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February 1, 2015

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Top 10 rankings: At 1-3 overall, Palo Verde still deserves to be ranked, right?


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Palo Verde running back Ryan Beaulieu heads upfield against Liberty during their game Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Liberty won the game 42-28.

Liberty vs. Palo Verde

Liberty quarterback Kaimana Nacua runs out of the pocket against Palo Verde during their game Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Liberty won the game 42-28. Launch slideshow »
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer talk Liberty's statement victory, Bishop Gorman's error-filled night and Centennial's time to shine against Arbor View. In the middle of the usual discussion, they break into an argument over which player is having the best season so far — D.J. Pumphrey or Niko Kapeli.

You could easily argue the Palo Verde High football team is one of the best in the nation with a 1-3 record.

You also could argue the Panthers should have a 3-1 record.

Palo Verde was defeated last week by No. 2 Liberty, 42-28 but had the lead with five minutes remaining. Palo Verde could have folded when trailing by double digits in the second half but scored 21 unanswered points to take a one-point lead.

That’s the sign of a good team. A team, that despite its record, still is one of the Las Vegas area’s best.

Palo Verde stays in the Las Vegas Sun’s rankings this week, dropping to No. 7 after the tough loss to Liberty but staying firmly in the rankings.

Palo Verde also has lost to No. 4 Centennial — a game the Panthers dominated for most of the night before giving up a late score. The Panthers also dropped their opener in the middle of August, hanging tough against defending Arizona champion Desert Vista.

The Panthers' schedule won’t yield any breaks this week. On Friday, they host No. 5 Canyon Springs (2-0) and dynamic running back Donnel Pumphrey in the final nonleague game for the team with arguably the toughest league schedule in town.

Here are the rest of the rankings, which are complied weekly by the Sun’s Ray Brewer.

1. Bishop Gorman (2-1): Gorman lost last week to Bergen Catholic of New Jersey for its fourth defeat in the past four years. This week, Gorman plays at California’s Servite trying to avoid a losing streak for the first time since 2005 when Las Vegas High and Bothell of Washington beat the Gaels to open the season.

2. Liberty (1-1): Division I recruits Niko Kapeli (UNLV) and Kai Nacua (BYU) touch the ball on every Liberty offensive play. That’s a good formula for success.

3. Arbor View (3-0): Arbor View didn’t complete a pass last week. But when you rush for 400-plus yards each Friday, why air it out?

4. Centennial (3-0): If you like hard-nosed football, take a trip to Centennial for the Bulldogs' 7 p.m. Friday showdown against Arbor View. Both teams like to run the ball. Only the strong will survive.

5. Canyon Springs (2-0): Canyon Springs has made quick work of Foothill and Cheyenne to open the season. This week, we’ll see how good the Pioneers are against Palo Verde, a major step up in competition.

6. Basic (2-0): At times, you get the feeling the Basic offense can score on every snap. This week, the Wolves will air it out against Bonanza.

7. Palo Verde (1-3): Despite having just one win, perennial power Palo Verde still is a top-tier team. Remember, the Panthers entered with season with just one regular-season loss in the past three years.

8. Las Vegas (1-1): Give Las Vegas credit for hanging tough last week against Rancho Verde of California. The Wildcats dug an early double-digit hole but still had a chance to tie the game late.

9. Coronado (2-0): The Cougars won convincingly for the second straight game last week in a 68-0 victory against Valley. They face a higher-quality opponent this week: Green Valley.

10. Moapa Valley (4-1): The Pirates have outscored four Nevada opponents 224-32 in the new Division I-A. On Friday, they open league play against Sunrise Mountain, another team they’ll dominate.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at

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  1. Yes, Ray, Palo Verde is the best 1-3 football team in the country.
    They should get orange slices at halftime and a participation trophy at the end of the season.

  2. South
    1 Gorman
    2 Liberty
    3 Centennial
    4 Arbor View
    5 Canyon Springs
    6 Basic
    7 Palo Verde
    8 Moapa Valley
    9 Coronado
    10 Cheyenne
    *Vegas, Green Valley

    GV has a very close loss playing away against the #3/4 Arbor View. A win against Coronado puts them in, a close loss keeps them just outside unless there's some upsets in top ten. I still keep Cheyenne at #10 because I don't think Vegas has proven they'd do any better against Canyon Springs, who could arguably be a top 2/3 team. Canyon's game against Palo could either shoot them to as high as #2 or drop them to Palo's current slot, barring a blow out no worse than #7.

    Ray even at 1-3 Palo is still absolutely a top ten team. Gorman could have started 0-4 and still be the #1 team in the state, Liberty could have started 1-2 and still been top 5. Just the way the cookie crumbles the way their strength of schedule played out. 1-3 Palo crushes 4-0 Boulder City and truly would not be a huge upset if Palo beat any of the #4-10 teams even at 1-3.

    1 Gorman
    2 Liberty
    3 Centennial
    4 Arbor View
    5 Canyon Springs
    6 Basic
    7 Palo Verde
    8 Truckee
    9 Moapa Valley
    10 Coronado
    *Cheyenne, Reed, Vegas

    The north is having another down year as far as a runaway #1 candidate in Div I. Reed seems to be the top of Div I but they give up a lot of points, albeit so far against apparently better opposition. This happened last year too and their close loss against Granite Bay looked good on paper but I still think 5-6 teams from Vegas would have beat last years Reed and probably 10 Vegas teams could have beaten 10-0 Carson. I think right now the north has a lot of their top teams evenly matched, making for good competition. Even though Gorman will travel north and slaughter another northern team, I think the way it's playing out that it's very likely the #2,3 or 4 team from the Sunset could go up north and beat their best in Div I this year. I miss when the north had at least 2 squads that could beat or compete with anyone in the south. The last couple years it feels like it's not just Gorman but a lot more than are better than the best 4A/DI from the north. I'm sure we will go back to normal soon as these things go in cycles and soon a northern team will spank a top southern team in state.

  3. That makes no sense. Unless there's a team or teams that are better them they are, why would you rank them higher than Palo? Because 1-3 looks ugly? Palo's 3 losses are against three teams that would likely beat 95% of the other 33 teams in Southern Nevada. I'm picking Palo to lose to Canyon, and if they do respectably they'd still be in the top 10 at 1-4. If you give any team other than Gorman the same first 5 games that Palo had, maybe 2 of them would come out above .500

    Liberty was winless at 0-1 and still ranked #2/3 in the south by most people...why? Because of who the loss is to. Palo's my alma maters hated rival but ranking other teams that aren't as good over them because they have better records against weaker competition is stupid. Coronado may be the best team in the state unfortunately at 2-0 with wins coming against weaker competition we can't reasonably think that.

    Gorman could have started this year 0-4 and still be the #1 ranked team in the state. UNLV sucks, period, that's comparing apples and oranges.

    As the season progresses we may find out that Moapa, Cheyenne, Vegas, Green Valley etc... are all better than Palo. That remains to be seen as they play more common oppponents, tougher opponents and obviously the playoffs start. But right now we know that Centennial, Desert Vista and Liberty would all be heavy favorites against anyone other than AV, Gorman or Canyon Springs...So until the proof shows otherwise why would we rank any of the 27 other teams that would also be 1-3 over Palo?

    Last year the SE last place team killed the NE first place team away from home. Winning or better records do not neccesarily equal a better team.

  4. If there were better teams to place then that would make sense. Why would we put bottom half of top ten teams or teams just outside the top ten over Palo if it is apparent that while they have better records they are not better than Palo?
    We could rank 20 of the 33 teams over Palo because they have better records that doesn't make them better. Palo is down this year clearly. It's not so much that they are that good it's that just like in years past the drop off from the top 2-3-5 teams to the rest is pretty big. There is big disparity in talent outside of the very top teams #8-15 could probably beat each other on any given day.
    Why would we rank Vegas, Boulder City, Moapa or Green Valley over Palo Verde if we know that they'd all likely would lose to Palo and also be 1-3 if they had the same schedule?
    Palo will likely be 5-5 at end of regular season and second in the Northwest. Then they'll play Cim-Mem or Legacy from the Southwest. End of season we will see but I'd say right now until other bubble teams show reason to move up there's no reason to rank someone over them.

  5. Division 1
    1 Gorman
    2 Centennial
    3 Liberty
    4 Canyon Springs
    5 Arbor View
    6 Basic
    7 Coronado
    8 Palo Verde

    Gorman is number 1 till someone beats them
    I put Centennial ahead of LIberty because they have not lost yet. Liberty hasnt done anything more then Centennial they both beat Palo. We will see what Canyon is made out of this week but they did give a good Cheyenne team a beating so I put them ahead of Arbor. Arbor and Basic look solid. I'm not totally sold on Coronado just yet. Need to see how the play against Green Valley. I still have Palo ranked because they could beat half the teams in the top ten but because of their record I will place them 8th in my Division 1 Great 8 South Edition
    Impact Games this week Centennial and Arbor, Canyon and Palo, Coronado and Green Valley

  6. I've seen Palo and Canyon already and I would like to watch teh Arbor View/Centennial game to scope them both out live but I think i'll save the gas and go see Green Valley/Coronado instead.

    Coachearl...I debated doing the same but based on Liberty handling Palo a lot easier than Centennial had to put them above. I think much like Gorman/Bergen the final score of Palo/Liberty was not indicative of the actual difference in the teams. LIberty shot themselves in the foot so many times with penalties and Palo got very lucky on some big breaks, Liberty is better than Palo at every angle and could beat them by 20+ points 9/10 times, while Centennial was in a close fight. No shame in being a #3 in town and Centennial will have plenty of opportunities to prove those who have liberty #2 wrong

  7. Division 2 Impact Games
    League Games start this week

    The Sunrise

    Chaparral and Virgin Valley
    Desert Pines and Boulder City
    Moapa will beats Sunrise.the winners of the other games will challenge Moapa for the Division Title. Most people believe it will be Desert Pines to challenge Moapa. The winners of these 2 games also are setting up the battle for the number 2 spot also.

    The Sunset

    Mojave and Faith Lutheran
    Cheyenne was supposed to runaway with this division but the winner of this game will have something to say about that. They will challenge for the division.Its not Cheyenne's division yet. There is stiff competition in this division.Both teams are coming off victories and believe they have and will continue to improve from week to week. Big big game.

  8. tuasdad.. good point about Liberty and after some thought, Liberty does deserve the #2 spot.

  9. Coach-Mac, I can agree to disagree, that's part of what makes this fun. If everyone had the same opinion it wouldn't be as interesting. Yes, Palo being able to beat the bottom half of the top 15 is my opinion, the opposite is yours. In a few weeks we will likely find out who was right. There's some fun match ups coming up that will be telling about how playoffs might play out. Liberty vs. Canyon, Palo vs. Durango, Basic vs Liberty, Coronado vs Liberty/Basic etc"

    Based on games and practices I've seen that's my opinion. There's a lot of football left and we'll see who moves up and down. I can appreciate the difference in perspective with you coming from California. Nevada is a different beast than Cali. We're more like a little kitten. A kitten that's sick compared to the 1,000 football teams in Cali.

    The biggest difference here and why it is much more predictable is because we have only a handful of football programs and mostly football teams. Programs have up and down years where teams have lucky years. Some schools, through no fault of their own the kids want it and work just as hard, go through a few different head coaches in their 4 years. They have 25 man rosters and no structured system by which they are developed from freshmen year through senior. For many years (even removing the last 4 Gorman years) the top 2-3 teams in the City were a lot better than the next 2 or 3 teams and those were much better than the following few, and finally the bottom 10-15 teams were absolutely interchangeable and had almost no chance of beating any of the top half team.
    This year it isn't as bad, after this week we might find out if Canyon is really that good and teams 1-5 will be about as good as teams 1-3 for the last few years. It's early in the season and depending on who is doing the ranking you have teams like Cheyenne, Vegas, Green Valley, Legacy, Durango, Cim-Mem, Desert O hanging out in the 10+ range. While we are still finding out how good GV and Vegas might be very few of the 10+ teams would be able to keep it respectable against the top 5 teams. There' a big gap. A few weeks from now Cheyenne, Durango, Vegas, GV, Coronado etc.. might have results that would warrant booting Palo out of the top 10 but at least for me, that remains to be seen.
    So look at a list of the 36 teams we could rank. The bottom half aren't even in the fight.
    Palo is having a down year. I've followed them since they first opened. Their roster is as small as I've ever seen it as far as number of players go.

  10. Here is what it looked like in Truckee last Nov., for the playoffs...
    Isn't that just beautiful?

  11. CoachMac.. he's this weeks Coaches poll. I doubt any coach, Rost included, put Palo in the top 5. So the majority of the coaches likely put them right at 7/8, just like we did over here.

    Southern Nevada Football Coaches Poll

    1. Bishop Gorman
    2. Centennial
    3. Liberty
    4. Arbor View
    5. Canyon Springs
    6. Basic
    7. Palo Verde
    8. Coronado
    9. Las Vegas
    10. Green Valley
    Updated: September 19, 2012

  12. LMFAO - ranking a team who's 1-3 disgraces the teams who've won more games. You don't rank teams based on "potential". IMO, you rank teams for what they've shown you ON THE FIELD. Palo doesn't deserve to be #7, just like they didn't deserve to represent the State of Nevada in AZ.

  13. Sinatra- Cool beans. Boulder City is now #1 ranked team at 4-0. Congrats Eagles! I guess Armwood (who beat our Gorman last year as you recall) is the worst team in America since they're officially 0-16 for 2011 season. That'll ding our strength of schedule.

    Coach-Mac, can't disagree there. Most coaches worth a darn don't want to work for peanuts at a school where they get little if any support from admin, alums or parents which applies to almost every school out here.

  14. Coach-Mac...your key word there is *program. Programs make sure they know what's coming up the pipeline where teams, which almost every school has out here just does with what shows up to try outs and isn't concerned about the next year or two.

    This is why Vegas (prior to last season) absolutely dominated the NE side of town for over a decade. Vegas' former longtime coach was a staple at youth football games on the east side.

    We do have a lot of very hard working, dedicated coaches that try very hard to do their best with what they are dealt. Besides some of the obvious examples of programs that are doing well right now, you have Gorroff at Del Sol is incredibly dedicated coach, took them to the state final just five years after the school opened. But it's hard for even a coach as dedicated as him to keep a program going with few students coming out to play and when the school's best athletes are more into having swagg than football and can't get academically eligeable to play

  15. Coach-Mac, open enrollment just started up for most schools this year. I think in the next 2-3 season you will see open enrollment pay off big for some of the programs in town. The best will get better and there will be a much smaller if any gap between Gorman and the top 2/3 schools as it cycles.

    I haven't seen enough 2015 kids to have an opinion there.

    2013- Jay Mattox kicker for Vegas, he will have the best future at college level. But non kicker I would say Solomon. No homer here, i've always said he's good but not great like some tout him but I do think he is the best recruit out of 2014 class. If only Pumphreys was a little bigger I may say him but realistically I'd have to say Mattox then Solomon. Kapeli has a real shot of actually competing for playing time the soonest out of 2013 recruits.

    2014- Starks is the easy answer he's just a beast but i'm going to say Zac Singer. He's getting looks from Oregon and I think his stock will shoot up next year. He's a beast of a kid, playing both ways this year.

  16. Coach Mac, I am from Cali also, Vegas is different. You mention open enrollment. It works both ways. When one school picks up a player another school looses a player. Some coaches and schools try to block these kids from changing schools. The other problem it brings is all the kids all want to go to the same 4 or 5 schools. Kids and parents here dont have the 'we will take on the world ' attitude. They only will send their kid to schools that win. Thats one of the reasons you dont have many programs here. Those coaches cant get the kids.
    Also our little leagues are horrible and have bad coaching. We have people who want to win, not coaches who want to coach kids up and develop them.
    Also if you are looking for good Sophomore's (yes I'm being a homer again) look at Mojave QB Zack Arave (#4 on leaders list) RB Ty Flanagan( #15 on leader list)receiver Marcus Parker(#15 on leaders list) The stating center Franky and one other starting lineman are sophomores also. I dont recall watching Deyon Mc Kinney but heard he is good.
    Sinnatra711 give Palo a break when they lost to an out of state team, Playing those teams are not easy.

  17. LakeTahoeGuy... I looked at those pictures... wow!
    I don't know if the Vegas teams are ready for that weather. Also is Truckee that good and will any north team in the division challenge them.

  18. Coach Earl,
    The other two undefeated teams in the North, Fallon and Fernley could give Truckee a good game.
    I have not seen Fernley play yet, but hope to see their game from tomorrow night, when they play Spring Creek. Apparently though, Spring Creek is having a down year, so it may not tell us much.
    I did get to see Fallon play last Friday night, againt Dayton. Dayton hurt themselves in their games against both Fallon and Truckee.
    I am predicting that both Fallon and Truckee will be undefeated when they face each other in Week 8, at Fallon.(Oct. 19th) Fallon gave Truckee good games both times they played last year.
    Truckee will NOT overlook Fernley though, when they come to town on Oct. 6th. That game will tell the rest of the Div. I-A plenty.
    Truckee still does not have their #1 RB (rushed for over 1,000 yards last season) back from injury yet. He is also a force on Defense.
    The Wolverines were banged up pretty good at the start of the season, so hopefully they will be healthy come October...
    When and if healthy, it will be a difficult task to beat the Wolverines, especially at home...