As it turns out, all Isaac Valles needed was comfort.
New to the varsity level, but stepping into the spotlight of quarterbacking the top Class 4A team in the state, Valles was a mess in his debut last week, an emphatic East High win over Pine View. He never felt at ease with the spotlight and the offense. He didn’t demonstrate command of his huddle.
Fast-forward seven nights, and he had a lack of butterflies. Valles was the exact opposite on Friday night, accounting for five touchdowns as the Leopards defeated West 48-9 in a three-hour, penalty-plagued game between rivals.
“I just had to get the jitters out,” Valles said. “I thought the offense did a great job all around. The offensive line opened up holes, and we all just kind of took advantage.”
Valles, a junior, ran for three scores, each from short distances. He negotiated Brandon Matich’s option-based offense without many mistakes. He showcased his strong arm with a deep touchdown pass to Utah State commit John Fakahafua. He hit Jewka Patetefa for a 9-yard score early on.
And, of course, the East defense was unyielding. The first team didn’t allow a touchdown, as West scored only on the backups late in the fourth quarter. The Leopards’ front four, led by Korey Rush and Sesi Salt, consistently found their way to Panthers quarterback Alex Espinoza.
“We’re pretty good on the front seven,” Matich said. “We wanted to get into the backfield. We knew that West had a good team, and we wanted to play mistake free.”
Combined, the two teams amassed 42 penalties, contributing to the length of the game. East pulled away in the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns.
R Leopards QB Isaac Valles accounts for five touchdowns.
• East pulls away with 21 points in the second quarter.
• The Leopards improve to 2-0 on the season.