ROP wins state football title |

ROP wins state football title


The Nevada Appeal has only been able to sporadically cover Rite of Passage near Yerington over the years, but in my time at the school I’ve always admired its mission.

So when I saw the score on Saturday that ROP had beaten Lincoln County 40-27 for its first ever state title, winning the NIAA 2A Division, my first thought was it couldn’t have happened to a better school.

“They are proof if you believe in something and you are willing to work hard, good things will happen to you,” ROP coach Willie Taylor told

LangiLangi Haupeakui ran for 168 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries against the Lynx to complete ROP’s season turnaround which began with a 28-14 loss to Incline. ROP needed a regular-season finale 21-18 win over Yerington just to make the playoffs.

ROP then beat previously unbeaten Battle Mountain 33-28 and Needles 40-15 on its way to the finals.

Haupeakui’s 33-yard scoring run gave ROP a 34-27 lead after the Lynx had overcome a 27-7 deficit to tie the game 27-27. Stepen Latu put the game away with a 56-yard TD run.

Haupeakui’s 82-yard touchdown run tied the game 7-7 against the Lynx. Joseph Luna returned a fumble 11 yards and Latu scored on a 3-yard run as the Rams went on to take a 27-7 lead.