This season wasn't perfect for Truckee. But it ended that way.
A midseason loss ended the team's 41-game win streak. But the Wolverines kept intact their streak of championships.
Against a familiar foe, Truckee won its fourth straight state title Saturday night at Bishop Gorman. The Wolverines rebounded from a slow start for a 34-10 victory over Moapa Valley in the Division I-A title game.
"We're not playing to win games; we're playing to win championships," senior Zak Pettit said. "That's what it's all about."
The title is coach Bob Shaffer's ninth at Truckee and each of the past four has come at Moapa's expense. The coach called his team's 7-0 defeat to Fernley on Oct. 6 a blessing in disguise.
"That really eliminated a lot of that pressure and allowed us to focus our eye on the prize that we really set out for," Shaffer said.
"That streak was OK. It was good and gaudy and all. But this is the one that we set out to keep going from the beginning of the season."
Eric Holmer threw for 255 yards and four touchdowns, and added a 1-yard keeper score to lead Truckee after a weird first quarter in which it ran just three offensive plays yet trailed by just three points.
"Going out like this is just the way I dreamed it," said the senior Holmer, who coincidentally wears No. 4.
"Even if I didn't get any touchdowns, I would be so happy we won. Losing one game in my whole high school career and ending like this. I'm speechless right now.
"Losing to Fernley, it was actually a sigh of relief and definitely a wake-up call. It helped us get to this point."
Truckee possessed the ball for 1 minute, 17 seconds of the game's first 18 minutes, and for just 5:14 in the first half. But the Wolverines led 14-3 at halftime thanks to an 80-yard strike from Holmer to Pettit and a 7-yard pass from Holmer to Tyler Griffin with 14 seconds left in the second quarter.
"We have a 12-play script that we like to run to start games, but we scrapped it after those three plays because we weren't doing anything," Shaffer said. "Then, the kids came out and followed the script we set for them at halftime. We told them we didn't want to sit on the lead and play not to lose. We wanted to increase the lead and play to win."
Truckee (11-1) outscored Moapa, 20-7, in the second half.
Holmer connected with Adam Morgan on a 30-yard score and with Tyler Curtis for a 21-yard touchdown to put another title game out of Moapa's reach.
"We're not built for coming back. We're built to play with a lead, and Truckee's not a team you can come back on either," Moapa Valley coach Brent Lewis said.
"We missed opportunities on those early drives to go up by more than three. If we score (touchdowns) on those, it's probably a different ballgame and it forces them to come from behind. But you have to play four quarters, and we probably played 21/2. That's been the story of my life against these guys."
Doubt never crept into the Wolverines' minds.
"We never think we're going to lose a game," said Pettit, who had four of Truckee's five sacks. "We think we're going to win it."