Silverado's size to be tested by No. 4 Liberty

You don’t want to see Silverado’s football team coming as you set up for your tug-o’-war or pie-eating contest at the family picnic.

And the Skyhawks can be intimidating on the football field, as well.

Ninth-ranked Silverado will find out if its size translates into success when it kicks off its season at 7 tonight at No. 4 Liberty (0-2).

“I think the big people will help out a lot because everyone runs behind us,” said right tackle Mitchell Kissam, a 6-foot-4-inch, 304-pound junior. “And the line is the most essential part of the team because without a line, you can’t move. And the bigger, the better.”

If that’s the case, the Skyhawks ought to do well. Center Nick Guzman, the only senior starter on the offensive line, is the shrimp of the group at 5-11, 285.

“For us, he looks small,” Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza said. “But he’s actually a big kid.”

Kissam and Guzman will be joined by junior right tackle Justin Polu (6-4, 295), sophomore right guard Saleilua Vili (6-1, 345) and freshman right tackle Tavita Moe (6-3, 305).

And the size doesn’t stop there. Silverado will use two tight ends most of the time, with returning starter Austin Hunt (6-6, 225) joined by massive newcomer Rohan Walters (6-5, 295).

“We have to try to slow teams down to play with us inside the box,” Ostolaza said. “The good thing, is we do have enough size on both sides of the line to hopefully slow down some teams.”

Junior fullback Dallen Dunford (6-4, 242) offers another sizable blocker, and Ostolaza said the team will turn to “special fullback” Billy Danford (6-2, 315) at times.

Ostolaza won’t switch to the air-raid offense, but he said the Skyhawks might throw the ball more this season with the presence of Walters. Hunt led the team with 15 catches for 410 yards last season.

“Last year we had the one big tight end, and we’d throw to Hunt, and everybody in the stadium knew we were throwing to him,” Ostolaza said. “Now with the Walters kid here, he’s legitimate, like a big-time player.

“I’ve coached some big kids before that could move, but not like that.”

Unlike last season, when Alex Cater averaged 39.8 carries, Silverado will give the ball to multiple backs as it tries to plow down the field.

Ostolaza’s message to those backs is to keep it simple and follow the big boys.

“I told our backs, ‘Just figure out a way to fall forward,’ ” Ostolaza said. “ ‘Don’t worry about trying to break something to the outside. Stay between the tight ends. Usually, you hear coaches say stay between the tackles, but with the two guys we have playing tight end, you’ve got a huge space to run in between. Don’t try to bounce things outside; just fall forward and gain your yards.’ ”

Polu, a transfer from Liberty, will face off against his brother, Jarvis, a senior defensive standout for the Patriots.

“It feels kind of weird,” Polu said of facing his former team. “I didn’t expect to move here, but I just wanted to make my own name. And now I’m here being captain of the Silverado Skyhawks.”

Justin Polu said he’s trying to take over as a leader for the young Skyhawks, who have few seniors in key spots.

“We have to work together as a team,” Polu said. “I’m just trying to get us to come together as one and play as a family.”

Contact Nevada Preps editor Damon Seiters at or 702-380-4587.