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November 26, 2014

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL:

Offensive line is a strength for Bonanza

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Sam Morris

Bonanza High School football players Curtiss Montenegro and Tim Sweeney.

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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.

More than remnants remain from a Bonanza offense that flew through the season last year to the tune of 38 points per game.

Although the Bengals lost their top skill players who received credit for the gaudy statistics, they return most of the offensive line that made the success possible.

“Through nine games, we led the state in offense,” Bonanza coach Shawn Dupris said. “There’s something to be said for that with those guys coming back.”

Curtis Montenegro, Tim Sweeney and Jaden Nakata anchor a front that Dupris believes will be one of the best in the Southwest Division.

They’ll have a whole new crew of running backs to block for, as the carries will be split early in the season. Sophomores Rico Soto and Jayveon Taylor lead the list of options at running back.

“It’s different from the past,” Dupris said. “We’ve always had a 1,200-yard rusher. This year, it could be five different guys that we get the ball to. We’re not going to be concentrated on one kid, but that’s fine with me.”

If Taylor lives up to his potential, he’s likely to emerge as the team’s leading rusher. According to Durpis, he should be the fastest player in town.

Taylor won the state championship in the 100-meter dash as a freshman last spring and placed second in the Junior Olympics this summer in Kansas.

“He’s been a football player his whole life, but he also really excels in track,” Dupris said. “Like I said, we’re young but we have some talent.”

On defense, Bonanza plans to switch things up by running more schemes and tuning up its aggressiveness. The Bengals will stop at nothing to improve after surrendering a disastrous 41 points per game last year.

They’re optimistic their fortunes will change behind senior captains Sweeney and Colton Bennion. Bennion leads an experienced secondary. Sweeney was a second-team all-conference defensive end last year, but Dupris moved him to linebacker this year.

“He’s done a lot of good things for us,” Dupris said. “He’s a tough kid and a hard-nosed kid.”

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

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