Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 | 1:43 a.m.
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer look ahead to another week of high school football and detail why the Northwest division appears to be the strongest in town. Palo Verde, Arbor View, Centennial, Cimarron and Cheyenne have all looked impressive in the early season.
Not just the Aggies football team, but the entire Arbor View High School community. It was an emotional week at Arbor View as everyone at the school tried to cope with the loss of 15-year old sophomore Alyssa Otremba, who was attacked and stabbed to death while walking home a week ago.
“We knew that her family was here,” said senior wide receiver and defensive back Roderick Eason. “We knew we were going to be very supportive of her and her family. This one was for her tonight.”
All of the Aggies players wore stickers on the back of their helmets with Otremba’s initials, which they will keep for the rest of the year. The band, which Otremba was a member of, dedicated its halftime performance to her memory.
There was also a moment of silence before kickoff and a section of students who wore neon-colored shirts, which symbolized Otremba’s personality, as a memorial.
“It was a rough week at the school,” Arbor View coach Dan Barnson said. “It really was, but our school showed tonight that there were a lot of people here to support her and support us.”
The Aggies thrilled the packed stands from the beginning of the game. They scored on their first possession of the game when junior running back Donnie Gaskin broke two tackles on his way to a 33-yard touchdown.
Centennial threatened to answer immediately and drove down to inside the red zone on its next possession, but Arbor View stuffed a fourth-and-one play to manage a turnover-on-downs.
The game followed that basic script for the rest of the way. The Aggies were always one step ahead of the Bulldogs.
“We got it done,” Eason said. “We’ve got some stuff to clean up.”
Arbor View rushed for 257 yards as a team. Eason had 25 carries for 137 yards, while Gaskin gained 95 yards on 15 rushes.
Eason’s biggest play, however, came in the passing game. Junior quarterback Henry Hoffend found him wide open for a 51-yard touchdown to make the score 14-6 with seven minutes to go before halftime.
Arbor View forced two straight turnovers on Centennial’s next two possessions that led to field goals from Brian McIntire. The second turnover came when senior linebacker Jordan Godman ripped the ball out of Centennial quarterback Austin Turley’s hands during a sack.
“He couldn’t stay in the pocket as long as he wanted to see the receivers open,” Eason said. “We rushed him to mess up his timing and it helped our (defensive backs) out.”
The failure to launch from the Centennial passing game didn’t have too much of an effect early as senior running back Jacobi Owens made up for it with 16 carries for 111 yards.
But when the Bulldogs got the ball back with 1:53 remaining and 85 yards in front of them, they knew they would have to throw. Arbor View didn’t allow it, forcing three incompletions with pressure and one short Turley scramble on the possession.
“We were yelling, ‘Play big in big moments. This is a big moment,’” Barnson said.