First in a series: Here are the top five high school state football championship games from the 2000s, as selected by the Review-Journal staff. Next: girls volleyball.
No. 5: Liberty 50, Centennial 7
2019, Class 4A, Sam Boyd Stadium
Daniel Britt threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Corey Hebert on the third play of the game, and the Patriots never trailed in winning their first state championship.
Zyrus Fiaseu ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries for Liberty, which rolled up 533 yards of total offense. The defense intercepted four passes, including one that Lehi Ausage returned for a TD.
“It represents a lot of hard work, sacrifice, time away from family for the coaches,” Liberty coach Rich Muraco said. “… This makes it worth it that we were able to accomplish something very few people can say.”
The Patriots scored 36 consecutive points after Centennial pulled within 14-7 on Jordan Smith’s 80-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
While the game itself turned into a rout, it was memorable because it marked the end of Bishop Gorman’s decadelong run of state championships. The Patriots stunned the Gaels 30-24 in overtime two weeks earlier, ending Gorman’s 115-game winning streak against in-state foes.
No. 4: Virgin Valley 10, Moapa Valley 7
2006, Class 3A, Arbor View High
Spencer Zarate made a 35-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter, and the Virgin Valley defense did the rest in the first meeting between the heated rivals with a state title on the line.
Virgin Valley tied the score on the final play of the first half, when Spencer Planck caught a pass from Dough Hafen at the 2 and backed his way into the end zone. The Bulldogs held the ball the entire third quarter, picking up small chunks of yardage to keep the chains moving and set up the game-winning field goal.
The Pirates had four possessions after Zarate’s kick but didn’t move past the Virgin Valley 46. Moapa Valley finished with 196 total yards and scored first, on a 35-yard pass from Max Jenkins to Brad Weiss with 3:08 left in the first half.
The Pirates got payback over the Bulldogs the next year with a 35-14 win in the 3A title game, the first of back-to-back crowns.
No. 3: Spring Mountain 68, Pahranagat Valley 46
2016, Class 1A, Clark High
Eric Brooks led the Golden Eagles on 10 scoring drives, finishing each with either a touchdown rush or pass, and they shocked the Panthers to end their national eight-man record 104-game winning streak.
Brooks threw for 499 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for 96 yards and two scores for Spring Mountain. Pahranagat Valley had defeated Spring Mountain 12 times by a combined 420 points during the streak, including a 36-18 decision in the regular season.
“If it wasn’t for Pahranagat Valley, we wouldn’t be here,” Spring Mountain coach Aaron Masden said. “They pushed us to improve our schemes and push our kids to get better to compete with them.”
Tyriq McKinney caught 10 passes for 203 yards and five touchdowns, and Damariyae Royal added 131 yards receiving and a score on 11 catches. LaShawn Young grabbed five passes for 90 yards and two scores, including the clinching 61-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Tabor Maxwell threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 122 yards and three scores for the Panthers in the final game of his four-year career as a starter.
No. 2: Las Vegas 17, McQueen 10
2001, Class 4A, UNR
Antoine White scored a 3-yard touchdown run in overtime, and the Wildcats held McQueen when linebacker Tommy Colbert tackled Lancer quarterback Jeff Rowe on fourth-and-goal at the 5.
It was the 14th state championship for Las Vegas but first since 1959.
White ran for 159 yards and the game-winning score to run his totals to 2,949 yards rushing and 48 touchdowns for the season, but the day belonged to the Wildcats’ defense.
“Our guys did a good job all day,” White said. “I give it all to the defense.”
The Wildcats sacked Jeff Rowe six times, and the Lancers had 244 yards of total offense. The Wildcats led 10-0 after Steve Creech hit Corey Williams for a 37-yard touchdown with 8:37 left in the second quarter.
McQueen’s touchdown came shortly thereafter. After a White fumble, Rowe hit Corey Patin for a 37-yard TD with 4:39 left in the first half. Clint Stitser tied the score with a 36-yard field goal with 1:29 left in regulation.
No. 1: Moapa Valley 42, Desert Pines 36
2014, Class 3A, Bishop Gorman
The Pirates appeared to be well on their way to a fifth straight loss in the 3A championship game when they trailed 36-14 with less than eight minutes left.
But they rallied to tie the score, and Zach Hymas hit R.J. Hubert for a 10-yard touchdown in overtime. On the next play, Desert Pines’ Dillard Davis couldn’t handle a handoff, and Moapa’s Bo Redd pounced on the ball to clinch the victory.
“We’ve been right here too many times to come away disappointed, and it seemed like we were going to do it again,” Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said. “To get over this hump and get this monkey off my back, I’m on cloud nine.”
Hymas threw for 303 of his 378 yards after halftime, and Kaleb Bodily had 71 yards and two scores rushing and five catches for 128 yards and a touchdown for the Pirates, who trailed 20-0 at halftime. Hubert had six receptions for 148 yards.
Isaiah Morris ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns rushing and added a 7-yard receiving score for the Jaguars, who dominated Spring Creek 39-6 the next season for their first of back-to-back 3A titles.