Ray Brewer and Case Keefer recap all the action from rivalry week, and spend extra time looking ahead to a few of the evenly-matched games in week 9.
The Rancho High football team gained 18 yards on a play early in the first quarter against visiting Las Vegas in the annual “Bone Game.”
With each positive play, fans on the Rancho sideline got louder and louder. The crowd was again great with the bleachers packed from top to bottom on each side, cars forced to park in the street because there weren't enough spots, and a line to enter the stadium of about 100 people deep even though the game had already started.
Rancho hasn’t won in the rivalry series since the 1990s and most of the recent contests have been decided by the mercy rule of the running clock. But, as witnessed tonight, that lopsidedness hasn’t killed the intensity of the rivalry. It’s still, you can argue, the most significant in Nevada.
“The energy level is like no other. You get everyone’s best effort,” Las Vegas coach Erick Capitello said. “If you were out here and saw both stands, that’s what keeps the kids motivated. This game is like no other.”
Las Vegas wound up winning 47-0 for its 22nd straight win in the series, using 212 rushing yards and five total touchdowns from Elijah Hicks, and gaining another Northeast League victory on the heels of the playoffs. Las Vegas lost its first six games, but has won in consecutive weeks and appears to be an improved squad.
“Record doesn’t matter to us,” Capitello said. “When we made our nonconference schedule, we knew we would take some bumps and bruises. That is OK. When you look at the film, we weren’t an 0-6 team. We didn’t practice like an 0-6 team.
Hicks, the Wildcats’ four-year starting running back, has split time the past two games at quarterback because of injury. He amassed more than 200 yards rushing in each game, and tonight threw a touchdown to Chris Bunn.
Hicks had been lobbying to get a chance to attempt a pass. Tonight, he threw his first touchdown.
“I told coach, ‘I can take (the position) over. I can try my best at quarterback,’” Hicks said.
Capitello, a first-year head coach, loaded the Wildcats schedule in September with games against many of the city’s top teams. While they took their lumps against more-established programs such as Arbor View and Moapa Valley, they have found the way to peak at the right time of the season.
Las Vegas finishes the regular season next Thursday against Valley, needing a win to finish in second place of the Northeast and earn a home playoff game.
“Hopefully this is the start of something good to come,” Capitello said.