Like almost every senior, Jared Jensen wanted to make the most of every game this season.
But the Pershing County standout was not driven solely by the impending end to his high school career. Time missed last season also motivated him.
A health scare in 2011 forced Jensen to watch from the sideline as his team went undefeated with a second straight state championship.
"He valued every snap he played this year," Pershing County coach Dave McLean said. "You could see it every day at practice."
And when it was game time, Jensen more than showed up.
The 5-foot-8, 180-pound fullback/linebacker rushed for 966 yards and 16 touchdowns and led the Mustangs with more than 100 tackles. He is the 2012 RGJ All-North Division III Player of the Year.
"I wanted to leave Lovelock football as a winner," Jensen said. "Being a champion is something we want to aspire to. It's always awesome to be a state champion. But it's better to be one on the field instead of watching from the sideline."
Anchored by Jensen, the Mustangs became the 19th program in state history to win three straight championships.
"It's nice not to have to live in the past," Jensen said. "2010 was awesome at the time, but it's even sweeter to be 2012 champs."
Jensen is one of a small handful of players to be part of all three championship teams. As the Mustangs said goodbye to key seniors each of the past two offseasons, McLean leaned on the fact he didn't have to replace Jensen.
But he must replace him now.
"You can't replace Jared, but we're going to have to make up for his loss," McLean said. "Except for when he was out at the end of last season, we didn't have to worry about Jared's positions. There were no adjustments to make there. When it came to Jared, everyone knew he was going to get the job done."
Jensen, also a three-time wrestling state champion, wants to play football in college. He's been in contact with a few NAIA schools about playing linebacker.
"His real strength is on defense," McLean said. "He is real strong up the middle."