Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 | 2 a.m.
- You need to upgrade your Flash Player
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer return to the studio to discuss all of Las Vegas' high school football teams a week before the start of the season.
Moapa Valley High was supposed to win this football game.
The Pirates were undefeated heading into last season’s Division I-A state semifinals, looking to advance to the championship game for a seventh straight season. But they picked the wrong time for their worst game of the season, committing eight turnovers in a humbling loss to Churchill County.
Faith Lutheran went on to beat Churchill County to win the state championship, giving Moapa Valley plenty of inspiration for its offseason conditioning program. Not only are the Pirates out to avenge last season’s surprising loss, they now have competition for bragging rights as the South’s top team.
“We were absolutely devastated we didn’t get the job done,” Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said. “We are very motivated and driven to get back. It’s one of those games that are going to haunt us for a long time. It will definitely haunt me. I still have dreams about it.”
Lewis is direct in his goals for the season — anything less than winning a state championship would be a failure.
The Overton school is again expected to make another deep playoff run. They are the lone Division I-A team ranked in the Sun’s preseason top-10 and have the talented players, especially on offense, to live up to the preseason billing.
Senior quarterback Zach Hymas (6 foot 3, 185 pounds) passed for 1,812 yards and 25 touchdowns last year, and has a scholarship offer from Weber State.
Wide outs Cole Mulcock (6 foot, 170-pounds) and junior RJ Hubert (6 foot 1, 175-pounds) will give Hymas a weapon on each side of the field. Running backs Andrew Huerta and Kaleb Bodily each got significant carries last season, bringing a balance to the Moapa Valley offense that will be hard to defend.
While the offensive and defensive lines will have inexperienced players, Moapa Valley’s depth of quality skilled-position players — on both sides of the ball — should be give them an advantage.
Hymas too is out for redemption. He had six interceptions in loss to Churchill County in an uncharacteristic performance — he had just seven interceptions in 11 games entering the semifinals.
“I watched the tape (of the semifinal loss) a couple of times,” Hymas said. “You definitely don’t forget about it. You have to use it to motivate you. Learn from it. Your mistakes is what makes you better.”
Defensively, Huerta (5 foot 11, 185-pounds) and Bodily (5 foot 8, 165-pounds) combined for 132 tackles at linebacker in 2013. Most of the team’s in Moapa Valley’s Sunrise Region operate run-first offensive attacks, meaning both could surpass 100 tackles this season.
At defensive back, Mulcock led Moapa Valley with six interceptions last season. He’s easily one of the Division I-A’s best two-way players.
“We definitely have a good secondary — good cornerbacks and good safeties,” Mulcock said. “Also, we are known for our linebacker crew. We have a good linebacker crew. I think we’ll do good this year.”