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Pirates sink Lowry, will play for state title

Moapa Valley’s football team used a trick play to score a touchdown on its first snap Saturday.

The Pirates were so dominant defensively, it would have been the only points they needed.

Moapa Valley handed Lowry its first shutout of the season with a 43-0 rout of the Buckaroos in a Division I-A state semifinal at Overton.

“We played just about as well as we could,” Pirates coach Brent Lewis said of his defense. “Defensively, we maybe don’t get enough credit, but we can play some defense, and I thought we played really well.

“It’s all about studying film, and our kids put hours in this week every day before we practiced. Knowing your opponent, that’s the key to playing defense.”

Moapa Valley (12-1) advanced to meet Truckee (10-1) in the state title game at 6 p.m. Saturday at Bishop Gorman.

The Pirates used some gadgetry to score on their first play. Josh Repp took the snap and threw a lateral to Landon Willard, who then fired a 45-yard TD pass down the left sideline to Sean McConnell.

“It was definitely pretty fun,” McConnell said. “Coach pulled that from under his sleeve. We were saving it for a time like this, so we busted it out.”

Conner Mortensen added an 8-yard TD run 5 minutes, 52 seconds before halftime, and McConnell’s 2-point conversion run made it 14-0.

McConnell weaved his way for a 22-yard TD run to cap a five-play, 56-yard drive to begin the second half.

Kasen Hughes scored on a 14-yard run and a 7-yard pass from Repp for Moapa Valley, which also got a 2-yard TD run from Mortensen and a 28-yard field goal by Kris Postma after halftime.

The Pirates held the Buckaroos (10-2) to 98 total yards, including 16 plays for negative yardage.

“(Lowry) is definitely a good team. We respect them a lot,” McConnell said. “But we game planned a lot and watched a ton of film, so that helped a lot.

“Kasen Hughes and Justin Hughes, our middle linebackers, they’re always making plays for us.”

Mortensen rushed for 116 yards and two TDs on 20 carries for the Pirates.

McConnell had four receptions for 109 yards and a TD and added 62 yards and a TD on five rushes.

“I have full confidence in handing it to any one of them,” Lewis said of his running backs. “If they’re stopping one guy, we can always get it to someone else. It makes us much tougher to defend.”

Moapa Valley advanced to a state title game for the seventh straight season, but the Pirates will be looking for their first crown since taking the Class 3A title in 2008.

Truckee has won the past three state title games over Moapa Valley, including a 21-6 victory last season.

“(Truckee) has outplayed us and outcoached us the last few years,” Lewis said. “So it’s going to be a matter of us matching them scheme-wise, but we’ve got to make more plays than them.”

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