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September 2, 2014

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high school football:

Clark football changes offense with hopes of reaching playoffs

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Clark High football players (from left) Edwin Centeno, Benson Joseph and Cory Corral before the 2013 season.

Division-IA Sunset — 2013

Cheyenne High football players (from left) Martel Evans, Terry Dodd and Deonte Perkins before the 2013 season. Launch slideshow »

Don Willis, Clark head coach

Don Willis, Clark head coach, talks about the upcoming season.

Prep Sports Now

Football season preview

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Prep Sports Now returns from hibernation just in time for football season. Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer go through every league and discuss every team in town, giving predictions along and players to watch along the way.

After seeing the speed and athleticism of some of his skilled position players in offseason workouts, Clark High football coach Don Willis knew he had to make a change to the offense.

Previously, the Chargers operated out of the wing-T. This fall, they’ll be in the spread, giving those players a chance to be difference-makers.

“I’m really excited about the upcoming season because we have more athleticism than before,” Willis said. “The offense fits the kids we have this year. We have to get them the ball in space.”

The newcomers include running back Milan Dixon, who at 5-foot-6, 175 pounds has shown to have the ability to make defenders miss.

“He’s electrifying. That would be the best way to describe him,” Willis said.

Other players expected to impact the offense include wide receiver Cory Corral (6-foot-2, 170 pounds) and running back Tyrek Wells (6-foot 200 pounds).

Defensive end Benson Joseph, who at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds is one of Clark’s best-built players, will lead the defense. Corral and Wells are also expected to contribute at linebacker, and Edwin Centeno (6-foot-3, 255 pounds) could be a force on the defensive line.

“Our defense is flying around a lot better than last year,” Willis said.

Cheyenne and Mojave should be the class of the Division IA Sunset, leaving the other four teams — Clark, Faith Lutheran, Pahrump Valley and Western — fighting for two playoff spots. It’s a race Willis feels his team has a good chance of being competitive in.

Willis became the Clark coach during its 42-game losing streak that was snapped in 2007. However, the Chargers haven’t reached the playoffs since the 1990s.

“If we can win our first three games in league — against Pahrump, Faith and Western — I like our chances (at the playoffs),” Willis said.

Last year, Clark also thought it could be playoff bound after dropping to the lower Division IA classification. However, they stumbled against Pahrump, which earned the final playoff spot. Clark won just one game.

“We have a lot more talent than last year,” Corral said. “I’m definitely expecting more than one win. I started out thinking we would do great (last year) because we moved down a division. Then, we had some people quit and others get hurt, and it was a big disappointment. It was an eye-opener. It gave us a lot of perspective to change this year.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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