It was just three years ago that The Meadows was playing eight-man football because of a lack of numbers and interest.
In November, the Mustangs lost 35-26 to Yerington in the Class 2A state championship game at Allegiant Stadium.
This season, they should have an even better chance to claim their first state title since 2009 — the last time a Southern team went all the way in the classification.
“Everything points in that direction,” said The Meadows coach Jack Concannon, a former UNLV center during the Ron Meyer and Tony Knap days who got back into coaching and education after stints as a TV sportscaster in Las Vegas and Seattle.
“I’ve got 12 seniors who played in the (championship) game last year, and the program has advanced to where we are scheduling JV games and we’ve got freshmen coming out — I’m waiting for helmets to be delivered because we don’t have enough.”
The Meadows finished 11-2 last season and came within a couple of bad snaps and a missed two-point conversion of upsetting Yerington under Allegiant’s bright lights. Yerington and Northern rival Pershing County have won every 2A championship since The Meadows claimed titles in 2008 and 2009.
With quarterback Sean Gosse, who threw for 31 touchdowns as a junior and completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,182 yards, 1,000-yard running back Dawson Levine and top receiver John McGill (51 receptions, 14 TDs) also returning, the Mustangs are expected to light up the scoreboard again.
Pulling the trigger
Gosse stands 6 feet, 2 inches and, despite weighing just 165 pounds, has attracted attention from college scouts.
“If he was 6-2 and 185, everybody would be knocking my door down,” Concannon said of his talented quarterback. “But we’ve got the best trigger man, and we’re going to throw. When you’ve got a guy who can do it like he can, it makes being a head coach real easy.”
The Meadows went 7-0 in the 2A South last season, when it was tested by Lincoln County (20-13) and Democracy Prep (13-12). Along with those two, Concannon said his fellow UNLV football alumnus Nate Oishi is building a solid program at Lake Mead Academy and suggested their game during Week 10 could have conference and state playoff implications.
But it’s probably going to take a special team and a special effort to prevent The Meadows from attending to some unfinished business.
During last year’s awards dinner, Concannon said he made The Meadows players get up and sing “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now.”
“McFadden & Whitehead,” he said of the 1970s rhythm and blues artists and their signature hit whose chorus proclaims “We’re on the move” and “We’ve got the groove.”
“I remind them of that all the time,” Concannon said. “This is not over.”
Class 2A Southern League predictions
1. The Meadows
2. Democracy Prep
3. Lincoln County
5. Lake Mead
6. White Pine
7. Calvary Chapel