Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer celebrate the return of football season with an hour-long podcast diving into anything and everything regarding local high schools. They also look back on the victories by Bishop Gorman and Moapa Valley in the Sollenberger Classic and finish with week one picks.
Other Northwest Division schools
- Palo Verde again at the top of the heap in competitive Northwest league
- Talented Legacy squad knows importance of opening season strong
- Cimarron-Memorial determined to prove last year’s season was an ‘exception’
- Newfound depth has hopes high at Shadow Ridge
- Cheyenne needs to improve defense to bounce back
- Jacobi Owens, Trajan Pili lead revitalized Centennial program into season
- Faith Lutheran has to replace several key performers from last year
- New coach, new attitude gives Mojave reasons to be optimistic
If the Arbor View football team were a boxer, its first few matchups this season would be against helpless foes in attempt to bolster its record.
Arbor View — a team that leaned on a loaded roster of underclassmen en route to a school-record 10-2 season last year — is one of the most promising up-and-coming squads in the region. Unfortunately for the Aggies, high school football schedulers aren’t as keen on easing potential juggernauts into competition as fight promoters.
“They both have great programs,” Arbor View coach Dan Barnson said. “Palo is obviously always at the top of our division and Liberty kind of had a season like ours last year. Although they had a good year before, they really broke out last year.”
Arbor View scratched off a couple program milestones in 2010 including making the playoffs for the first time and winning a first-round game. It outlasted Durango in a 48-46 shootout.
The five rushers who combined to rack up 524 yards in that game — Donnie Gaskin, Roderick Eason, Steve Burns, Christian Rodriguez and Henry Hoffend — are all back to orchestrate Arbor View’s run-first attack.
Barnson has sensed a feeling of unfinished business from his team as a whole, which he cheerfully accepts. The players seem to have struck a healthy balance between remembering what they accomplished last year while still putting it behind them in search for something more.
“Do you think the Patriots wore their Super Bowl rings around a few years back?” Barnson asked. “And we didn’t come close to winning any rings. The kids are proud of what we did, but it’s time to move on.”
Either Gaskin, a junior, or Burns, a senior, could lead Arbor View in rushing on any given night. Eason fits in that category, too, although he’s even better on the other side of the ball as a defensive back. Rodriguez is the bruising fullback, while Hoffend enters his second year at quarterback.
Barnson expects the Aggies to improve up front this season. Starters on the line include 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior Jordan Mock and 6-foot-5, 220-pound junior Elijah George, who made the preseason All Sun team.
“He’s a big kid,” Barnson said. “He’ll help anchor that unit. We’re expecting big things out of him.”