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May 22, 2019

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high school football:

Moapa Valley rises to challenge against upper-division Legacy

High School Football Media Day 2015 Steve Marcus

Steve Marcus

Moapa Valley Pirates, from left, RJ Hubert (11), Nate Cox (12), and Dennis Whitmore (75) during Las Vegas Sun’s High School Football media day, Monday, July 27, 2015.

For years, the Moapa Valley Pirates have ruled the water in the small pond known as Division I-A.

Friday night, the defending I-A state champions made the jump to the Division I sea and sunk the Legacy Longhorns.

The Pirates (3-2, 1-1) used a fourth-quarter comeback and a big night from senior back R.J. Hubert to take down Legacy 32-21 in Moapa.

“Since I’ve been coaching, I can remember back in 2009 when we started playing top teams,” Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said. “We try to take as many upper division teams as we can, and we have beat a few of them.”

Moapa Valley trailed Legacy 14-12 at halftime, and again 21-20 to begin the fourth quarter.

Senior running back Sterling Simmons broke free from 41 yards out to put the Pirates up 26-21 in the fourth quarter. Simmons finished the game with 13 carries for 71 yards and one touchdown.

Then Hubert — who scored the Pirates’ first touchdown on a 94-yard scamper in the first quarter — ran in another touchdown for 18 yards to seal Moapa Valley’s win.

“In the Desert Pines game we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties and fumbles,” said Lewis, who was proud of his team for only turning the ball over once against Legacy Friday night. “Our focus was to take care of the ball, and in the fourth quarter we finally put it all together.”

Hubert finished the game with 144 yards and two touchdowns on only eight carries, and senior quarterback Nate Cox threw for 138 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Perhaps the Pirates' most impressive accomplishment was limiting Legacy’s star running back Tiger Geeslin to just over 100 yards.

“It was a physical, hard-hitting battle that went back and forth,” Lewis said. “I thought Legacy was going to give us everything we could handle and they did.”

The Pirates now go back to Division I-A play where they have dominated, but return with more confidence than ever.

“It challenges our kids and gives us so much confidence to beat a good team like Legacy,” Lewis said. “It’s tough to come out to our place and beat us. We get a good crowd and play really well out here.”

Jesse Granger can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Jesse on Twitter at twitter.com/JesseGranger_.

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