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2014 Palo Verde Football Capsule

PALO VERDE

Head coach: Darwin Rost, 19th season (147-46)

2013 record: 10-2 (5-0 Northwest League, first)

Returning lettermen (starters): 22 (five offense, five defense)

Base offensive set: Double wing/Pistol

Base defensive set: 4-3

Top offensive players: RB Darrion Finn (Sr.); TE Jordan Bruner (Sr.); RB Jaren Campbell (Sr.); C Joey Laurita (Sr.); G Daniel Heller (Sr.)

Top defensive players: DB Graeson Vereen (Sr.); DB Darrion Finn (Sr.); LB Jordan Bruner (Sr.); LB Jaren Campbell (Sr.); LB Chauntez Thomas (Jr.)

Top special teams players: Graeson Vereen (Sr.); Darrion Finn (Sr.); Jaren Campbell (Sr.)

Top newcomers: RB/DB Isaac Woods (Sr.)

Key losses: QB Parker Rost; TE/OLB Jake Ortale; FB/DB Sean Dennis; RB/DB Calvin Beaulieu; OT/DT Michael Hughes; OT/DE Griffin Kemp; OG/DE Josh Hamilton

Outlook: The Panthers lost quite a bit of talent to graduation, including all-state picks Ortale, Hughes, Kemp and Hamilton along with Parker Rost, who was the Northwest League’s Offensive MVP.

Leading rusher Campbell (942 yards, 6 TDs) is back and will play a key role on both sides of the ball.

He was a second team All-Northwest League linebacker, and is the team’s top returning tackler with 67.

Finn figures to play a bigger offensive role, and Laurita, a second team All-Northwest League pick, is back to anchor the offensive line.

On defense, Vereen (five interceptions, 46 tackles) will key the secondary, with Thomas (34 tackles, five sacks) joining Campbell in leading the linebackers.

Replacing the defensive line, where Hughes, Hamilton and Kemp combined for 179 tackles and 25 sacks, may be the biggest key to the team’s success.

If the team is able to put together solid lines, the Panthers could again make a run in the Sunset Region playoffs. Palo Verde has played in the region title game 10 times since 2002.

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