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January 29, 2015

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Down by 12 at halftime, Spring Valley manages to beat Legacy

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer discuss the upcoming high school football season. They will let you know whether or not anyone can dethrone defending state champion Bishop Gorman, release their state title sleepers teams and give a quick breakdown of the area's 30-plus schools.

Spring Valley’s football team overcame a 12-0 halftime deficit and a 30-minute lightning delay to defeat Legacy, 13-12, in Friday’s season opener.

Spring Valley kicker Diyan Nedelchev kicked two second-half field goals, including one of 34 yards in the fourth quarter, to help the Grizzlies to victory.

“He told me he wasn’t going to let me down and he didn’t,” coach Marcus Teal said of Nedelchev. “He made two big kicks and that was the ball game. Defense and the kicking game helped us out tonight.”

Legacy led throughout most of the game, but costly penalties and turnovers allowed the Grizzles to stay in it. The Grizzlies defense shut down the Longhorns in the second half, which allowed Teal, a first-year coach, to pick up his first victory.

Longhorns junior running back Jordan Ireland rushed for two first-half touchdowns, one from 24 yards out and the other from 26 yards. Legacy had its first point-after attempt blocked and failed to convert a two-point conversion the second time around.

Legacy could have taken an even larger lead into the break had it not been for a clipping penalty on a LJ McMorris 60-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. It was just once of many costly penalties for the Longhorns.

After exchanging turnovers to start the second half, Spring Valley gained momentum on a crucial, 54-yard completion from quarterback Jordan Cox to wide receiver Eric Derkas on third-and-24 from their own 13 yard line.

Spring Valley running back Nick Santos scored from a yard out on fourth down just minutes later. Santos’ touchdown cut the Longhorns’ lead to 12-7 and energized the home crowd.

On the ensuing Longhorns possession, the Grizzlies defense rose up and stopped Legacy on three downs.

On the punt attempt, the Legacy long snapper snapped the ball low and through the legs of the punter. The Legacy punter fell on the loose ball but only after a 26 yard loss that left the Grizzlies with excellent field position at the Legacy 16 yard line.

The Longhorns managed to keep Spring Valley out of the end zone, but Nedelchev hit a 36-yard field goal into the wind to cut the deficit to 2 points at 12-10.

Legacy went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and gave Spring Valley the ball at the Legacy 40 yard line following a short punt into the wind.

Spring Valley running back Austyn Wallace had a clutch 21-yard run on the Grizzlies’ next possession to set up Nedelchev’s 34-yard, go-ahead field goal.

“Just line up, do whatever you do in practice, and you’re going to be successful,” Nedelchev said of his game-winner. “I am so happy.”

A 30-minute lightning delay followed Nedlchev’s field goal, but not even Mother Nature could stop the momentum the Grizzlies had created.

The victory did not come easily for coach Teal, though.

Longhorn running back McMorris dashed 66 yards for what appeared to be the go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute remaining. But the play was called back on a penalty, negating a second McMorris long touchdown on the evening

The Grizzlies forced a Legacy fumble on the next play and recovered in Legacy territory. Spring Valley lined up in victory formation for the final play and handed Neal his first victory.

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