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December 18, 2014

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL:

Spring Valley counting on versatile players, youth to come through

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Sam Morris

Spring Valley High School football players Jourdain Jackson, Edd Sutton and Rondale Scruggs.

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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.

There’s no purpose in trying to classify Spring Valley’s best athletes by position this season.

The Grizzlies' skill players will do a little bit of everything. Senior Nick Santos is listed as a running back but will motion out to a receiver slot frequently. While Angelo Foschi-Gioeli is a receiver first, don’t rule out rushing attempts.

Spring Valley coach Marcus Teal is going to get his players the ball in a creative manner.

“We like our guys to be versatile,” Teal said. “Whenever you get in the mode where you’re creating mismatches with the defense, it gives you an added advantage.”

Spring Valley is looking for any advantage it can this year after losing the bulk of its roster to graduation. While other coaches might try to downplay inexperience issues, Teal is open about it.

He knows the Grizzlies will rely on some underclassmen this season. The most important question is which ones.

“Trying to deal with the youth is the biggest problem,” Teal said. “We’re trying to find the right guys to fill spots. Our thing is we’ve always been good athletically and big up front. We’re not big up front anymore, so we’re going have to use our quickness.”

It’s fitting then that two of Spring Valley’s defensive standouts would be considered undersized by traditional standards. Teal expects Jourdain Taylor-Jackson and Rondale Scruggs, who barely weigh more than 300 pound combined, to emerge as two of the team’s leading tacklers.

“We really want to get more aggressive on defense,” Teal said. “We’ve got to give ourselves more of a chance this year.”

The Grizzlies defense didn’t always do that last year, as it surrendered more than 35 points in five of 11 games. Teal would like to rush the passer more this year, but it will all depend on how fast his defense develops.

If Spring Valley wants to reach the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year, a few youngsters are going to have to step up.

“Underclassmen are filling some of our spots,” he said. “I’m putting a lot of pressure on those guys.”

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

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