The fall season is over and with it the hopes and dreams of the region’s prep athletes. I compiled a brief summary of the season and the champions that won.
“Give it all”, “Leave it all” and “Win it all” were part of a change in attitude Trojans Coach Don Boulden tried to instill in his team and for the most part he did.
The Trojans men’s soccer program began its season with a new philosophy from a new coach. Boulden, a Nye County deputy sheriff, cleaned up the act of the team, a team known for its infighting.
The team finished with a 6-8 league record and 7-10 overall. They will miss the leadership of senior Brandon Hastings next year.
Is Boulden on the right track? Sure he is. Anytime you increase the amount of wins you are on the right track and with so many young players on the team, I see him in the playoffs next year and the year after for sure. In addition, he has a young team and is only losing four seniors.
The Sunset league leaders, Clark and Western both failed to advance to the state tourney. Once again it was Tech from the Sunrise League, who took home the state crown by defeating Sunrise Mountain.
In the Divsion 1-A women’s Soccer, Pahrump was the favored to repeat as champions. There was not a single southern team that could beat them in head to head action. The team featured the quick, hard-hitting scoring by senior Sydney Sladek who broke a state record for most goals scored in a career and the scoring of the Chaffee sisters, Kristen and Paige. Also no Southern teams successfully penetrated the defensive line of Lexi Smith, Alyssa Turner, Brittany Klenczar and Ashlyn DiBlasi. The team was just loaded with talent.
Another big loss for the team will be the technical skills of senior Courtney Lindsay. Truly one of the most accurate kickers on the team.
The two Southern teams were a repeat of last year’s teams in the state tourney, Pahrump Valley and Faith Lutheran, and everyone believed them to be the team to beat.
I talked with Northern sports editors and other sports writers in the South and they all agreed with me that Pahrump could not lose at state. None of us saw South Tahoe coming. I should have seen the writing on the wall when I heard Faith lost to South Tahoe 2-1 at state. I remembered getting the news on the phone and I literally laughed at the result. I still believed in Pahrump. I went to the game and was in total shock when they lost to South Tahoe 3-2 in the title game.
Will the Trojans return to state? I can see them doing it, but it will depend on the coaching staff that Larmouth puts together. Strong sources tell me that Joe Sladek will not return next year, but this is not official yet. Larmouth will have a young team with the experience of being in a title game and many young players who are capable of putting the ball into the net. Three of the Chaffee sisters will return. Alyssa Turner and Ashlyn DiBlasi will be back and as far as players that can score Gabby Vasquez will only be a junior.
This season the Trojans Football team distinguished itself as a running team with the tough-inside running of Senior Scott Maughan who was the backbone of the offense. He had 158 carries for 716 yards. He too will be missed on defense for as a linebacker he had 28 tackles and 47 assist.
Of course, of all the athletes who will be missed on the team, AJ Segura is at the top of the list. I remember after one of the games I had just seen AJ making a tackle. He hit the guy hard to stop the other team from making a first down and then he was in the next play running ten yards down the sideline. I just recall saying, ‘What an athlete this guy is.’
Segura was an iron-man. He proved this year what an all-round athlete he was. He played defense and offense for the Trojans this year and led the Trojans with 13 receptions for 301 yards and as a running back he had 79 carries for 281 yards. On defense he was second in solo tackles with 34.
The team will also be looking for a new punter/kicker as senior Chad Uyeno moves on. Uyeno was a beast of a kicker with 22 punts for 787 yards and his longest punt being 72 yards. He will be missed.
The Trojans went 3-5 overall and 2-4 in league play. The team finished in a three-way tie with Cheyenne and Clark and because of the complex formula used by the NIAA to break a tie, Pahrump ended out of the playoff picture and in fifth place.
Many of the Trojans faithful see Joe Clayton as the answer to Pahrump returning as a football power and they are right. Clayton is a hard-working coach who has a passion for the game.
I believe for next year, the Trojans most likely will work on balance. They will have a strong arm in junior quarterback TJ Milk who had a very productive year, but just has to work on his reads, when not to throw the ball. He had 28 completions for 494 yards, but he had 5 interceptions.
Next year I see tight end Brian England becoming a bigger threat because he is a big target.
I believe the Trojans will need to work on the run defense and the passing game to get to the playoffs next year.
In 1-A football Faith Lutheran advanced last week to the Championship game by beating Lowry 16-8. This year Faith was the number 1 seed from the South because there is no playoff game for the regional crown, this is rotated each year. The favored team to take the state title, Moapa Valley, lost to Churchill County 34-24, and thus Churchill will go up against Faith in the Championship game in Reno at Damonte Ranch on Nov. 23 at 4:05 p.m.
In Division-4 football the Beatty Hornets Football program was not in last place. Hornets Coach Leo Verzilli rebuilt the football team with freshmen. They were led by three seniors.
The veteran senior quarterback, Jake Zamora, and junior running back Luis Flores led the I-formation team to two victories and finished in sixth place overall at 2-5. In talks with Verzilli, he said his team will be better next year.
For next year’s team, someone needs to get Verzilli a stat book and a person to volunteer to take stats for a Christmas present.
The Tonopah Muckers Football team showed some real poise this year and finished in fourth place despite beating Spring Mountain this year. Injuries played a big role in the Muckers’ fourth place showing.
Duffy Otteson put a fierce running attack together with senior Matt Misener who had 119 carries for 1,188 yards and Jason Carman who had 101 carries for 653-yards rushing.
Again the Muckers had to play the number one seed in the playoffs, Pahranagat Valley, and lost. Next year with Friel as quarterback the team should do even better. I see the Muckers finishing higher in the standings than fourth place.
Pahranagat Valley is favored to beat Spring Mountain for the Division-4 state title on Nov. 23 at Indian Springs High School at 1 p.m.
In Division 1-A volleyball the Trojans came back again and finished strongly. The ladies led by senior Payton Hart had a fantastic year under Trojans Coach Jill Harris. The team spread around the hitting and improved its defense. Mikayla Davis, Jill Smith, Payton Hart, Shayla Dance and Lauren Koenig made sure teams didn’t know what direction the attack was coming from.
The suburb defense led by Lauren Ashford kept the Trojans in the game and in second place in the Sunset League. The team went one more step further to reaching the state tourney by defeating Chaparral in the first round.
This year the Faith Lutheran Crusaders went on to win the whole ball of wax by defeating two Northern teams, Truckee 3-0 and Dayton 3-0 for the state title. The Crusaders were led by junior Cayla Nicodemus.
In Division-4 volleyball, The Beatty Hornets lost a coach for a year and took on former Beatty volleyball Coach Dale Lerbakken. Lerbakken blew off the cobwebs and coached again for the Hornets. He came back strongly with four freshmen, a few sophomores and just a few seniors.
The seniors Lucero Hernandez, Christina Thompson, and Ashley Granados came back to see if they could lead the team to the playoffs. They were aided by the team’s strong serving, and scrappy defense. Sophomore Maggie Cathcart and the younger players played with enough determination to get the Hornets into the regional semifinal playoff game against Pahranagat Valley. This team may have finished in fourth place, but it will be an experienced team next year.
Tonopah Volleyball started strong and finished in second and went to the state semifinals. The Lady Muckers were expected to repeat as the Division-4 state champions, but new Muckers Coach Harvey Gonzalez reminded them early on that ‘they had not won anything yet.’
The new coach knew what it took to win the state title and wanted his girls to know that they had to earn the title and it was not just going to fall into their hands, it didn’t. The team lost to Smith Valley 3-1 at the semifinal state tourney game.
The Muckers had many returning veterans and were led by the dynamic hitting of Ashley Gray and Julia Klapper. These two players sent rockets over the net. In addition to their offense the team was also known for its stiff defense led by junior Madison North. Eight seniors will be leaving the team and I feel next year will be a rebuilding year for Tonopah.
Pahranagat Valley went on to capture the state title this year beating Smith Valley 3-0.
In cross country, the Trojans will need to rebuild. Trojans coach Matt Kolodzieczyk knows he will need a good influx of talent with top runners Jackie Sanchez, Melanie Lawdensky and Stefanie Thelaner all leaving.
He will have to depend on the incoming eighth graders to populate the team. The boys team is in even worse shape with Shane Weber and Devon Montgomery both graduating.