■ When/where: 7 p.m. today, Nov. 1, Trojan Field, Pahrump.
■ Series history: Moapa Valley leads 40-4.
■ Last Pahrump Valley win: 1994, 17-6. Last Moapa Valley win: 2016, 40-14.
■ Outlook: The Pirates have reached the postseason each year since 1998, winning their last state championship in 2014. Last year, they defeated Cheyenne 42-19 and lost to Truckee 23-16. The won the Sunrise League then, but this year they finished third, losing to Virgin Valley and Boulder City, teams that also have defeated Pahrump Valley.
Junior quarterback Cameron Reese is completing 52.7 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,312 yards and 5 touchdowns against 4 interceptions. Senior Hayden Redd is the Pirates’ leading rusher, with 895 yards and 12 touchdowns on 142 carries, an average of 6.3 yards per carry. Moapa Valley has scored 27 touchdowns on the ground and 6 through the air. When he does throw, Reese spreads the ball around; four receivers have between 13 and 17 receptions, with sophomore Austin Heiselbetz and senior Luke Barlow each averaging 18.3 yards per catch.
The Pirates have 17 sacks and 9 interceptions, figures that won’t mean much against the Trojans’ run-happy offense. More pertinent is that Moapa Valley will bring a defense that has allowed 116 points in 10 games. Cheyenne, a team which defeated Pahrump Valley 36-16, is the only team to reach 20 points against the Pirates, winning 24-20. The Pirates have held six opponents to single digits, including Coronado, a team that put up 43 points on Pahrump Valley but managed just 9 against Moapa Valley in a 9-8 win.
Of course, Cheyenne and Coronado run very different offenses than Pahrump Valley runs, so the comparisons are not entirely valid. Against the Trojans, the Pirates will go as their line takes them. Clayton does not think they can hold up for a full game against a punishing ground attack; then again, that’s the philosophy Pahrump Valley takes into every game.
If the performance against common opponents looks to favor the Pirates, consider this: The Trojans have played two games which legitimately could be called the biggest game of the season at the time. They are 2-0 in those games.
■ Did you know?: Pahrump Valley and Moapa Valley have met seven times in the playoffs. Pahrump Valley won the first game, 3-0 in 1978, and Moapa Valley has won the past six, including 65-0 in Joe Clayton’s first season in 2012 and 40-14 in 2016.
■ Coach Clayton says: “Moapa is Moapa. They are a storied program. Brent Lewis does a great job, a well-coached team, experienced. They’re used to playing in championship games. They have a balanced running attack, a very disciplined defense. However, the one thing to say about Moapa is they don’t have the extremely talented all-stars they’ve had in the past. I think we’re a little bit bigger and stronger up front. That was one thing they struggled with against Virgin Valley. I think we hung with Virgin better than anybody did up front. So we’re hoping to exert our strength up front on both sides of the ball.”