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September 17, 2014

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Cimarron-Memorial football team looking for a turnaround of its own

Playoffs or bust for the Spartans who look to restore their tradition

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Cimarron-Memorial High football players before the 2013 season included (top row, from left) Frank Tito and Jeffrey Prince. On the bottom row from left is Michael Barnson and Tim Wooters.

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The Fluke Bowl; Battle for Chicken Fingers

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters spend extra time this week discussing impending matchups between Green Valley and Coronado and Centennial and Arbor View. They also look back on the Henderson Bowl and Bishop Gorman's thrilling victory. ***Note: We apologize for the audio-level issues and are looking into correcting the malfunction for next week. In the meantime, please turn up your volume in order to hear Keefer.***

2013 Prep Football

Valley High football players (from left) Noble Hall, Demarrius Oliver and Tyrone Prewitt before the 2013 season. Launch slideshow »

John Parcells, Cimarron-Memorial head coach

John Parcells, Cimarron head coach , talks about the upcoming season.

Since getting designated a turnaround school last year, every facet of Cimarron-Memorial High has received a boost.

That includes the school’s athletic teams, perhaps to an extent that even surprised some within the department.

“The new administration has been unbelievable in terms of support,” Cimarron football coach John Parcells raved. “Anything we need, we’ve gotten. And that comes with higher expectations of success.”

Exactly what Parcells wanted. Eternally bothered by a three-year stretch without any playoff berths — the Spartans had an advanced to a record 15 straight before the recent dry spell — Parcells had planned to challenge his team to the limit before the arrival of new principals and increased funding.

Just getting to the postseason isn’t enough.

“Our goal is to get a home playoff game,” Parcells said. “We’re going to be much-improved and I expect to compete in every game.”

That might come as a surprise considering the Spartans lost one of the lone bright spots, senior running back Justin Davis, off of last year’s 3-6 team. But they’re replacing him with depth and a new-look offense.

Parcells installed himself as the offensive coordinator, after previously working closer with the defense, before practices began. He warns a three-headed rushing attack of Michael Barnson, Wayne May and Keenan Bowman will be tough to contain.

Boasting one year of starting experience, junior quarterback Derek Morefield also makes the passing game more formidable.

“My belief is to take what they give you,” Parcells said. “We’ve changed some schemes up front and tried to simplify some things. We’re putting the onus on our running backs.”

To run the other side of the ball, Parcells pried defensive coordinator Kelly Murphy from a divisional rival.

“It was a double-victory taking him away from Centennial,” Parcells said. “He’s implemented a lot of what Centennial has done well with the past couple years.”

The Spartans have seven returning starters on defense, including a handful of talented players Parcells believes will make a name for themselves in 2013.

The group starts with senior defensive end Frank Tito and junior linebacker John Nelson.

Parcells and his players know the expectations from within the program don’t match the perception from those on the outside. They like it that way.

“We’re under the radar and that’s where we want to be,” Parcells concluded. “We’re going to prove ourselves.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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