Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 | 12:10 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer run through some of the plethora of playoff possibilities on the lower level before getting to their picks.
In the final minute of the first half and with Moapa Valley leading by 14 points, Chaparral’s kickoff returner broke free for what appeared to be a sure-thing touchdown. Instead, Simmons chased him down for a touchdown-saving tackle to secure a 20-6 halftime lead.
Then, on the opening kickoff of the second half, Moapa Valley’s RJ Hubert scored on an 81-yard kickoff return to essentially put the game away and help the Pirates close the regular season with an undefeated record.
Moapa Valley, one of the favorites to win the Division I-A state title, secured home field advantage for its initial three playoff games by winning the Sunrise League title on Friday.
“Huge play from our kid chasing their kid from behind,” Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said. “That was the hugest play of the game, I thought. They could have had the momentum.”
Kaleb Bodily had three 2-yard touchdown runs for Moapa Valley in the first half. Each run came on a fourth down play — a calculated risk by Lewis.
“We wanted to get an early lead,” the coach said. “We felt like if we could get an early lead and make these guys play from behind, it would really change their play calling. They weren’t able to establish their run game. We took that away from them.”
With Chaparral forced to air in out, Moapa Valley recorded three interceptions, including one by Hubert. Two Chaparral quarterbacks combined to complete just 15 passes in 48 attempts.
“The big thing for is we have a new person step up every week and the whole team builds off that,” Hubert said.
Moapa Valley, the only Division I-A team with an undefeated record, hosts Spring Valley next week to open the playoffs. Earlier this season, the Pirates beat Spring Valley 19-6 — their closest margin of victory in nine wins.
“We start slow early in the year and coach them up,” Lewis said. “Our kids work hard and we get better. I feel like we are playing good football, yet we can get better.”
Richard Nelson and Casey Acosta had touchdowns for Chaparral, who had its four-game winning streak snapped. Still, the Cowboys are playoff qualifiers from the first time since 2007, and will play next week at Sierra Vista to open the postseason.