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September 1, 2014

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high school football:

Moapa Valley survives scare against Virgin Valley, books another trip to state semis

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Moapa Valley High football players (from left) Sam Rebman, Jordan Grow and Mat McDermand before the 2013 season.

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Sunrising

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer celebrate the start of the Sunrise Region playoffs with an all-encompassing look at the first round of games. Don't worry; they save time for discussion on Palo Verde vs. Arbor View and the Division 1-A quarterfinals

Moapa Valley High football coach Brent Lewis had an eerie feeling about his team’s playoff game tonight against Virgin Valley.

While Moapa Valley was victorious in the regular season meeting between the rivals, that game was closely contested and the Virgin Valley offense enjoyed some success.

“After we won that first game, I was worried about this game,” Lewis said. “The team that loses has all of the advantages when it comes to adjustments.”

Lewis’ fears, however, didn’t manifest into reality. The Pirates booked their 10th consecutive trip to the state semifinals, following a 20-13 victory over Virgin Valley.

Moapa Valley (11-0) will travel north to Fallon to take on Churchill County in the Division I-A state semifinals next Saturday.

A win would send the Pirates to their fifth consecutive state championship game.

“We’ve been on the short end four years in a row, but you have to get (to the state championship) first,” Lewis said. “That’s our goal, and we definitely are driven by those four straight losses. We’re hungry as we’ve every been, but we have to take care of Churchill.”

Against Virgin Valley (8-3), it wasn’t easy, and Lewis’ thoughts could have become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Pirates were less than sharp in the first half, committing three turnovers (two interceptions in a fumble) in their own territory. Luckily for Moapa Valley, the Bulldogs weren’t able to capitalize, leading a 6-6 tie entering halftime.

“I felt lucky that we were able to keep them out two or three times in the second quarter,” Lewis said. “They could have scored three touchdowns on us.”

Moapa Valley took the lead when Jeremy Waite caught his second touchdown pass from Zach Hymas before adding another touchdown on a Kaleb Bodily 25-yard touchdown run.

Virgin Valley made things interesting late, when Garrett Leavit tossed his second touchdown pass to DeVonte Milligan to cut the lead to seven.

Moapa Valley recovered the onside side, but had to convert a 4th-and-1 at midfield to seal the victory.

“We didn’t want to give them the ball back,” Lewis said. “They gave us fits all night. I felt pretty good to win the game. It’s one of those things where you earn your paycheck.”

Hymas completed 14-for-29 passing for 221 yards with two touchdowns.

Leavitt tossed for 330 yards on 25-of-44 passing with two touchdowns in the losing effort.

Paul Delos Santos can be reached at 990-2416 or mail to [email protected] Follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/pauliedelos.

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