Tonopah steamrolled Sandy Valley on Friday to win their Class 1A state quarterfinals game in front of a home crowd.
The Muckers defensive line held the Sidewinders scoreless, while the team’s offense racked up 72 points to show why Tonopah (8-2) will be a serious contender for the 2023 1A state title.
Alex Caldera-Avelar, Samuel Nichols, Dustin Otteson and Cody Pippin shared the status of co-MVPs of Friday’s game and have been consistent leaders for this deeply talented Tonopah team.
Case in point: Freshman Dustin Otteson is ranked No. 21 in the nation for sacks (12.5 total) and No. 12 for punt return yards (38.6 average). Senior Samuel Nichols has five QB hurries to lead the Muckers this year. And senior Cody Pippin is ranked in the top 16 in Nevada for two stats, top 16 in Division 1A for two stats, and top 5 in 1A Central (8-man) for another stat.
Next up: Eureka
Tonopah will meet the undefeated Eureka Vandals on Saturday in Beatty to face off in the state semifinals game. A win this weekend would put the Muckers in the state championship game on Nov. 18 against the winner of Pahranagat Valley and Virginia City, who also play Saturday in Beatty.
Muckers posting points
No. 1 seed Eureka (9-0) shouldn’t discount No. 2 seed Tonopah, which has been on a scoring frenzy this season.
A warning for the Vandals’ defense: When the Muckers win, they usually win BIG.
Going into the quarterfinals match last weekend, the Muckers had just clinched a huge 62-24 victory against Round Mountain. Drew Otteson threw for 257 yards and five touchdowns while completing 72 of his passes in that game.
The Muckers lit up 62 points on the scoreboard in their Oct. 13 win against Indian Springs; 66 points in their Oct. 6 win against Spring Mountain; 70 points in the Sept. 29 win against Beatty; 70 points in the Sept. 8 win against Laughlin; and 60 points in their Sept. 1 win against Trona.
In a game where the team with the most points win, who could really bet against Tonopah? Go Muckers!
Jeff Wollard contributed to this report.