PHOENIX, ARIZ. — ThIMAG0631e River Valley Dust Devils came back to this city with one thing on their mind and that was to go back home as the Arizona Div. IV state football champions. After an emotional roller-coaster of a game, the Dust Devils finished the business they couldn’t one year ago—defeating the Lobos of Snowflake, 28-21. Senior running back Brandon Long—the one-man wrecking crew of defenses throughout Arizona—scored the winning touchdown with 1:31 left in the game.      “I just knew I wasn’t going down,” said Long after the game. “I saw the end zone and I wasn’t going to let them get me down.” Long rumbled 28 yards for the score and Brady Viles added the PAT, giving River Valley the seven-point lead. The defense did the rest, ending Snowflake’s hopes on a 4th down play that saw the Lobo’s unable to complete a pass that would have extended their last drive. Viles, who played the entire game—offense as quarterback and defense as the Dust Devils’ safety, as he always does, kneeled down twice to run out the clock. Pandemonium broke out as the clock ran out—River Valley, who fell short in last year’s championship game—losing to Blue Ridge, wouldn’t be denied this go-around. Win they did, but it wasn’t easy. Defense ruled the first half. After a scoreless first quarter, River Valley struck first, but it was defensive play that set up the offense. Less than two minutes into the second quarter, Dust Devil junior cornerback Brent Vegas recovered a Snowflake fumble at the Lobos’ 22-yard line. Five plays later, Long pushed the ball into the end zone on a 3yd run. Snowflake moved the ball down the field on the ensuing drive, but the Dust Devil defense made a stand when it counted the most. The Lobos had a first and goal at the 2-yard line. Their first play went for a three-yard loss. Two plays and one yard, later, Snowflake went for it on 4th and goal from the four. Stealing a defensive play reminiscent of Friday’s Arizona Wildcat goal-line stand against Arizona State, junior linebacker Jacob Lee stopped the Lobos’ quarterback at the two. Turnover on downs. First and ten Dust Devils. River Valley would move the ball to the 25yd line only to have their drive stall. On 4th down, Viles was back to punt when the center hiked the ball over his head. He went down, giving Snowflake a first and goal on the Dust Devil 10.  With less than a minute left in the half, the Lobos tied the game on a 7-yard TD pass. The second half started off electrifying for the Dust Devils. Less than a minute into the 3rd quarter, Viles, who hadn’t been getting much time to throw the ball, hit a streaking Andres Galvez over the middle, who scampered 82 yards for a touchdown. 14-7 River Valley at this point. Three minutes later, after stopping a fake punt on 4th down from the Lobos 20-yard line, Viles threw a 20-yard score to David Sanchez, giving River Valley some breathing room. Dust Devils led 21-7 with 9:27 left in the 3rdquarter. Snowflake was not about to surrender. They mounted a comeback that swung the momentum back onto their side and parlayed it back to a tie game. After scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run, the Lobos recovered a very unique onside kick and marched back down the field for two scores in less than two minutes. It was all tied 21-21 with 4:25 left in the game. River Valley kept their focus and worked their way down to the Lobo 28 yard line. From there, Long saw the end zone and that was all that was needed. “It was a great play,” Long said.  After the game, River Valley was given their State Championship trophy as family and friends flooded the football field, anxious to celebrate.

728x90-SWG-Safety-Web-Banner_2014