Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 | 11:46 p.m.
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Prep Sports Now returns from hibernation just in time for football season. Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer go through every league and discuss every team in town, giving predictions along and players to watch along the way.
The Moapa Valley High football team had double-digit passing attempts today in the first half against host Cheyenne and only held a slim touchdown advantage at halftime.
So, coach Brent Lewis made a small adjustment at the break — he went back to the Pirates’ bread and butter of rushing the ball. Last year, they rushed for more than 4,400 yards in advancing to the state championship game for the eighth time in nine seasons.
The first drive of the second half showed how quickly the perennial powers could take over a game with their rushing attack. They carried three times on a four-play drive, including Jared Repp’s 35-yard touchdown run in a 19-0 victory in the season opener for both teams.
“We got a little pass-happy in the first half,” Lewis said. “I told them (at halftime) that we are going to come out and run the football.”
The Moapa Valley defense did the rest.
The Pirates’ defensive line was constantly pressuring the Cheyenne offense, easily breaking through the line of scrimmage to make tackles in the backfield when Cheyenne rushed. That forced Cheyenne into 20 pass attempts, which they completed just four passes.
In total, Cheyenne had about 40 yards of total offense. The Desert Shields played virtually the entire game on their half of the field, only running a few plays inside the Moapa Valley 20.
“We always have been strong (defending) the run. We just did our work,” said Moapa Valley’s defensive lineman Sam Rebman, who had at least four tackles for a loss. “If we keep that (going), I think we are going to be pretty strong this year.”
It was far from a perfect performance for Moapa Valley. They lost two fumbles, had a few procedure penalties and weren’t as sharp as expected for a state-championship contender.
However, since it’s still August, Lewis knows there is plenty of time to fix the miscues. Beating Cheyenne, which last year advanced to the state semifinals, was a great start to the season.
“I knew we were going to make some mistakes,” the coach said. “We have the potential to be a pretty good football team if we learn how to line up and get the snap count off on the right count. If we can get rid of some of those penalties we won’t have drives stall out.”
Moapa Valley quarterback Zach Hymas started the scoring in the first quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run. Justin Hughes scored the other Moapa Valley touchdown on the Pirates’ second drive of the third quarter.