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November 27, 2014

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high school football:

Las Vegas takes another Bone Game victory against Rancho, continues to be one of the state’s best teams

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Sam Morris

After beating Rancho 49-12, Las Vegas’ Kaveo Walker holds the rivalry trophy, a bronzed cow bone, above his head Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011.

Las Vegas vs. Rancho

After beating Rancho 49-12, Las Vegas' Kaveo Walker holds the rivalry trophy, a bronzed cow bone, above his head Thursday, Oct.  20, 2011. Launch slideshow »

High school football rivals fight for bone

KSNV coverage of the Bone Game between high school football rivals Rancho and Las Vegas High School, Oct. 20, 2011.

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Farrell Victor has been waiting all year for someone to punt the ball in his direction.

The Las Vegas High senior finally got his chance Thursday in one of the Wildcats’ most important football games of the season, returning a punt 59 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of “Bone Game” against visiting Rancho to help the Wildcats win for the 16th straight time in the rivalry, 49-12.

Victor rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns and the Wildcats held Rancho scoreless in the second half to continue their impressive domination in the series. Las Vegas typically beats Rancho by lopsided scores, with the past four contests decided by an average of 38 points.

Victor’s punt return gave Las Vegas a 35-12 advantage and essentially sealed the victory.

“I tell (my teammates) all the time if they kick one to me I would take it back. I had to keep my word,” Victor said.

The “Bone Game,” where the winning team receives possession of a bronzed cow bone that has been part of the rivalry for decades, is widely considered Nevada’s most significant high school gridiron rivalry. Fittingly, Thursday’s game didn’t disappoint with the bleachers packed to capacity on both sides.

“It is more the community and the alumni as much as it football,” Las Vegas coach James Thurman said of the rivalry’s history. “It is just special. It is the way high school football here in town should be every week. That is the way it is back East, in Midwest, Texas and California. They fill stadiums like this. Unfortunately, it is just one or two nights a year we get to see it.”

Las Vegas never trailed with quarterback Hasaan Henderson scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run less than three minutes into the game to open the scoring. Henderson completed 9-of-12 passes for 108 yards and three touchdowns to team with Victor for another “Bone Game” victory. The duo had a part in each of Las Vegas’ seven touchdowns.

They have been teammates together the last three seasons, turning the annual game with Rancho into their personal showcase. They take pride making their mark and carrying on a tradition in a game with such wide interest throughout the valley.

“We left our legacy,” Henderson said.

Las Vegas (8-0, 6-0 Northeast), which is one of two undefeated teams in the Las Vegas Valley, will see its schedule get tougher starting next week when it closes the regular season against Canyon Springs for the Northeast title. There will always be critics that argue Las Vegas is the best team in a weak league and far from one of the area’s top programs.

Talk with Henderson and Victor, however, and they will tell you their team deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as other top teams — Bishop Gorman, Palo Verde, Liberty and Arbor View.

“I think we are good enough to compete with anybody,” Victor said. “Just let everyone keep underestimating us and we will keep playing our game.”

It sure appeared that way against Rancho.

Rancho kept the game competitive through the first quarter, scoring its first touchdown on a 3-yard run from Cody Hafen with 2:32 to play in the first. However, Rancho missed a 2-point conversion attempt and Las Vegas scored 21 unanswered points to take a commanding lead.

With Victor and Henderson leading the way, Las Vegas feels it can score with anyone it lines up against. After all, winning the “Bone Game” was just the first of several goals — naturally capped by a state title.

“I believe (we) are as good as any team in the state,” said Henderson, who threw touchdown passes to Joshua Mayfield, Andrew Moreland and Vince Castro. “Just because we play on this side, it doesn’t really mean anything. Playing teams that are not up your par, if you blow them out, it means you can play with anyone. It is hard to beat a team not up to your par. Usually you play down to their level and we haven’t done that yet. I feel we are as good as the Palo Verdes, Arbor Views and Gormans.”

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