be reached at [email protected] or 702-948-7837.

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