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Division I-A state preview: Old standbys meet for title

Truckee tries for fourth championship today

12:00 AM, Nov. 17, 2012 EST

Truckee defeated Cheyenne, 26-18, in the Division I-A state semifinal on Nov. 10 at Truckee High. / Photos by Julie Dawes/Special to the RGJ file

The 2012 season was going to be different.

With realignment in the South and new names for each of the state's four classifications, there was supposed to be new blood playing for the Division I-A state championship, formerly the 3A title.

Somebody forgot to tell Truckee and Moapa Valley, who will meet in the title game for the fifth straight year.

Both teams were aware this year was supposed to be different. They just didn't buy into the narrative of the Las Vegas newspapers, which before the season both picked Cheyenne, one of 10 former 4A schools to join Div. I-A this year, to win it all.

"Oh, we heard all that and read stuff before the year," said Truckee coach Bob Shaffer, whose team seeks its fourth consecutive title at 6 p.m. today at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. "Yet, it's the two standbys who are getting ready to knock on each other and knocking on the door of another state championship."

Either Truckee or Moapa has won the title in the state's second largest classification since 2007. And that stretch will reach six seasons this year.

"I'd be willing to bet both Truckee and us got a chuckle out of that," Moapa coach Brent Lewis said. "Both teams are right where they expected to be at this point."

The Wolverines (10-1) dealt with four bigger schools coming down from the 4A classification in 2010, but it hasn't fazed them. Truckee's only interaction with the new Div. I-A members was in last week's 28-16 home semifinal victory over Cheyenne.

While the Pirates (12-1) have continued to prove their chops in the Southern region -- including against new opponents like Western, Chaparral and Desert Pines -- they've come up short against Truckee in the title game each of the past three years.

"They've certainly had our number," Lewis said. "I wouldn't say we have to go out looking for any type of revenge. But we have to move the ball against them and sustain drives."

Truckee's season was like the previous three, save for one small blemish. The Wolverines went undefeated in each of their past three championship seasons. But a 7-0 loss to Fernley on Oct. 6 snapped their 41-game win streak.

It also turned their focus solely on hauling another state championship trophy.

"We somehow managed to get back to this game," said Shaffer, who can claim his ninth title at Truckee. "The continuity of both programs is what helped us both get back here. Coach Lewis and I have become close to each other because we've seen each other every year recently and have so much respect for each other. We're so much alike in the things we do. It's almost like we're a mirror of each other."




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