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Second round familiar

BAY KELLEY, Sierra Sun

Things seem familiar.

The Wolverines have advanced to the second round of the playoffs and, as often happens around this time of the season, they face the Moapa Valley Pirates.

Last year in the semi-finals, the Wolverines defeated the Pirates at Surprise Stadium, 36-6, and went on to defeat the Bishop-Manogue Miners for the state championship. Truckee defeated Moapa 20-7 in the semi-finals in 1996 and claimed the state championship over the Virgin Valley Bulldogs. In 1995, despite leading 20-0 at halftime, the Wolverines lost to Moapa in the state championship game, 21-20. The teams also met in the playoffs in 1992 (Pirates won the state championship), 1993 (Wolverines the won state championship) and 1994 (neither team went all the way.)

In all the teams’ meetings this decade, the recurring pattern is: the home team wins.

This year, Moapa hosts.

“I think that in this rivalry, there is a distinct advantage to playing at home,” Moapa Valley Athletic Director Nick Bowler said. “I’m glad we’re playing here (in Overton.)”

The rivalry became more volatile last year when Moapa Valley was one of the main advocates for having the Wolverines and the North Tahoe Lakers booted from the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association for being California teams. Two thirds of the NIAA vote favored keeping the schools.

“We lost,” Bowler said, “it’s over.”

“Really, it’s a great rivalry in a lot of ways,” Bowler said. “Truckee’s got a great football program. We know that, in football, if you’re going to state, you’re eventually going to have to go through Truckee.”

And vice-versa.

Moapa finished the season at 8-1 overall with a 6-0 division record. The Pirates won by an average of 36 points and recorded five shutouts on the season. Their average total offense per game (360 yards) more than doubled that of their opposition (153 yards.)

Against Spring Creek, in last week’s playoff game, the Pirates capitalized on eight turnovers, held the Spartans to only 141 total yards and won 44-8. The Pirates rushed for more than 160 yards.

Leading the rushing attack this season is Brian Adams. Adams carried the ball 111 times for 1,245 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Adams is followed by Adam Mora. Mora averaged 10.8 yards per carry on 68 attempts, scoring eight TDs.

The offensive leader is 6-feet-2-inch senior quarterback, Courtney May. May has a 58.2 completion percentage and has thrown for 989 yards and 15 touchdowns.

His main targets are Michael Attig and Brandon Jones with 16 and 13 receptions, respectively.

“We’ve had a relatively easy schedule this year,” Bowler said. “We haven’t had to test the pass, really, because the run’s been plenty effective.”

The Pirates roster has 31 players.

“We think Truckee has more size than us,” Bowler said, “and we hope to counter it with quickness. I think it’ll be a close game. A break here and there, the big plays, will determine who wins. It comes down to defense … always.”


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