Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 | 1:40 p.m.
Prep Sports Now returns from hibernation just in time for football season. Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer go through every league and discuss every team in town, giving predictions along and players to watch along the way.
Moapa Valley High is again one of the high school football teams to beat in the Division-IA.
The Pirates have earned their spot as an elite program, reaching the state championship game in eight of the past nine seasons. This year, coach Brent Lewis again likes their chances to make another deep run, but knows those aspirations could hinge on developing a certain group of players.
“We are one or two linemen away from being good,” the coach said. “We don’t have a lot of size, but we are getting some of the (small) kids to learn how fight and scrap in the trenches.”
While the line could be considered a weakness, it’s also a strength at one position. Senior tackle Mathew McDermand (6-foot-5, 270-pounds) is the top lineman in the classification, and has scholarship offers from UNLV and UTEP. Sam Rebman returns at offensive guard and defensive end to bring more stability up front, and senior Jordan Grow (6-foot-1, 190-pounds) is another solid player.
“We’ve had to tone Mat down a little bit in practice,” Lewis said. “I would hate to have to line up against him. He is going to be fun to watch.”
Moapa Valley controlled the opposition last year with its ground attack, rushing for 4,415 yards and 69 touchdowns, and gaining nearly 10 yards per carry. Senior Jared Repp (461 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012) and Justin Hughes should get a bulk of the carries in 2013.
The Pirates open the season Thursday at Cheyenne. It’s a battle of state semifinal participants from last season in one of the classification’s top nonleague games of the fall.
“They always have athletes, that’s for sure,” Lewis said. “There will be some matchup issues we’ll have to scheme against.”
Then, they’ll start game-planning for the rest of the season, looking to snap the runner-up curse. They have lost to Truckee in the past four state championship games.
“(The success) is something we never really even talk about,” Lewis said. “The kids have grown up around the program. They have seen the success we have had. I almost think they expect it. We have simply reloaded for so many years now in a row. A lot of that has to do with our community and the support we get from everyone.”