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high school football:

Desert Pines, Moapa Valley win semifinal football games, will meet for state title

2014 High School Football

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

From left, Desert Pines High School football players Andre Watts, Natron Auelua-Naki and Jon McCoy July 21, 2014.

Updated Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 | 8:35 p.m.

A Southern Nevada school will win high school football’s Division I-A state championship next week.

Moapa Valley of Overton and Las Vegas’ Desert Pines won state semifinal games today, advancing to face each other at 3 p.m. next Saturday at Bishop Gorman for the championship.

Moapa Valley crushed visiting Elko 40-7; Desert Pines traveled north and took down Churchill County of Fallon, 16-0.

Moapa Valley led Elko 14-0 with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first half when it faced a third down play from inside its 15-yard line. Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis planned to have his quarterback kneel to run out the clock before halftime. Then, Elko called a timeout.

“So, we drew up a play in the dirt on the sideline,” Lewis said.

That play was a Zach Hymas pass to R.J. Hubert for about 80 yards to bring the ball inside the Elko 10. On the next play, Hymas and Hubert hooked up again for a 21-0 lead at the break.

“That was a big momentum builder for us,” Lewis said.

Click to enlarge photo

From left, Moapa Valley High School football players Andrew Huerta, Zach Hymas, Cole Mulcock and R.J. Hubert July 21, 2014.

Hymas completed 16 of 21 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns, finding Hubert five times for 123 yards and two scores. Cole Mulcock caught six passes for 80 yards, and rushed six times for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Moapa Valley had 480 yards of offense and limited Elko to 104 yards, just 18 on the ground. Kaleb Bodily had 114 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries for Moapa Valley, including a 5-yard touchdown run on Moapa Valley’s initial drive. Twice on that drive, Moapa Valley picked up a first down on a fourth-down play, setting the tone early for a lopsided win.

Lewis knows the outcome won't be as lopsided next week against Desert Pines.

Moapa Valley beat Desert Pines 43-30 in the regular season, but Desert Pines held a three-point halftime lead.

“It will definitely be a chess match for us. It’s about stopping all their athletes and not letting the big play happen,” Lewis said.

Those athletes shined today in blanking Churchill County, which went undefeated in nine league games and was considered by some the favorite to win the state title. Desert Pines led 8-0 at halftime on Marckell Grayson's 25-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Morris. Grayson's 5-yard touchdown run with 1:54 remaining secured the victory, giving a Las Vegas school — other than Bishop Gorman, of course — a rare victory in the north.

Holding Fallon scoreless, including a goal-line stand in the first half, showed Desert Pines' success is more than its high-powered offense fueled by some of the classification's best athletes. Desert Pines is controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, coach Tico Rodriguez said.

"The kids are enjoying their victory right now," Rodriguez said on his team's bus ride back to Las Vegas. "We are going to let them enjoy it and get back at it on Monday."

Desert Pines improves to 11-1 overall. Its lone loss came to Moapa Valley.

"That's a well-coached team. We'll have our hands full," Rodriguez said of Moapa Valley.

This will be Desert Pines’ first state championship appearance since 2002. It is still looking for its first title. Moapa Valley last played in the state championship game in 2012. The Pirates have won 15 state titles, most recently in 2008.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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