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August 8, 2013

Pre-Season Division 1 Top Ten

Behind a heavy influx of talent and the constant opening of new school, Bishop Gorman has risen to the national and has dominated Nevada football usually running away with games. The team is loaded with elite facilities and has been far and away the best team in the state.

This season there is a stronger chance at the changing of the guard after Gorman lost two elite stars during the off-season in Nathan Starks and Isaiah Nacua. There are a number of challengers to the top perch and this will possibly be an outstanding season of high school football.

Here is a breakdown of the Nevada Prep Report state top 10:

1. Bishop Gorman-The Gaels hold on to the #1 spot in Nevada this season but this isn't the same team that hogged all the best players as in years past. This Gael team has a lot to prove this season with a front loaded schedule that could easily see them limp into league play at 0-6.
Offensively, the Gaels have a great talent in senior Randall Cunningham but he has yet to show he has game management skills in a live game. With smaller, inexperienced targets on the edge; a consistent passing game could be a struggle versus more talented secondaries.
The Gaels should continue to have a strong running game however as Cunningham can fly but the loss of Nathan Starks takes down the level of physicality in the Gael backfield. Daniel Stewart is a true athlete at running back with a big line but he won't see huge before mid October.
Defensively, the Gaels have been strong up front and in the secondary but this year there are plenty of question marks on the defensive side of the ball. The Gaels are great in the middle of the line and Armand Perry is a playmaker in the secondary but the remaining pieces are unproven.
The Gaels grab the top spot due to history but this will be a very challenging season with the schedule and youth.

2. Palo Verde-This is one of the best Panthers teams in the past couple of years featuring what may be the best defense in the state this year. With the pieces returning on offense, the Panthers will be tough to beat on any weekend.
Offensively, Parker Rost isn't a traditional quarterback but he is one of the best in town with great leadership skills on the field. Tight ends Jake Ortale and Jamell Garcia-Williams are great targets in the passing game while Calvin Beaulieu should key a very effective running game.
Defensively, the Panthers are loaded with talent at linebacker and on the front line. Few teams will have the chance to move the ball effectively in the running game and the quickness front line will disrupt any passing attack.
With plenty of speed, the Panthers have all the tools march to the state championship title in 2013. They have added enough wrinkle to the double-wing to adjust to any set and could hold teams to less than 6 points per game this season.

3. Liberty-The Patriots have yet to look back since emerging as a state title contender and this year they look more physical than ever on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, the size physicality of the offensive line is pretty amazing for the high school level. Led by senior Jarvis Polu, the Patriots should average around 270 pounds across the line with several underclassmen that gained plenty of experience last year. As a group, they should be physically capable of road grading others teams each weekend.
In the backfield, Tyler Newman took on a bigger role down the stretch returning as an experienced quarterback. The Patriots have plenty of options in the running and passing game to make big plays. Tight end Reno Tu'ufuli. receiver Drew Hladek, running back Brenen Adams and athlete Brian Roland should all see increased roles.
Defensively, the Patriots are loaded at all level with Tu'ufuli and Polu leading the front line. Roland is already one of the elite defensive backs in the city and they also add Desert Oasis transfer Noah Jefferson to the mix.
Overall, the Patriots feature the best combination of athletes and powerful linemen in the state. They have the depth to withstand any injuries but, like Gorman, they face a tough early slate with three very challenging out of state opponents. Given the level of program development, the Patriots are by far the team to beat in the Sunrise Division.

4. Legacy-The Longhorns always featured quality talent, this year they are a major contender to achieve elite status if they can ride the talent of running back/safety Casey Hughes. Hughes has the ability to be the most dominating running back to take the field since Tim Johnson with even more physical ability. He has to maintain his stamina through the season with an increased workload but he is a player you can build a team around.
Zach Lugris and Matt Sink anchor a tough, physical and bulky line this season. The program has the physical depth and experience on either side of the ball to be very effective against almost any team in the trenches.
Legacy will look to take advantage of overall team speed defensively and is loaded with playmakers in the back seven. Josh Phillips, Nieamiah Lane, Damion Stallings and DeMichael Walker are as solid as you get and should keep team from staying in the mix late in games.
With Palo Verde, Arbor View and Bishop Gorman on the schedule, Legacy will have every opportunity to prove they are among the elite.

5. Spanish Springs-Reed has ruled the North but this season the Cougars should move to the forefront. Most of the key pieces from last season return and they have an offense that should be very tough to slow down.
Keying the entire program is the return of quarterback Hunter Fralick. A very accurate and strong armed passer, Fralick has the poise to be a leader on the field. His ability to carry an offense should keep Spanish Springs in the win column weekly.
Second leading receiver Gehrig Parks and leading rusher Jeff Jurgensmeier also return along with Garrett Nauman, who should see a bigger role this season.
Defensively, Nauman is expected to combine with Brik Chesley to form a very effected linebacking crew.
Although the Cougars aren't as balanced as the top 4 with depth on the line, they have the pieces in place to survive a shoot out and are more than capable of stressing more conservative teams on the scoreboard.
Like the rest of the teams, there isn't an easy road to the playoffs and the Cougars face every major title contender in the North during the regular season. There will be chances to slip up but they are also capable of slipping in the playoffs undefeated.

6. Green Valley-A powerhouse in the late 90s, the Gators have stayed very good but hadn't been able to get over the hump until last season and they are set to remain among the main contenders at least for the next two years.
Junior quarterback Christian Lopez is the most dynamic quarterback taking the field this year and was outstanding as a junior. He is as smart and competitive as they come on the field and has the ability to consistently make plays with his feet.
All of his top targets return this season led by Markus Varner and Kyler Chavez who combined for nearly 1000-yards last season.
If they can find a way to get Albert Lake more involved on offense, the Gators have plenty of weapons to choose from.
Led by Oregon bound Tyrell Crosby and Carter Nielson, the offensive line will be a strong point as will the defensive line with McKay Timoteo and Joey Salakielu
The remaining units are strong and will be helped by a strong offense. The Gators have the opportunity to be in a power position in most game and should be able to duplicate last years 9-2 record or even finish stronger.

7. Arbor View-The Aggies arguably are ranked too low but it is a very good year with a ton of strong teams at the top.
The double wing offense is loaded with weapons with five players returning that rushed for over 350-yards last year led by Anthony Smith. With the amount of weapons featured in this offense, it will be impossible to consistently slow down the Aggies this season.
Although the team lost two stars in Elijah George and Thomas Newton, the front line will be extremely strong with Malik Noshi returning to set the tone.
Smith will combine with Jacob Speaks and Lonnie Sharpe to make a very speedy back seven on the defensive side of the ball. There is a concern about the lack of overall bulk defensively but if you have the speed to cover a lot of ground, you can make plays.

8. Reed-There's no doubt that the Reed Raiders have a great system and that system has produced outstanding numbers leading to back-to-back berths in the state playoffs as well as a trip to the title game the last two seasons.
This season is a rebuilding season but they still should be very formidable offensively. Power back Jordan DeLeon should step forward as a key to establishing the running game and balancing the offense. After featuring two very talented quarterbacks in a row at the helm, this season the passing game features nearly zero experience and will depend heavily on youth.
Juniors Alden Giang and Cody Carr contributed last season and will anchor a physical line with good bulk on both sides of the ball. There is a lack of pure athleticism but brute strength is a plus.
The team will have to find new stars in the back seven this season but a quality influx of juniors should allow the team to be effective.
The High Desert won't be an easy march by any stretch but Reed is a team that will get stronger game by game and will be clicking when the playoffs roll around.

9. Canyon Springs-The Pioneers lose a major weapon with the graduation of Donnel Pumphrey but the emergence of Zaviontay Stevenson means they can still move the ball with the best of them on the ground. Although not the pure home run hitter Pumphrey presented, Stevenson can work the chains and is a threat anytime he gets into space.
If the Pioneers can develop a quality quarterback, Stevenson will see plenty of space wide receiver Gerad Davis expected to play a larger role in the passing game along with Austin Cooper and Diamante Luna. The Pioneers feature the best targets in D1 football this season but quarterback play has been a struggle.
The offensive line has good parts to work with but the return of Rayshawn Henderson should make the defensive line outstanding. Henderson is a one man wrecking crew with outstanding quickness but he will need more help this season to keep him from wearing down.
Linebacker Isiah Carter and cornerback Diamante Luna are game changers in the back seven. The Pioneers have never lacked for speed and they should have a very solid defense with the players they feature.
Lacking an overwhelming schedule, the Pioneers should have every opportunity to gain quality footing before the final two games versus Green Valley and Las Vegas that will determine the division champion and playoff seeding.

10. Damonte Ranch-Head Coach Shawn Dupris worked miracles at Bonanza High School in Las Vegas and he can produce instant improvements with his work at Damonte Ranch last season. With plenty of resources, year two should have the Mustangs at the top of the Sierra Division.
The loss of Drew Smith takes away a major workhorse offensively but junior Jared Blake should be ready to play a much bigger role this season with a more varsity ready body. Blake is a good athlete and should be a very effective player in space.
Year two should also allow 6-foot-4 Kyle Daugherty to be a much more effective passer and he is expected to be much more physically ready for varsity football. Sean Pinching is a player that can be a number one target and the combo should be very strong this year.
Defensively, Ben Ashlock is a true spark in the secondary and should be outstanding as a senior with his ability to play the run and the pass equally well.
Defensive end Evan Defer is a star pass rusher off the edge that is very disruptive while linebacker Matt Barrett cleans up versus the run.
With a not so top heavy division, the Mustangs should see few losses this season though they face Spanish Springs in week two of the season.



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