Christopher DeVargas Members of the Sierra Vista High School football team, from left, Kevin McCray, Jaxson Zibert and Brendan Bentley present for a portrait at the Las Vegas Sun’s high school football media day August 2, 2017, at the South Point.
contact) Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017|2 a.m.
Every team will be in contention for a playoff spot– and second place finish– in the Sundown Southwest League.
Take Bishop Gorman, the three-time protecting national champions, from the formula and the Southwest is probably the state’s most balanced department. Gorman, which is ranked No. 4 in the preseason by USA Today, beat each league opponent by the grace guideline of the running clock last season and returns a lineup of leading college hires again this fall.
Not only are the Gaels the runaway preferred to win the Southwest, they are the unquestioned favorites to win a ninth straight state champion. Gorman hasn’t lost a league video game considering that 2006 when it was up to Spring Valley and Sierra Vista.
That doesn’t suggest, however, that opposing Southwest groups aren’t playing to win.
“Every time you get to play Gorman you know there will be a great deal of recruiters there and the accumulation will huge,” Durango quarterback Kaden Renshaw said. “We have to focus like it is other video game.”
Behind Gorman there’s plenty of parity– just like last year when one play at completion of multiple video games changed the playoff seeding.
Spring Valley, for example, beat Durango in overtime in the last week to slip into the postseason. A week earlier, Spring Valley blocked a basket on the game’s last play to beat Desert Sanctuary.
Durango stopped a 2-point conversion against Bonanza in late-September on the game’s last play as part of a 6-0 start to the season. But Durango dropped its last 3 games to miss out on the playoffs, and Treasure trove fumed late to salvage its season and surprisingly make the postseason.
“There are a great deal of teams that are fairly similar, so it will be fairly competitive,” Sierra Vista coach John Foss said.
Even Clark, which didn’t win a league video game last season, thinks it can compete for the playoffs.
“The thing I preach to the kids is to contend,” said Ricky Pickens, Clark’s first-year coach. “If you complete, ball game will work itself out.”
Sierra Vista, ranked No. 10 in the preseason, returns numerous essential players on its offending line and should have a distinct size benefit. Last season, it took 2nd and put up a fight in a Sunset Regional quarterfinal playoff game against Tradition.
While Sierra Vista’s skilled-position gamers aren’t as shown, don’t be shocked if the Mountain Lions once again find ways to win video games. It won 8 straight games to open last season, consisting of holding three league opponents to less than 10 points.
“We seem like we have actually developed a quite strong program,” Foss stated. “We wish to push forward much more this year than in 2015.”
But even if a team begins the season with wins, does not indicate they are assured a place in the postseason. Durango went from being undefeated in the middle of October in 2016 to missing the playoffs. That offers its young nucleus– numerous juniors who played last season– motivation progressing
“At the end (of the season), we simply fell apart,” said T.K Fotu, Durango’s junior linebacker. I have no idea what took place. We didn’t have the exact same strength from the start of the season.”
Spring Valley may be the most significant surprise. Senior quarterback Sylo Stanton didn’t play last season after transferring from Canyon Springs, and is perhaps the very best non-Gorman playing in the Southwest.
“We have the gamers we feel that we can win with weekly and we prepare those people to play that way,” Spring Valley coach Marcus Teal said. “If you prepare to win every week, you go into each game with the mindset that you have a chance. That’s all we are asking for, a chance.”
Last year’s surface: Bishop Gorman, Sierra Vista, Gold mine, Spring Valley, Durango, Desert Oasis, Clark
Forecasted 2017 finish: Bishop Gorman, Sierra Vista, Durango, Spring Valley, Bonanza, Desert Sanctuary, Clark
Bishop Gorman: Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA), tight end Brevin Jordan (Miami) and linebacker Palaie Gaoteote (USC devote and three-year starter)
Gold mine: Defensive back Joey Fox (Nevada’s No. 29 prospect for 2018 by Rivals.com), junior quarterback Kyle Allison and wide receiver Joshua Wilson.
Clark: Running back Aquantay Morris (four-year varsity player), pass receiver Daimanuel Mayfield and Justin Aguilar, a quarterback and security
Desert Oasis: Quarterback Mitch Moniz (6-foot-2, 215-pounds), lineman Aydan Smith (6-foot-2, 310-pounds) and running back Anthony Garcia
For Durango: Quarterback Kaden Renshaw (begun in 2015 as sophomore), junior linebacker T.K. Fotu (60 takes on in 2016) and wide receiver Kevin O’Neil (3 TDs in 2016).
For Sierra Vista: Linemen Tim Asuncion (three-year starter; preseason all-city) and Brendan Bentley (Flying force verbal dedicate) and running back Jaxson Zibert.
For Spring Valley: Quarterback Sylo Stanton (missed out on 2016 after transferring), linebacker Clark Genneken (51 tackles in 2017) and wide receiver Kash Jenkins (264 receiving yards; 2 TDs in 2017)
Offensive MVP: Gorman’s Thompson-Robinson
Protective MVP: Gorman’s Gaoteote
Increasing Star (finest freshman or sophomore): Christian Vaughn, Desert Oasis, running back
Coach of the Year: Durango’s Scott Murdock
Video game of the Year: Spring Valley 23, Bonanza 21 in “Banner Video game”
Beginner of the Year: Spring Valley’s Staton
Ray Maker can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [e-mail secured]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21