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September 20, 2014

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Legacy feels pressure to live up to last year’s division title

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Sam Morris

Legacy High School football players Jordan Pinkney, Nate Tuitasi and L.J. McMorris.

Prep Sports Now

Previewing the new football season

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer discuss the upcoming high school football season. They will let you know whether or not anyone can dethrone defending state champion Bishop Gorman, release their state title sleepers teams and give a quick breakdown of the area's 30-plus schools.

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L.J. McMorris rushed for the most memorable touchdown in Legacy’s school history last year when he scored late in the fourth quarter against Palo Verde to give the Longhorns a 7-6 victory.

Legacy hopes McMorris, now a junior, can produce like that on a consistent basis this season. With the graduation of star running back DeShae Edwards, much of the offensive onus will fall on McMorris.

“Obviously, we carry the football a lot,” Legacy coach Dave Snyder said. “I think he can carry the load.”

McMorris and the Longhorns won’t sneak up on anyone. Not after last season, when they upset both Palo Verde and Cimarron-Memorial to win the Sunset Northwest division.

Legacy was the biggest surprise in Southern Nevada in 2009 as it recorded an undefeated regular season in only its fourth year as a school.

“I think Palo Verde will always have that target because they’ve had so much success year-in and year-out,” Snyder said. “But we did win the division last year. I think we’re up to the task to defend it.”

Legacy will have to defend the title with an almost entirely different team. The Longhorns lost more than half of their starters on both offense and defense.

One who is back on both sides is imposing offensive lineman and defensive end James Price, a member of the Preseason All-Sun Team.

Price regularly disrupted Northwest division rivals run games last season and it should be no different this year.

“We expect big things from him,” Snyder said.

Splitting carries with McMorris will be junior Jordan Ireland, who is in his first year playing for Legacy.

Snyder said Ireland possessed undeniable talent, but the question would be how it translated on the field. That’s a pretty fair description of the entire team.

“We’re just inexperienced and have a lot of kids who haven’t played varsity,” Snyder said. “Overall, I think we have a pretty good team. We’ll just have to see what happens as far as the inexperience goes.”

No time will exist for a learning curve. As one of only two teams in Las Vegas who went undefeated last year, Legacy is going to get every opponent’s best game.

“Any time you go undefeated in the regular season, everyone is gunning for you,” Snyder said. “We’ve got to come to play. I think the young kids are expecting that.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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