The Desert Pines football team was highly favored to win the Division I-A state championship. The Jaguars, who were considered on of the top teams in the state at any level, easily defeated all their opponents this year and it seemed they were well on their way to a state championship. On Friday, defending state champion Moapa Valley got in the way of those plans and beat the Desert Pines, 13-12.
One key to the defeat of Jaguars was the two games they had to forfeit against Chaparral and Moapa Valley. The Jaguars beat Moapa 34-20 on Sept. 11, a score that was erased due to the forfeit.
The Jaguars played an ineligible player during those two league games, which led to the forfeit and destroyed their perfect season. This forced Desert Pines to play Moapa in Overton on Friday. The Pirates have been to the state title game eight of the nine past seasons.
Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis told the Review-Journal, “We never lost a playoff game on this field and we kept continuously preaching that we didn’t plan on losing,” Lewis said. “That wasn’t even in our thoughts. We were going to give everything we had to Desert Pines, and I thought we did.”
Perhaps Desert Pines got what was due to them. In this day and age it is very hard to play an ineligible player, according to Pahrump Valley coach Adam Gent.
“If everyone does their job and is honest, it’s almost impossible play an ineligible player,” he said. “In every case I’ve heard of it happening, it was because grade checks/player transfers were not done properly or someone was dishonest. It really comes down to integrity in most cases. I believe most coaches and programs try to follow all the rules. It’s unfortunate when an occasional dishonest person loses sight of the big picture of what we’re are trying to do for our young men, but it has happened from time to time.”
On Friday, all the Sunset League teams were beaten by their Sunrise League counterparts.
This leaves Moapa Valley and Chaparral taking on the top two teams of the Division 1-A North this Saturday.
Moapa Valley, the number one seed from the South, will host Elko at 1 p.m. Chaparral will travel to Churchill County and play at 1 p.m. in Fallon on Saturday. The winners Nov. 21 at a site to be decided.
-Contact Sports Editor Vern Hee at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @vernheepvt.