Summerlin community provides support for high school football

Summerlin is home to four high school football teams representing Bishop Gorman, Faith Lutheran, The Meadows School and Palo Verde.

With an 11-year history, Palo Verde is Summerlin’s first and only public high school. Its football team is featured in both print and television commercials proclaiming the community’s new advertising campaign, which bears the motto: “This is Summerlin, This is Home.”

According to coach Darwin Rost, who has a 20-plus-year history coaching high school football in the Las Vegas Valley, the inclusion of the team on the community’s marketing materials is “just one other way Summerlin demonstrates its support of the community’s schools and their various programs.”

“Summerlin’s spirit is similar to that of the small town communities in the Midwest where I grew up,” said Rost, an Iowa native who now lives in Summerlin. “Summerlin actively follows and supports the community’s athletic programs. I have coached at four high schools in Vegas and have been at Palo Verde since the day the doors opened. From firsthand experience, I know that Summerlin is a great place to play, teach, coach and live.”

Under the stewardship of Rost, the Palo Verde football team has gone to the state playoffs every year since 2000, the first year the school had a varsity team. The team, which plays in the Class 4A Sunset Northwest Division, has competed in four of five regional championships, and in 2004, won the high school state championship.

Summerlin’s first private high school football team was The Meadows School, which competes in the 2A Division. According to Coach Frank DeSantis, the team has six state championship titles in its history and currently holds the state record with 41 consecutive wins.

Faith Lutheran High School is another private high school in Summerlin. Its football team competes in the Class 3A Southern League, playing against Boulder City, Moapa Valley, Pahrump Valley and Virgin Valley. According to coach Jake Kothe, the team has made significant strides during his 10 years coaching at the school.

“We started as an eight-man, single A team,” Kothe said. “But our humble beginnings have given way to great success. We quickly became a 2A team and held the Southern League 2A championship title in 2002. By 2004, we had become a 3A team and in our second year we placed second in the conference. Our program gets bigger and better every year.”

Kothe attributes the success of the football program to the school’s culture and alumni association.

“Faith Lutheran has a family like atmosphere that nurtures and infiltrates all school programs, including football,” he said. “Our graduates understand they are still part of the Faith Lutheran family and are often found cheering for their school in the football stands.”

Bishop Gorman is Summerlin’s newest private school football team and the Gaels are playing their first season at their new campus, competing in the Class 4A Sunset Southwest Division. Though new to Summerlin, Bishop Gorman is not new to the sport of football. The Gaels have a long, distinguished history, including six state gridiron titles.

This year the team is playing under the direction of a new coach, Bob Altshuler, who came to the school from West Valley High School in Yakima, Wash., where he was defensive coordinator for 17 years and head football coach for seven years. During his tenure, West Valley reached the state playoffs 22 times, creating a legacy he hopes to imitate at Bishop Gorman.

“Summerlin has many things to be proud of, including our high school football teams,” said Tom Warden, vice president of community and government relations for The Howard Hughes Corp., developer of Summerlin. “Like many spirited American communities, Summerlin is a huge supporter of high school sports, and our high school football teams have done us all proud. We look forward to another great season.”

Summerlin began to take shape in 1990 and remains a work in progress. It is a 22,500-acre master-planned community located along the western rim of the Las Vegas Valley.

The community is home to more than 95,000 residents. It has about 7,500 acres still to develop, including its urban core, Summerlin Centre.

Summerlin is home to more than 100 neighborhood and village parks, more than 150 completed miles of the Summerlin trail system, nine golf courses, a dozen houses of worship, shopping centers, medical and cultural facilities, business parks and more than 100 floor plans.

For further information, visit summerlin.com or call 888-898-5015.

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