Aaron Thompson / Special to the Home News
Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Starting a football program at a brand new high school is a daunting challenge, but it is one that Sunrise Mountain High coach Jason Basso is prepared for.
After spending last season as an assistant with then first-year school Desert Oasis, Basso gained valuable insight in to what it takes to build a new team.
“Coaching at a new school last year really helped,” Basso said. “I had a really good idea of what to expect talent-wise not having a senior class.”
Sunrise Mountain has no senior class, is ineligible from qualifying for the playoffs and won’t begin league play until next year.
“You take for granted how much one year of school, one year in the weight room, one year on the field can really impact your team,” Basso said.
The Miners also face the challenge of building a cohesive team from a group of students who come from seven different schools in northeast area of Las Vegas. Most of school’s students attended Desert Pines, Eldorado and Mojave last year.
The coach, however, said he has some talented players.
At 6-5, 200 pounds junior wide receiver Cody Trapp possesses all the physical attributes necessary to become the cornerstone of the Miner’s offense, the coach said.
“He’s a big kid with size, great hands and good speed,” Basso said.
Throwing to Trapp will be versatile left-handed quarterback Robert Kelichner. The 6-1, 190 pound junior has been battling four other candidates for the starting job over the summer, but Kelichner also has the athletic ability to play at running back.
“Our skill positions by far are the biggest asset of our team right now,” Basso said. “Our strength is going to be our team speed.”
At 6-4 and 285 pounds, it will be up to offensive and defensive lineman Dillon White to anchor the line.
“He’s the prototypical lineman,” said Basso. “He’s come a long way since we started in the spring. His footwork and hand work has really improved.”
The progress the Miners have made over the summer has give Basso confidence going into their first season.
“We are further along than I was last year at Desert Oasis,” Basso said. “My quarterback play throughout the summer has looked much better, my offensive line is looking stronger, and my skill guys I’m very impressed with.”