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April 17, 2014

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High school football:

Spring Valley giving the keys to youngsters with hopes of getting to playoffs

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Spring Valley High football players (from left) Tyler Stevens, Marquist Bell and Matthew Cataldi before the 2013 season.

Marcus Teal, Spring Valley head coach

Marcus Teal, Spring Valley head coach, talks about the upcoming season.

Northwest League — 2013

Palo Verde High football players (from left) Sean Dennis, Josh Hamilton and Parker Rost before the 2013 season. Launch slideshow »
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.

It’s unnerving handing the keys to a bunch of kids, but at least Spring Valley High football coach Marcus Teal doesn’t have to wait long to see how his group will handle the responsibility.

Teal’s team opens the season Saturday against Idaho’s Pocatello High on the campus of Idaho State, the same field where Teal played running back and receiver in college.

“I’m a little excited, a little nervous,” Teal said. "I want them to represent their state well.”

It’s not just on road trips the Grizzlies will be inexperienced. Teal is trying to get back to the playoffs with a sophomore-heavy lineup that could lead to a boom or bust season.

Teal said there would be youngsters littered throughout the offensive line and linebackers, while the newcomers also include sophomore Brandon Peterson at quarterback.

“It’s a lot to ask a young kid like that to put it on his shoulders,” Teal said.

Yet that’s exactly what he intends to do. Teal’s offense will be a pistol attack that takes advantage of Peterson’s strength, which is mostly his ability to run the ball.

“It’s the go-to offense as of late,” Teal said. “If you have a guy who can run, you’re going to be dangerous.”

The passing game is a work in progress, one the team hopes starts rounding into form around the time they begin league play in the Sunset Northwest League on Oct. 11 at Arbor View.

On the other side of the ball, Teal said he would run a base 3-5 set that makes up for the team’s relative lack of size up front by getting its best athletes on the field as linebackers. It’s a similar philosophy to the offensive spread — put athletes in space and let them work — applied to the opposite side.

All of it is geared towards one thing: succeeding in league play and playing for a championship.

“Getting back to the playoffs is a big thing, because we’re used to being there,” Teal said. “Now we’ve taken a couple of years off and we’re hungry to get back.”

Teal will find out just how close to ready his young squad is this weekend, and then it’s really time to see where the youngsters can take him.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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