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Truckee is convincing champ

Moapa Valley had Truckee quarterback Erik Holmer surrounded, and a game-changing sack seemed inevitable.

But Holmer somehow escaped the pass rush and found Sean Daniel for an 11-yard gain and a first down. With that play, Holmer and the Wolverines ended just about any chance of a Moapa Valley state championship Saturday.

Holmer passed for 285 yards and four TDs, and rushed for a score as the Wolverines beat the Pirates 34-10 for the Division I-A state title at Bishop Gorman.

It was the fourth consecutive Nevada state title for the California school. All four have come against Moapa Valley.

Holmer’s big third-down play helped extend Truckee’s game-changing drive. Moapa Valley had just scored to cut the lead to 14-10, but the Wolverines drove 69 yards on eight plays, capped by Holmer’s 1-yard scoring run.

“We had momentum,” Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said. “They made that big drive and just kind of sucked the life out of us right there. That was probably the key drive. They responded.

“That was a momentum killer for us.”

One play after Holmer escaped the pocket and completed the pass to Daniel for a first down, he had a 33-yard run to move the ball inside the Moapa 5.

It was just one of many big plays the senior made.

Moapa Valley (12-2) seemed in control early, moving the ball well and eating up clock. Moapa Valley ran 18 plays on its first drive, which took 9 minutes, 53 seconds. But the Pirates had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Kris Postma.

Moapa Valley’s second drive took 10 plays, but stalled at the Truckee 23.

Holmer made the Pirates pay, hitting Zak Pettit with an 80-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the ensuing drive to give Truckee (11-1) a lead it would never relinquish.

“It was huge,” Lewis said of Truckee’s 80-yard pass. “We had those two scoring opportunities early and didn’t come away with any points except those three points. Missed opportunities for us.

“It seemed like we just couldn’t get that one key play in the red zone.”

Moapa Valley had attempted just 129 passes all season, but threw 21 times Saturday, as the running game never got going. The Pirates entered averaging 338 rushing yards per game, but had only 147 on 42 carries.

“They’re tough to run against,” Lewis said. “They take all your strengths away and make you do things that you probably wouldn’t normally do. They’ve got good kids, and they’re well coached. You can’t beat them. They’re just tough.”

Moapa Valley’s leading rusher, Conner Mortensen, had only 40 yards on nine carries. He had 1,755 yards and 32 touchdowns heading into Saturday’s game.

“We just couldn’t get into any kind of offensive flow,” Lewis said. “They were keying (Mortensen), and that middle backer (Graham Christian), it seemed like we couldn’t get a block on him. He was just everywhere.”

Jared Repp led Moapa Valley with 62 yards on 13 carries. Kasen Hughes scored on an 11-yard run with 5:18 to go in the third quarter to lift the Pirates to within 14-10.

Josh Repp passed for 51 yards on Moapa Valley’s opening drive, but finished 8-for-20 for 88 yards. He often had little time to pass, as Truckee finished with five sacks, three by Pettit.

“(Pettit), we didn’t have a guy on the field that could block him,” Lewis said. “He killed us.”

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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