Sunrise Region football capsules


NORTHEAST LEAGUE

CANYON SPRINGS

■ Coach: Hunkie Cooper, third season (14-7)

■ 2010 record: 7-4 (6-1 Northeast)

■ Returning starters: four offense, four defense

■ Top players: RB Donnel Pumphrey (Jr.); WR Michael Gayden (Jr.); WR Isiah Charles (Sr.); CB Stephon Revels (Jr.)

■ Outlook: The Pioneers were hit hard by graduation, but Cooper said he thinks his program's young players are ready to step in and produce.

Leading rusher Malik Brown (1,099 yards, 12 TDs) is gone, but Pumphrey proved to be one of the area's most explosive backs last season and should be ready to carry the load on offense after rushing for 1,014 yards and nine TDs as a sophomore.

Receivers Gayden and Charles should play more of a role with the graduation of leading receiver Trey Evans (36 catches, 581 yards, six TDs).

On defense, Revels returns after picking off three passes to lead the secondary, but the Pioneers must replace much of the rest of their production, including second-team all-state linebacker Chase Bush (96 tackles).

Cooper expects a talented sophomore class to help plug the holes, and Canyon Springs should again be among the best in the Northeast League.

CHAPARRAL

Coach: Bill Froman, first season

2010 record: 1-8 (1-6 Northeast)

Returning starters: Not available

Top players: WR Toure Williams (Sr.); OL/DL Will Hernandez (Jr.)

Outlook: Froman inherits a team that has gone 1-18 over the last two seasons, and whose best record in recent years was a 3-6 mark in 2008.

Ishmael Olo was the team's only all-league performer last season, and losing him will be tough, especially on defense, where he was the team's leading tackler.

Chaparral has allowed 40 or more points 13 times over the last two seasons and has scored 40 points just once in the same span.

Offensively, Froman will switch from the spread to a Wing-T formation.

Williams (28 catches, 640 yards, five TDs) is a weapon, and getting him the ball should be a priority.

DESERT PINES

■ Coach: Paul Bennett, seventh season (28-35)

■ 2010 record: 5-5 (5-2 Northeast)

■ Returning starters: seven offense, five defense

■ Top players: OT/DL Cedrick Poutasi (Sr.); RB/S Leon Hayes (Sr.); C/NG Allen Vaiao (Sr.); RB/DB Davion Toney (Sr.); WR/DB Darel Allen-Tucker (Sr.)

■ Outlook: With Hayes running behind Poutasi and Co., the Jaguars have a chance to put together a solid ground game.

"Our line is pretty hefty. We're going to rely on that when it comes to our running game," Bennett said.

Bennett said if the Jaguars can continue working and stay healthy, they have a chance to have a special season. Canyon Springs and Las Vegas High might be considered the favorites to win the Northeast, but Desert Pines figures to be in the race, too.

"It's going to take some hard work and dedication to studying film, and making sure we don't shoot ourselves in the foot," Bennett said. "If we can stay healthy, we'll have a shot."

ELDORADO

■ Coach: Vernon Brown, second season

■ 2010 record: 4-5 (3-4 Northeast)

■ Returning starters: six offense, seven defense

■ Top players: RB/WR/DB Justin Brown (Jr.); TE/DE Michael Williams (Sr.); WR/DB Javen Nihipali (Jr.); C Billy Kounovsky (Sr.); LB/DB Darion Ashley (Sr.); LB Frasier Tauvalvale (Sr.); LB Ty Nihipali (Sr.); DB Marcus Fletcher (Jr.)

■ Outlook: The Sundevils just missed the playoffs a year ago, but the battle for a postseason berth appears to be tougher this year without graduated quarterback JaQuorrey Williams.

Williams was the Northeast League's offensive Most Valuable Player after rushing for 878 yards and nine TDs, and throwing for 1,149 yards and 13 scores.

Michael Williams, a first-team All-Northeast League defensive end, is back to lead the defense after recording 86 tackles, including seven sacks.

LAS VEGAS

■ Coach: James Thurman, first season

■ 2010 record: 11-2 (7-0 Northeast)

■ Returning starters: four offense, two defense

■ Top players: QB Hasaan Henderson (Sr.); RB Farrell Victor (Sr.); C Tony Verdugo (Sr.); OL Fabian Lechuga (Sr.); K Jay Mattox (Jr.); LB Kaveo Walker (Sr.); DB Kivon Rhone (Sr.); DL Lahmad Evans (Sr.)

■ Outlook: The Wildcats have some rebuilding to do on paper, but an outstanding collection of seniors returns, led by the dynamic backfield duo of Henderson and Victor.

Thurman, a longtime defensive line assistant, has taken over for Chris Faircloth, who retired after going 78-17 in seven seasons, with Class 4A state titles in 2005 and 2006. Thurman said players' familiarity with the Wildcats' system has eased the transition.

"If I say, 'Do this, this and this,' they know what those things are," Thurman said. "We're not reinventing the wheel."

Henderson will be the leader after passing for 2,137 yards and 26 touchdowns, and rushing for 356 yards and seven TDs as a junior.

RANCHO

■ Coach: Elvin Dick, fourth season (12-20)

■ 2010 record: 5-6 (4-3 Northeast)

■ Returning starters: seven offense, seven defense

■ Top players: QB Will Gosse-Gardet (Sr.); RB Cody Hafen (Sr.); WR Charles Johnson (Sr.); WR Bryson Mitchell (Sr.); WR Joel Flurhel (Sr.); C Mark Jandoz (Sr.); LB Casey Holmes (Sr.); LB Derrick Eliason (Sr.); LB Melvin Robinson (Sr.); DB Bruce Legroan (Sr.); FS Trearon Janos (Sr.); DB Tommy Perkins (Jr.); DT Braden Davil (Sr.); DE Abel Gomez (Jr.)

■ Outlook: Dick said the "sky is the limit" for the Rams, who bring back plenty of firepower on offense.

Gosse-Gardet could emerge as one of the area's more prolific signal callers after he threw for 1,480 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior. Mitchell is the team's top returning receiver and figures to be Gosse-Gardet's prime target.

Hafen will be counted on to help replace Shamel David, who graduated after running for 1,133 yards and 11 TDs last season.

SUNRISE MOUNTAIN

■ Coach: Ky Edwards, first season

■ 2010 record: 0-9 (0-7 Northeast)

■ Returning starters: four offense, five defense

■ Top players: RB Tyree Mays (Sr.); QB Chris Moore (Jr.); WR Charles Manning (Sr.); WR A'keem Ross (Jr.); WR Virgil Moore (Sr.); OL Deonte King (Sr.); MLB Jesus Pena (Jr.); LB Demetrius Stegall (Sr.); DL H Venerable (Jr.); DE Jose Martinez (Sr.)

■ Outlook: Edwards said the Miners expect to be competitive and that his team could easily be at or above .500 if players respond quickly to game situations and stay healthy.

Sunrise Mountain, though, has a long way to go after going winless while being outscored 437-82 last season. The Miners could stand to improve in just about every area.

Replacing two-way standout Cody Trapp could be difficult, but Manning, Ross and Virgil Moore form a promising trio of receivers for QB Chris Moore.

VALLEY

■ Coach: Marcus Sherman, first season

■ 2010 record: 2-8 (2-5 Northeast)

■ Returning starters: six offense, six defense

■ Top players: QB Anthony Sanders (Sr.); DE Chris Hicks (Sr.)

The Vikings are young, but Sanders is a good building block after he passed for 1,114 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.

Valley will be looking to get out to a faster start after dropping its first six games last season on the way to a sixth-place finish in the Northeast.

SOUTHEAST LEAGUE

BASIC

■ Coach: Jeff Cahill, fourth season (24-11)

■ 2010 record: 5-5 (2-4 Southeast)

■ Returning starters: six offense, five defense

■ Top players: WR Darien Spencer (Sr.); WR DeVonte Boyd (Jr.); OT/MLB Perry Williams (Sr.); OT J'Ondray Sanders (Sr.); DT Ron Pretasky (Sr.); LB Adrian Flettwood (Sr.); FS Anthony Owens (Jr.)

■ Outlook: The Wolves started off 4-1 last season before a four-game losing streak derailed the team's playoff hopes.

Now Basic looks to make it back to the postseason. The Wolves advanced to the Sunrise Region title game in 2009.

Receivers Spencer and Boyd give the team a pair of quality targets. Spencer was a second-team all-state selection after catching 50 balls for 676 yards and five TDs.

Boyd had 39 catches for 428 yards and two scores.

Cahill expects the offense to be balanced and explosive, and an improved running game will be key. Graduated quarterback Vince Carducci led the Wolves with 258 rushing yards last season.

Cahill said the defense should be physical. Expect Basic to be back in the mix for a playoff berth.

CORONADO

■ Coach: Lance Cooper, second season (2-7)

■ 2010 record: 2-7 (1-5 Southeast)

■ Returning starters: four offense, four defense

■ Top players: RB Chris Johnson (Sr.); C Christian Chavez (Sr.); WR Cody Mucino (Jr.); OL Colton Coss (Jr.); WR Anthony Picone (Sr.); QB/WR Nate Webb (Sr.); LB Colton Willden (Sr.): DL Cosme Montenegro (Jr.): DL James Hudson (Sr.); DB Damon Goldhammer (Sr.); DL Corey Sobczyk (Jr.)

■ Outlook: The Cougars finished on a seven-game losing streak in Cooper's first season, but just having a coach back for a second consecutive year should be a plus.

Cooper became the program's fourth coach in four seasons when he took over. He said he hopes to turn the program in the right direction, and some stability should help the team make that move.

Mucino was a second-team All-Southeast League pick as a kick returner last season, after returning two kicks for TDs. He also caught 30 passes for 532 yards and seven TDs.

Johnson also flashed big-play ability, scoring seven touchdowns.

The defense will need to improve after allowing an average of 36.2 points.

DEL SOL

■ Coach: Preston Goroff, eighth season (53-30)

■ 2010 record: 5-6 (3-3 Southeast)

■ Returning starters: four offense, four defense

■ Top players: RB/CB Chris Marshall (Sr.); WR/FS Lael Perkins (Sr.); WR/SS Rahim Jones (Sr.); FB Dylan Lindemann (Sr.); QB Nate Kirschbaum (Sr.); OG/DT Ben Littlefield (Sr.); CB Dwayne Kirkland (Sr.)

■ Outlook: The Dragons finally returned to earth last season, taking the Southeast League's No. 4 seed into the playoffs after four straight trips to the Sunrise Region title game and a state final berth in 2009.

But Del Sol could rebound quickly behind a sound rushing attack led by Marshall, who ran for 1,751 yards and 18 touchdowns on his way to second-team all-state honors as a junior.

"He's just become a stronger runner," Goroff said of Marshall. "He used to get arm-tackled; now it looks like he's breaking more of those tackles. He's showing maturity as a senior, really stepping up and becoming a leader. And his ball skills have gotten better catching the ball out of the backfield. He's everything you could want in a back."

The Dragons figure to have a strong secondary led by veterans Marshall, Kirkland, Jones and Perkins.

FOOTHILL

■ Coach: Martin Redmond, seventh season (40-27)

■ 2010 record: 10-2 (5-1 Southeast)

■ Returning starters: five offense, three defense

■ Top players: WR Kyle Keplinger (Sr.); DE Scott Stigger (Sr.); LB Dylan Freiling (Sr.); SS Tyler Morris (Jr.)

■ Outlook: The Falcons surprised many by making a run to the Sunrise Region semifinals last season, but they will have to reload quickly to match that success this year.

Gone is Gatorade Nevada Player of the Year Keegan Buck, who had 125 tackles -- including 21.5 sacks -- from his outside linebacker position. Fellow linebacker Ryan Call (100 tackles) also is gone, leaving big holes on that side of the ball.

The offense returns four starters on the line, but the team must replace second-team all-state quarterback Parker Riggin, who threw for 2,384 yards and 21 TDs, with just six interceptions. Also gone is leading rusher Connor Afoa (524 yards, eight TDs).

Keplinger leads the returnees, and the Falcons will look to get him the ball in a variety of ways. He had six receiving TDs last year to go with seven rushing scores. The first-team All-Southeast League receiver caught 43 passes for 747 yards.

Redmond expects Keplinger, Tyren Boykin and James Henderson to be big-play threats for the Falcons.

GREEN VALLEY

■ Coach: Brian Castro, first season

■ 2010 record: 3-7 (1-5 Southeast)

■ Returning starters: six offense, six defense

■ Top players: WR/S Sean Ferraro (Sr.); RB/OLB Aaron Love (Sr.); WR/LB Elijah Spann (Sr.); WR/CB Kris Hanson (Sr.); OT Tanner Gross (Sr.); DE Sam McAloon (Jr.)

■ Outlook: Castro has taken over as coach after spending the past eight years as a Green Valley assistant, including last season as the offensive coordinator.

Castro said his built-in familiarity with the players has helped the transition to the helm, but the Gators have some work to do to climb back into contention.

"Our biggest deal at Green Valley is that we need to get tougher," he said. "If our kids get tougher, everything will take care of itself."

The Gators have a nice building block in Love, who rushed for 716 yards and five touchdowns on his way to second-team All-Southeast League honors as a junior.

"I'm really looking forward to (Love) putting the hard work to use," Castro said. "He's had a good summer, and he's a guy we need to lean on."

LIBERTY

■ Coach: Rich Muraco, third season (19-6)

■ 2010 record: 11-2 (6-0 Southeast)

■ Returning starters: six offense, five defense

■ Top players: OG/DT P.J. Taeao (Sr.); WR/S Jeremy Lagasca (Sr.); RB Niko Kapeli (Jr.); DE Kimo Seau (Sr.); FB/DT Jordan Kapeli (Sr.); QB Kai Nacua (Jr.)

■ Outlook: The Patriots are coming off their best season, winning Southeast League and Sunrise Region titles on their way to the Class 4A state semifinals.

Muraco is excited by his team's talent and experience at the skill positions. Niko Kapeli rushed for 1,335 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, and Nacua ran for 11 TDs and passed for nine more.

"The exciting thing about our team this year is, I think we have the most talent we've ever had in the skill positions," Muraco said. "A lot of guys coming back off that team are our skill players."

Like last season, the Patriots figure to be strong on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, although replacing defensive end Sam Tai (UCLA) could be difficult.

Liberty is among the favorites in the Southeast and figures to again be in the hunt for the Sunrise title.

SILVERADO

■ Coach: Andy Ostolaza, fifth season (26-14)

■ 2010 record: 6-4 (3-3 Southeast)

■ Returning starters: four offense, six defense

■ Top players: QB Savon Moniz (Sr.); FB/OLB Kusitafu Otuafi (Jr.); RB Izaiah Thurmon (Sr.); RB Deandre Gause (Sr.); WR/CB Jerrell Norman (Sr.); WR/FS Alec Acevedo (Sr.); WR/DE Jordan McDonald (Sr.); OL/DL Chris Noone (Jr.); OLB Cade Campbell (Sr.); DE Coty Iwata (Sr.)

■ Outlook: Ostolaza said the Skyhawks are determined to return to the Sunrise Region playoffs after finishing the 2010 regular season with three straight wins.

Silverado lost several players to college football from last season, but the cupboard is hardly bare. Moniz is back after passing for 822 yards and nine touchdowns in 2010, and Thurmon should lead the ground game after he ran for 839 yards and eight TDs as a junior.

"He's a big, powerful back," Ostolaza said of Thurmon. "With his size, and he's got a pretty big line again, I'm hoping he'll do well."

 

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