Monday, Aug. 20, 2012 | 2 a.m.
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Back from Arizona, a heartbroken Ray Brewer recounts the costly mistakes that made Nevada teams go 0-2 in this year's Sollenberger Classic. Fellow Las Vegas Sun sports reporter Case Keefer helps him cope by looking at this week's national showdown between Bishop Gorman and Maryland's Our Lady Of Good Counsel. The two also babble semi-coherently on the rest of the week's games and high school football players' favorite rappers. Don't forget to subscribe to Prep Sports Now on Itunes.
A football player from Basic High School typically isn’t mentioned when talking about a can’t-miss college prospect in Southern Nevada.
But, when it comes to senior wide receiver Devonte Boyd and junior all-purpose back Antraye Johnson, the Wolves’ offense could be one of the area’s most dynamic this fall.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Boyd is a top recruiting target for UNLV and has been Basic’s No. 1 option in the passing game since his sophomore year. Last year, he caught 65 passes for 1,118 yards and eight touchdowns in leading Basic to the Sunrise Regional semifinals.
Johnson already has a scholarship offer from Utah State and will never come off the field — he’ll line up at running back, wide receiver and quarterback; handle kick returns; and be the punter and place-kicker.
They are two members of the Sun’s preseason all-city team, joining nine from three-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman and two each from perennial power Palo Verde and two-time Sunrise Region champion Liberty.
Gorman, Palo Verde and Liberty are regular stops for college coaches on the recruiting trail because their rosters are always stacked with talented players. Now, the coaches will also make their way to east Henderson to recruit Basic’s athletic duo.
Last year, Basic sent a player directly to a Division I school for the first time in more than 15 years. That trend will continue on the next two signing days with Boyd, who in addition to UNLV also has offers from Duke and Utah State, and Johnson.
“They are right up there with the best guys in the city,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said. “Devonte has as much talent at wide receiver as anyone around. And with Antraye, we haven’t had a guy like that before who is that good at multiple things.
“The big thing for us is having them both. There won’t be one guy everyone can focus on (defending) because the other one will hurt you.”
During last year’s Sunrise Regional quarterfinals, some felt Basic would be overwhelmed facing a Canyon Springs squad known for its athletic players at several positions. But Boyd caught seven passes for 170 yards and a touchdown and Basic was hardly challenged in knocking off top-seeded Canyon Springs, 42-21.
“We overlooked Basic. We really did,” Canyon Springs coach Hunkie Cooper said. “We thought it was a bunch of kids coming from Boulder City’s way. Basic played a great game. Their kids took it to us.”
Then, this summer, with Boyd and Johnson leading the way, Basic won UNLV’s 7-on-7 passing league tournament. The event also featured Gorman, which Basic didn’t play.
The success has led to confidence.
“By us throwing deep a lot to me, it opens up the run for him,” Boyd said. “When he scores touchdowns and makes big runs, it opens up the play action and passes for me. That’s going to make us tough to stop.”
Added Johnson, “On the field, Boyd considers me his little brother. When we play, we both do our parts and try to make it happen.”
The rest of the preseason team includes eight who have already verbally committed to colleges — Gorman’s Anu Solomon (Arizona) and Isaiah Nacua (BYU), Liberty’s Kai Nacua (BYU) and Niko Kapeli (UNLV), Centennial’s Trajan Pili (BYU), Canyon Springs’ Donnel Pumphrey (San Diego State), Foothill’s Tyler Morris (San Diego State) and Durango’s Marcus Williams (Utah).
Another seven players have Division I scholarship offers, including Gorman 2014 prospect Nate Starks with offers from powerhouse programs Oklahoma and Texas.
Here’s a look at the rest of the team. (This year, the Sun purchased jerseys for each player).
About Anu: The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Solomon is already the most accomplished passer in Nevada history. He’s been the national-power Gaels starting quarterback since his freshman season, winning a record three state titles and passing for 7,215 yards and 101 touchdowns. He’s a four-star recruiting prospect and verbally committed to the University of Arizona.
About Niko: The UNLV-bound Kapeli is Liberty’s all-time leading rusher with 4,298 career yards and 43 touchdowns. He broke his own single-game rushing record last year when he gained 310 yards in the Sunrise Regional semifinals against Las Vegas High. Last year, he rushed for 2,389 yards and 29 touchdown, including picking up 157 yards against Gorman in the state semifinals.
About Donnel: The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Pumphrey is one of the fastest running backs in Southern Nevada with 4.43-second speed in the 40-yard dash, gaining 1,666 yards and scoring 22 touchdowns in 2011. He is verbally committed to San Diego State.
About Devonte: A key UNLV recruiting target, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Boyd had a monster junior season in 2011, finishing with 65 receptions for 1,118 yards and eight touchdowns. He has scholarship offers from UNLV, Duke and Utah State.
About Ryan: Smith plays much bigger than his 5-foot-7, 160-pound frame. A four-year varsity performer, he enters this fall with 123 career receptions for 2,316 yards and 33 touchdowns. In last year’s state title game, he caught six passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns. He has scholarship offers from Utah State and New Mexico.
About Tyler: The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Morris, who is verbally committed to San Diego State, plays all over the field for the Falcons. As a wide receiver, he caught 25 passes for 515 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011. He will also line up in the secondary or at linebacker this fall.
About Elijah: The 6-foot-4, 240-pound George is the state’s top noncommitted prospect. He has double-digit scholarship offers, including from Oregon State, Duke, Colorado, San Diego State, UNLV and others. An athletic lineman with 4.93-second speed in the 40-yard dash, George was an all-Northwest League selection the past two years.
About Tanner: The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Britton, who will be a three-year starter for power Gorman, is the most seasoned member of the Gaels’ line.
About Lott: The 6-foot-1, 300-pound Haia-Kahalewai took over as Gorman’s starting center midway through his sophomore season in 2010 and has been a mainstay up front for the perennial power Gaels.
About Tyrell: Crosby combines his 6-foot-4, 300-pound frame with excellent footwork and 5.3-second speed in the 40-yard dash. He started every game last year as a sophomore and has recruiting interest from the likes of Nebraska, UCLA and Utah.
About Michael: Easily the top lineman in Division I-A, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Cisneros will be a force on both sides of the ball for the Jaguars and a big reason why some believe Desert Pines will win a state championship. He has recruiting interest from schools such as Colorado, Arizona State, Boise State and Utah.
About Myloe: The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Lewis is an early candidate for player of the year in the new Division I-A. Last year, he rushed for 963 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he will be a force in the return game because of his 4.6-second speed in the 40-yard dash.
About Antraye: The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Johnson, who already has a scholarship offer from Utah State, is one of Southern Nevada’s top college prospects for the class of 2014. He’ll play all over the field for the Wolves — running back, wide receiver, quarterback in the Wildcat formation, kicker and punter. Last year, he rushed for 758 yards and 10 touchdowns, passed for two scores and had a pair of touchdown receptions.
About Marcus: Williams, who bested nearly 1,300 other recruits in early April by recording the highest score at the Nike Football SPARQ Combine in Long Beach, Calif., is verbally committed to Utah. He played just three games last year, shining in each of them — he rushed for 237 yards and two touchdowns against Sierra Vista, scored twice against Pahrump Valley and had a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Desert Oasis.
About Kai: The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Nacua is a three-year starter at quarterback for Liberty but was recruited to play linebacker in college at BYU and should play both positions this fall for the Patriots.
About Jay: The left-footed kicker Mattox is rated as one of the top 12 kickers nationally for the class of 2013 by Chris Sailer Kicking, connecting on 16-of-20 fields goals over the past two years for the Wildcats. Considered a 4.5-star kicker on Chris Sailer’s evaluating scale of five stars, Mattox recorded touchbacks on 70 percent of his kickoffs last year.
About Austin: Rowe has been kicking for Bonanza since his freshman season, connecting on 7 of 9 field goals last year with a long of 44 yards and made 41 of 42 extra points. At punter, he averaged 40.3 yards per punt and placed 23 percent of his 17 punts inside the 20-yard line.
About Zack: The 6-foot-2, 295-pound defensive lineman had 68 tackles and eight sacks last year as a sophomore.
About Isaiah: The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Nacua, who committed this summer to BYU, was a force last year on the defensive line for Gorman in his sophomore season. Also, he impressed during the offseason at recruiting camps, landing scholarship offers from Arizona State and BYU, and recruiting interest from other schools.
About Rayshawn: The 5-foot-10, 270-pound Henderson was a force last year on the interior defensive line for Canyon Springs in earning all-Northeast League honors and helping the Pioneers capture the Northeast crown.
About Jake: The 6-foot-2, 230-pound defensive end, who has scholarship offers from Colorado State and Dartmouth, will be one of the veteran leaders of Gorman’s defense.
About Trajan: The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Pili, who has been committed to BYU since last summer, had a monster junior season with 79 tackles, 4.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. As Centennial’s tight end, three of his five catches were for touchdowns.
About Tobias: The 5-foot-9, 230-pound Carson had more than 100 tackles last year from his middle linebacker position in earning all-Northwest League honors. Some feel he’s the state’s top linebacker but frequently is overlooked because of his size.
About Arie: The 5-foot-11, 205-pound McQuaig is a two-way starter for Durango, anchoring the Trailblazers’ defense in 2011 with 69 tackles and an interception. At running back, he rushed for 831 yards and 12 touchdowns.
About Randy: The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Ricks, who had 33 tackles and eight sacks in 2011, is one of the most well-put-together athletes in Southern Nevada. He has scholarship offers from Idaho, New Mexico and San Diego State.
About Justin: A shutdown defensive back, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Sweet has scholarship offers from UNLV, UNR, Colorado State, Fresno State and New Mexico. Last year, he accounted for 12 pass break-ups, 48 tackles and an interception.
About Ryan: The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Beaulieu is typically one of the best players on the field each Friday night, accounting for eight touchdowns last year — three rushing, one receiving and four on special teams or defense. He also averaged 43.5 yards per punt return. In the secondary, he had four interceptions and 36 tackles.
About Lee: The 5-foot-7, 170-pound Griggs had 52 tackles and four sacks last year in helping Palo Verde win a second consecutive Northwest Division title. Offensively, he rushed for 16 touchdowns in nearly 1,000 yards and added five receiving touchdowns.
About Nate: One of the nation’s top recruiting prospects for the class of 2014, Starks already has scholarship offers from the likes of powers Oklahoma and Texas. Last year, Starks was a regular — and a force — in Gorman’s secondary while doubling at running back. In 2011, the 6-foot, 200-pound Starks rushed for 657 yards and 10 touchdowns on 52 carries.