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July 23, 2014

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Home News Football Guide:

All-Valley Pre-Season Team

Vegas’ best have bright futures

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Richard Brian

The Home News Southern Nevada All-Valley Pre-Season Team includes 23 of the area’ s top athletes. The team was selected by the Home News Sports Staff. The team is, bottom row, from left, Jeff Morgan (Chaparral), Damien Proby (Cheyenne), Chaz Thomas (Palo Verde), Torin Harris (Palo Verde) and Liloa Nobriga (Palo Verde). Second row, from left, David Sperry (Faith Lutheran), DeShawn Stewart (Canyon Springs), Reggie Bullock (Las Vegas), Emir Lopez (Las Vegas), Charles Childres (Bishop Gorman), Michael Wadsworth (Silverado), T.J. Alofipo (Silverado) and Rodrick Tuisavalo (Rancho). Third row, from left, Jake Broyles (Foothill), Justin Chaisson (Bishop Gorman), Alex Klorman (Del Sol), Tim Lawson (Del Sol), Alanzi Langstaff (Las Vegas), Jeremiah Tofazano (Cheyenne), Evan Palelei (Bishop Gorman), Sam Womack (Bishop Gorman) and Keenan Graham (Silverado). Not pictured are Nolan Kohorst (Green Valley) and Alex Bonczyk (Palo Verde).

The days of Las Vegas Valley high schools failing to produce quality college prospects are over.

The Home News’ second annual Southern Nevada All-Valley PreSeason Team is loaded with athletes you’ll see playing on Saturdays in the coming years.

Led by Bishop Gorman defensive tackle Justin Chaisson (committed to Oklahoma) and Palo Verde defensive back Torin Harris (USC) the team is stacked from top to bottom.

Several have multiple scholarship offers, while nearly all have been contacted by colleges.

That’s a far cry from 12 to 15 years ago when national signing day would come and go each February with a slim few advancing to the next level. Having someone recruited by the Pacific-10 Conference or Big 12 Conference happened once every five years.

Now, the valley is a can’t miss stop on the recruiting trail. Don’t be surprised if 14 of the 23 members of the preseason team sign this winter.

The team consists of 24 positions — Del Sol senior Tim Lawson was tabbed as the punter and tight end — and is dominated by seniors. Only Gorman junior linebacker Evan Palelei and junior Green Valley High kicker Nolan Kohorst are underclassmen.

The team was selected by the sports staff at the Home News.

Offense

QB — Emir Lopez: senior, Las Vegas High. Lopez passed for 1,558 yards and 12 touchdowns last year for Sierra Vista, then transferred to Las Vegas in the spring to give the perennial power Wildcats another threat.

RB — Chaz Thomas: senior, Palo Verde High. Thomas rushed for 1,056 yards and 18 touchdowns last year, which is even more impressive when you consider three or more tailbacks get significant carries each week for the Panthers in their potent double-wing offense.

RB — Reggie Bullock: senior, Las Vegas High. Another high-profiled transfer for Las Vegas, the speedy Bullock had 12 touchdowns last year for Western.

WR — Charles Childers: senior, Bishop Gorman. Who says Gorman lost all of its skilled players from last year’s state title team? Childers, who doubles as a defensive back, should have a breakout season.

WR — DeShawn Stewart: Canyon Springs. Stewart was in the shadow of Juror Criner in the Pioneer offense last year, but still had 43 receptions for 1,002 yards and 14 touchdowns. He’ll be Canyon Springs’ go-to guy this fall.

TE — Tim Lawson: senior, Del Sol. The 6-foot-3, 220 pounder had 28 receptions for 557 yards and four touchdowns last fall for the Dragons — not bad considering Del Sol’s run-first philosophy.

OL — Sam Womack: senior, Bishop Gorman. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound tackle doesn’t receive as much publicity as his Gorman teammates, but proved his worth last year with quality performances during the Gaels’ state title run. He anchors a line that returns four starters.

OL — Jeremiah Tofaeono: senior, Cheyenne. The 6-foot-5, 320 pounder is considered the top lineman in Southern Nevada. He’s experienced, strong and a big reason why the Desert Shields are one of favorites in the Sunset Region.

OL — Alex Klorman: senior, Del Sol. Much has been made about how Del Sol lost a trio of linemen who led it to the past two Sunrise Regional title games. Well, not all the strong linemen graduated. Led by Klorman, a 6-foot-2, 245-pound tackle, the Dragons will continue to do what they do best — run the football.

OL — Jake Broyles: senior, Foothill. Broyles is credited with having great footwork. Don’t be surprised if he has something else when it is all said and done — a Division I scholarship.

OL — Jeff Morgan: senior, Chaparral. Chaparral tailbacks combined to rush for more than 2,000 yards last year and the 6-foot-3, 275-pound Morgan was a big reason.

K — Nolan Kohorst: junior, Green Valley High. Kohorst connected on 21 of 22 extra points and 71 percent of his field goals last year, including a 42-yarder.

Ath — David Sperry: Faith Lutheran. Sperry, despite competing for the 3A Crusaders, was invited to a recruiting combine this spring hosted by the 4A coaches’ association. Sperry also shined at the University of San Diego camp this summer and was offered a scholarship. He’s one of the 3A’s top players.

Defense

DL — Keenan Graham: senior, Silverado. Graham must be doing something right — Michigan, USC, Oklahoma and other top college programs have offered the defender a scholarship.

DL — Alanzi Langstaff: senior, Las Vegas High. Langstaff’s junior campaign was halted with injuries, but once he gets a few games under his belt, he’s expected to be mentioned in the same class as the valley’s other top defensive line recruits.

DL — Justin Chaisson: senior, Bishop Gorman. Chaisson committed to Oklahoma this spring, three months after setting the state’s unofficial sack record at 23 in helping Gorman win the state title.

DL — Rodrick Tuisavalo: senior, Rancho. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Tuisavalalo is likely to be one of the best players hitting the field for the annual Bone Game against Las Vegas, which says a lot when you consider several believe Las Vegas will win the state title. Tuisavalalo is powerful and controls the line of scrimmage.

LB — Damien Proby: senior, Cheyenne. Cheyenne flies under the radar each fall, but Proby and others have the talent to be the last team standing come the beginning of December. Like his team, Proby is often overlooked.

LB — Evan Palelei: junior, Bishop Gorman. Just a junior, Palelei returned a fumble for a touchdown in the Gaels state championship victory. He is the son of former NFL lineman Lonnie Palelei, an assistant coach with Gorman.

LB — T.J. Alofipo: senior, Silverado. Alofipo, who committed to Hawaii this summer, combines with Graham to give the Skyhawks a formidable defense. They allowed 17.5 points per game last year in going undefeated through the regular season.

LB — Liloa Nobriga: senior, Palo Verde. Nobriga has offers from UNLV, Hawaii and Utah for his defensive accolades and will add offensive tackle to his resume this year.

DB — Michael Wadsworth: senior, Silverado. Wadsworth is one of the valley’s most dangerous players on both sides of the ball and special teams. He might not come off the field this fall.

DB — Torin Harris: senior, Palo Verde. The speedy Harris committed to national power USC — enough said. He’ll play more offense this year, possibly even getting work at quarterback.

S — Alex Bonczyk: senior, Palo Verde. Bonczyk often gets lost in the shadow of Palo Verde’s other top players, but if you ask coach Darwin Rost, he’ll say Bonczyk is one of his most reliable players. Bonczyk also stars for the Panthers’ baseball team.

P — Tim Lawson: senior, Del Sol. Lawson, who is also the preseason tight end, might be a bigger weapon for the Dragons as their punter. He averaged 41.8 yards per kick last fall.

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