Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 | 5:35 p.m.
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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.
The excitement of making the postseason turned into a nightmare for the Pahrump Valley football team in the final game of 2012.
It was then second-year Pahrump coach Joe Clayton realized something.
“We got the feeling like they didn’t belong there,” Clayton said of the 65-0 rout at the hands of perennial power Moapa Valley in the opening round of the Division I-A playoffs.
So in the offseason, Clayton’s main objective was to prove to the returning players they belong. Clayton reports his team has a different mentality heading into this season, which begins Friday when they host Chaparral.
Players started to gain confidence during a camp where they played alongside teams from the Las Vegas area with a larger enrollment. Unlike the loss to Moapa Valley, Clayton feels the Trojans weren’t overwhelmed.
“This group here is starting to realize they can compete,” Clayton said. “We’re able to move the ball and defend better than we ever have. They know they have some skill.”
A.J. Segura returns for his fourth year as Pahrump’s starting quarterback, giving the Trojans a veteran leader of the offense.
“He’s a very confident and very skilled player,” Clayton said. “He’s on the small side, but he’s quick and has a strong arm. We have the confidence that he runs this offense pretty well.”
Pahrump has its best defensive line in the past four seasons blocking for Segura and the running backs, Clayton said.
Running backs Tae Tae Brown, Scotty Maughn and Keenan Harris join him in the backfield, while 6-foot-4 tight end Deon Estes gives Segura a big target to throw to.
Like most low-enrollment schools, Pahrump’s success will be partially determined by injuries. If it can avoid losing players at key spots, the sky is the limit.
“We’ve simplified it where we can have guys who can play two or three positions, and shifting guys around is basically all we can do,” he said. “By having a simplified system, it’s really easy to learn several positions in the case that (injuries) arise.”