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September 1, 2014

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high school football:

Moapa Valley blanks Lowry to reach seventh straight state championship game

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Moapa Valley football players, from left, Conner Mortensen, Matthew McDermand and Sean McConnell, July 26, 2012.

Prep Sports Now

Projecting the rest of the playoffs

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Bishop Gorman vs. Palo Verde. Arbor View vs. Centennial. The start of the Sunrise region playoffs. The semifinals of the Division 1A playoffs. It's a packed week of high school football for Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer to break down on this episode of Prep Sports Now.

The Moapa Valley High football team needed just one play Saturday to take the lead against visiting Lowry High of Northern Nevada in the Division I-A state semifinals.

A double pass from Landon Willard to Sean McConnell went for a 45-yard touchdown, and the Pirates’ defense did the rest in limiting Lowry to 120 yards of offense in a 43-0 victory.

Moapa Valley advances to the state championship game for the seventh consecutive season, where it will face Truckee (Calif.) for the fifth straight year in the title game. Moapa Valley won the crown in 2008 but has lost the past three years.

Truckee beat Cheyenne of North Las Vegas, 26-18, in Saturday’s other semifinal and has won 58 of its past 59 games.

“Truckee is one of the toughest teams to prepare for,” Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said. “They aren’t predictable (on offense). You have to be very disciplined. And moving the ball against their defense isn’t easy. They are very well-coached. Their kids always come ready to play and believe they can win any game.”

Moapa Valley will have to duplicate its performance against Lowry. They dominated the line of scrimmage in out-rushing Lowry 303-91, and most of the game was played on the Lowry side of the field.

Moapa Valley led only 14-0 at halftime but four times had the ball inside the Lowry 10-yard line and couldn’t score.

Conner Mortensen led the Pirates in rushing with 120 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, while McConnell carried the ball five times for 58 yards and a touchdown. Casen Hughes rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown, and also scored a receiving touchdown.

The state championship is 6 p.m. next Saturday at Bishop Gorman’s Fertitta Field. Moapa Valley has played in the finals in eight of the past nine years.

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

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