Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 | 1:30 a.m.
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer preview the two biggest games of the week, Desert Pines at Moapa Valley and Green Valley at Canyon Springs. Keefer also takes amusement at Brewer's yearning for the old days before spread offenses overtook the football landscape.
OVERTON — The Moapa Valley High football team scored three touchdowns in the first quarter Thursday against visiting Desert Pines.
Desert Pines trailed 14-0 before even touching the ball, running just three plays in the first quarter.
That quick start was all Moapa Valley needed in a 27-13 victory, winning the battle of undefeated teams in the regular season finale to capture the Division I-A Sunrise League title and No. 1 playoff seed.
Moapa Valley recovered an onside kick to open the game. It took a 7-0 lead when quarterback Zak Hymas connected with Jeremy Waite for a 29-yard touchdown on a fourth-down play. Then, on the ensuing kickoff, a short kick got caught in the wind and Moapa Valley recovered.
Again, they had the ball. And with good field position.
“The wind, that is what we saw,” Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said of the decision to onside kick. “We just knew we weren’t going to be able to kick it deep and certainly didn’t want to kick it to their studs back there. We lucked out on a couple of them, kicked them up, one of those spur of the moment plays, and their kids kind of froze a little.”
Kaleb Bodily scampered for an 11-yard touchdown run a few plays later, and before most had found their seats, Moapa Valley had a 14-0 lead with 6:48 to play in the quarter.
Desert Pines would be forced to play from behind all night. Still, they made the game interesting.
Quarterback Iquan Corsey scored on runs of 1 and 21 yards in the second quarter to help Desert Pines trim its deficit to 20-13 at the break. Twice during the quarter, Moapa Valley had drives stall deep in Desert Pines territory.
“We left so much on the field tonight, just shot ourselves in the foot so many times,” Lewis said. “Getting those three scores early definitely put those guys on their heels, made them fight from behind, made it a different ballgame.”
Moapa Valley won the game in the third quarter, using its ground attack to drain the clock and keep the explosive Desert Pines offense on the bench. Desert Pines ran seven plays in the third quarter, losing about 17 yards.
Bodily rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns; Jared Reed finished with 142 yards and a score. That’s more than 300 yards on the ground with the Moapa Valley line overwhelming Desert Pines.
“They have a good defense, but we worked hard and were able to do our best,” Bodily said. “We have a good line and they were able to get a good push off.”
The Moapa Valley defense did the rest.
Justin Hughes twice intercepted Corsey in the fourth quarter, killing any chance of a Desert Pines rally. It was the lowest scoring output of the season for Desert Pines, which was limited to about 200 yards.
“We just kept putting pressure on their quarterback. We had people in the backfield all night,” Hughes said.
Moapa Valley will be the Sunrise’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs and next week will host Cheyenne. Desert Pines is the No. 2 seed and will host Clark.
It’s fair to say both teams will make a deep playoff run. Moapa Valley, of course, has played in eight of the last nine state championship games. They haven’t lost at home since 2007 and will play at least two games at home in the playoffs, needing four victories for the championship.
“This is our soil,” Lewis said. “I don’t like people coming over here and taking pieces of it with them. We will fight to the death to defend here.”
Don’t count out Desert Pines, either.
A comeback against Moapa Valley is a clear indicator they won’t be an easy out. Despite struggling to move the ball, Desert Pines coach Tico Rodriguez knows his team isn’t finished.
“Our kids have been down before. They just have a will to win and they don’t quit on each other” Rodriguez said. “We’ll be back. There is always hope with us because the kids know we have the playmakers to come back.”
Rodriguez added, “They were the better team tonight. Flat out the better team. All credit to them. There are some things we need to correct to play against such a quality team.”