Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015 | 3 p.m.
With the recent slate of underwhelming performances, Ray Brewer and Case Keefer can't help but look ahead a couple weeks to Centennial vs. Arbor View and imagine a world where Liberty and Desert Pines play each other.
The Desert Pines High football team’s road to winning the state championship just got more difficult.
The Jaguars, the favorites to win the Division I-A title, were forced to forfeit two Sunrise League games today after it was determined they used an ineligible player. The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association ruled Desert Pines had to forfeit wins Sept. 11 against Moapa Valley and Sept. 18 against Chaparral, said Donnie Nelson, the NIAA’s assistant director.
Moapa Valley and Chaparral each improved to 4-0 in league games; Desert Pines fell to 3-2. With defeats to both teams and just one league game left, the best the Jaguars can finish is third place. Four Sunrise teams make the playoffs.
The athlete, who played last season at another Las Vegas area school, didn’t play in Desert Pines’ initial two games of the season while going through the eligibility process. Desert Pines only played him after it thought he was ruled eligible.
The NIAA spent nearly two weeks trying to determine the player’s eligibility before today’s announcement.
Desert Pines still should be considered a state favorite, but it won’t be easy. Instead of hosting home playoff games through the state championship, it will be on the road, including traveling to Northern Nevada. And they’ll have to win at Moapa Valley again to reach the state semifinals.
Desert Pines finally beat Moapa Valley 34-20 on Sept. 11, but Moapa Valley had seven turnovers and could have won. Moapa Valley beat Desert Pines in last year’s state championship game, erasing a three-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter.
Desert Pines coach Tico Rodriguez said school officials told players Tuesday about the forfeits, and most had already heard rumblings of it happening.