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November 26, 2014

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high school football:

Las Vegas High hopeful it can return as one of the area’s elite teams

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Las Vegas High football players (from left) Aaron Zanin-Banks, Randy Ramirez and Eduardo Guardado before the 2013 season.

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer go through the schedule and discuss all of Saturday's games after looking back at the major topics to come out of the first two weeks of football.

James Thurman, Las Vegas head coach

James Thurman, Las Vegas head coach, talks about the upcoming season.

Northeast League — 2013

Canyon Springs football players, from left, defensive back Raequan Bascombe, linebacker Isiah Carter, defensive lineman Rayshawn Henderson, running back Zaviontay Stevenson and defensive back A.J. Cooper.

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It’s been seven years since the Las Vegas High football team last hoisted the state championship trophy and three years since the Wildcats won the Sunrise Region title.

Las Vegas coach James Thurman has a few ideas on why they have taken a step back to other teams in the area.

Whether it was open enrollment strengthening programs at other schools in the Sunrise or Las Vegas having to play young players in key spots, the Wildcats haven’t been the dominating program as past seasons.

“We were dealt the hand we got,” Thurman said. “We hope to compete for league and region titles. Hopefully that’s where we can get to this year.”

Thurman’s list of theories is not excuses, however, and the Wildcats are ready to reclaim their spot as one of the area’s premier squads.

“We can’t be complacent,” Thurman said. “We have to improve every week and outwork the opponent.”

While Thurman expects his team to be inexperienced again there are plenty of things the Wildcats can be excited about.

For starters, running back Andrew Moreland returns for his senior season. Moreland, who is part of the Sun's preseason all-city team, ran for 1,211 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.

“He’s a key fixture for us,” Thurman said. “He’ll get his number called a lot.”

Junior Trevor Swenson is slated to play his second season at quarterback, after throwing for 1,786 yards with 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He will have senior Aaron Zanin as his top returning target.

“Hopefully, we’re balanced,” Thurman said. “We like to run it and throw it. … If you’re going to pack the box, we’ll try and throw it.”

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Jacob Littlefield

Junior Jacob Littlefield and senior Randy Ramirez lead a linebacker group that will look to lead a defense.

Littlefield, who was also part of the Sun's preseason team, is considered one of the area’s top linebackers.

“He is a special kid. He’s a hard worker,” Thurman said. “One of our pound-for-pound strongest kids in the weight room. He has a knack to find the ball. His family is a football family. He knows how to play football. It’s one of those things, you can’t teach him sometimes.”

The Wildcats finished third in the Sunrise Northeast, but were bounced in the first-round of the playoffs.

Thurman thinks this season — and the ones ahead — will be better.

“By no means, we’re happy to lose in the playoffs, but we weren’t quite ready last year,” Thurman said. “We’re excited to think the future could be bright here. We’ll keep rolling up our sleeves and working.”

Paul Delos Santos can be reached at 990-2416 or mail to [email protected] Follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/pauliedelos.

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