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3A Southern League: Moapa Valley tries to build on breakthrough championship season

Not much is different at Moapa Valley’s training camp these days.

That is, other than the fact the Pirates are coming off their first Class 3A state football title since 2000.

“Probably not that much different,” Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said. “We always carry high expectations for ourselves. We haven’t spent that much time talking about last year.”

Whether the Pirates are talking about last year or not, it was undoubtedly a breakthrough for a program that lost 10-7 in the 2006 3A state title game to Virgin Valley.

In the 2007 3A state title game, Moapa Valley rolled to a redemptive 35-14 win over Virgin Valley to wrap up a 9-3 season and clinch its 14th state title overall.

“It’s really exciting just to get back to do it again,” quarterback Max Jenkins said.

Jenkins, a third-year starter under center, pairs with fourth-year starting running back Brad Weiss to give the Pirates one of the most experienced backfields in 3A.

“We know what we’re going to do in certain situations,” said Weiss, who rushed for 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.

A key hurdle for Moapa Valley will be to replenish its receiving corps, which lost its four most productive players to graduation.

“Our speed is not quite as fast as we were last year,” said Jenkins, who had a touchdown-interception ratio of 20-9 last season. “We work around it and use what we’ve got.”

Moapa Valley also must replace two-time all-state middle linebacker Steven Jensen, but its defensive front figures to remain strong.

In fact, the Pirates might even be improved on defense, according to 6-foot-4-inch, 270-pound defensive tackle Tyler Lomprey.

“We could be better,” Lomprey said. “We’re flying around out there already. We’re already hitting hard.”

On both lines, the Pirates should be “as big and physical” as they’ve been in years, Lewis said.

That could go a long way toward Moapa Valley winning consecutive state titles for the first time since 1966 to 1968.

“Just last year even as a junior, that was the best feeling in the world,” Lomprey said. “Losing it as a sophomore was just about the worst.”

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