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April 16, 2014

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PREP FOOTBALL:

Legacy tops Palo Verde for biggest win in school history

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Justin M. Bowen

Legacy’s Dom Fuiava, right, hugs teammates DeShae Edwards after the Longhorns’ 7-6 victory Friday night against Palo Verde.

Week 7: Palo Verde vs Legacy

Legacy moved to 7-0 on the season by defeating Palo Verde 7-6 Friday night at Legacy High School. It was just the second time in two years that Palo Verde had lost a football game.

Week 7: Palo Verde vs. Legacy Preview

Greenspun Interactive Sports Editor Ray Brewer gives us his pick for game of the week: Palo Verde vs Legacy

Palo Verde at Legacy

The Legacy Longhorns take the field Friday to face Palo Verde Panthers.  Legacy came out on top 7-6. Launch slideshow »
Prep Sports Now

Into the heart of football season

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Ray Brewer and Steve Silver break down last week's high school football contests and preview this Friday's upcoming games including the clash of unbeaten Del Sol/Silverado and Palo Verde/Legacy.

Expanded coverage

Legacy High football coach Dave Snyder will never forget the first practice.

Some three months before the North Las Vegas school was set to open in 2006, Snyder organized the program’s initial workout at nearby Clifford Findlay Middle School with hopes of laying the foundation for the future.

Roughly 100 players were in attendance that afternoon, and while the group was inexperienced, Snyder saw the potential. He had a handful of athletes with size, a few more with speed and several with a passion for the game.

More importantly, the children had an instant chemistry and genuinely rooted for one another. It was a formula Snyder knew he could turn into a winner.

Fast-forward four years.

Sophomore LJ McMorris scored on a 9-yard touchdown run with 4:12 to play Friday night against visiting Palo Verde and the Longhorns defensive did the rest in a 7-6 victory.

The game, which pitted two undefeated teams fighting for first place in the Northwest Division, was the biggest win in Legacy’s brief history.

This was just Palo Verde’s second loss in two years — the first coming in the state championship game last fall. Palo Verde, which has played in the last seven state semifinals, is widely considered one of Southern Nevada’s marquee programs.

After proving itself against the best, Legacy’s players feel they will be a major player next month in the playoffs.

Legacy celebrated like it had won something more than a league game midway through the season. For the Longhorns, you see, the victory was a reward for four years of hard work.

“This was our state championship game,” said Billy Purcell, Legacy’s senior linebacker who was part of those first practices. “Nobody thought we could beat them, but we just keep hitting them hard. Soon, you could tell they didn’t want to get hit anymore.”

This was the first time Legacy (7-0) beat Palo Verde in three attempts. They also topped Cimmaron-Memorial in overtime last week for their first win against the Spartans.

“This was a huge accomplishment for the program,” Snyder said. “When you open a school, this is where you want to end up being. It’s just so hard to get here.”

Running back DeShae Edwards, who entered with 14 touchdowns and nearly 1,000 rushing yards in six games, missed most of the second half with an injured ankle.

But McMorris made the most of his opportunity, rushing for 84 yards on 14 carries and scoring arguably the biggest touchdown in the program’s history.

Palo Verde (6-1) took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter when defensive lineman Dillon Chaisson recovered a fumble in the end zone for the first points of the game.

But the Panthers, who have dissected the opposition all season with their double-wing attack, didn’t score an offensive touchdown and struggled moving the ball.

Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost instructed his team to not point any fingers or assign blame for the loss. Junior Brandon Wright led Palo Verde with 91 yards on 23 carries — a downgrade for Palo Verde's offense that had scored 48 or more points in four of its previous six games.

“The film will let us know what we did wrong and what we need to work on,” Rost said. “We need to get back to work in the weight room. We need to start practicing like we have something to prove, like we want to win the state championship.”

Capturing state is now a realistic goal for Legacy. It’s something they first started talking about during those memorable workouts at Findlay.

“We knew this would be our year. We knew we couldn’t be stopped,” said Dom Fuiava, a senior offensive lineman who has been with the program since its inception.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected].

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