Moapa Valley freshman Kelan Weiss was only playing quarterback because the two players ahead of him on the depth chart had to sit out the first quarter for violating team rules.
Weiss wasn’t even expected to throw a pass, but the freshman made the most of his opportunities Saturday, completing all three of his passes and leading the Pirates on two first-quarter scoring drives en route to a 39-20 win over visiting Faith Lutheran in the Class 3A league playoffs.
Moapa Valley (7-3) plays at Spring Creek (6-4) at 1 p.m. next Saturday in the Class 3A state semifinals.
“We had a couple kids break some rules yesterday,” Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said. “Actually, our backup and our quarterback, so we brought up the freshman and he came in and played tough. That was the key to the game.”
Weiss’ biggest play came on third-and-5 on the team’s first scoring drive when he hit Shilo Sandoval with an 8-yard pass for a first down. On the next play, fullback Steven Jensen scored on an 11-yard run, and the Pirates took a 7-0 lead with 2:44 to go in the first quarter.
“The key play was (Weiss) making that slant pass early,” Lewis said. “We weren’t planning on even throwing the ball with him, but we got in a third-and-long and had to. I tell you what, that freshman stepped up and played a solid quarter.”
Jensen added a 25-yard TD run with 45 seconds to go in the quarter, giving Moapa Valley a 14-0 lead before regular quarterback Max Jenkins had even taken a snap.
“That was great,” Lewis said. “What a confidence boost.”
Jenkins led the Pirates on a 65-yard scoring drive on his second series, capped by a 4-yard TD pass to Shaun Hilton that made it 20-0.
Faith Lutheran cut the lead to one score after a pair of TD passes by Max Done: a 27-yarder to Diontea Wright, and a 49-yarder to David Sperry that made it 20-13 with 11:12 to go in the third quarter.
But two scoring passes from Jenkins to Joseph Rebman sandwiched around a 2-yard TD run by Brad Weiss put the game out of reach.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that we can go to; we don’t have to just give it to one guy,” Lewis said.
Jensen finished with 127 yards on 14 carries, and Brad Weiss rushed for 113 yards on 26 carries for the Pirates.
Done passed for 264 yards, and Wright had eight catches for 105 yards and two TDs to lead Faith Lutheran (6-4).
• Virgin Valley 42, Boulder City 24 — At Mesquite, Doug Hafen had three touchdown runs, passed for a score and returned an interception for another TD as the Bulldogs (10-1) beat the Eagles (3-7) to move into the 3A state semifinals.
Hafen completed 10 of 15 passes for 225 yards, including a 23-yard scoring pass to Terran Leavitt. Hafen also had TD runs of 4, 2 and 2 yards, and returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown.
Leavitt caught seven passes for 164 yards, and Colton Teerlink rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown for Virgin Valley, which hosts Fernley (7-3) in the state semifinals at 1 p.m. next Saturday.
• Tonopah 44, Mountain View 8 — At Tonopah, Scott Thibodeaux rushed for 218 yards and five touchdowns as the Muckers (9-1) dominated the Saints (7-3) to move into the Class 1A semifinals.
Thibodeaux had TD runs of 51, 17, 32, 25 and 76 yards. The Muckers will play Coleville (10-0) next Saturday in the state semifinals. A coin toss will determine which team hosts the game.Preps Central