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September 18, 2014

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High school football:

Palo Verde High looking to bounce back behind senior quarterback

Parker Rost has been running his dad, coach Darwin Rost’s offense, since elementary school

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

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

Northwest League — 2013

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

A three-year starting quarterback is a luxury most high school football teams don’t enjoy. That’s exactly what Palo Verde High has in Parker Rost, the guy expected to lead the team back to the top of the Sunset Northwest League.

“The game slows down; everything’s easier to run,” Parker Rost said of his varsity experience.

It doesn’t hurt that Parker Rost has been running Palo’s double wing offense for essentially his entire career, ever since his father, Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost, implemented the attack.

Darwin Rost is the only coach in Palo history, which dates back to 1996, but he said he started using the double wing when Parker Rost was in fourth or fifth grade. That meant Parker Rost ran nothing but that offense through youth football and all the way up to the varsity squad as a sophomore.

“He knows the offense inside and out,” Darwin Rost said. “It’s like having a coach on the field, which is sometimes more than you want.”

Darwin Rost was joking about that last part. Because although there may be complications with a quarterback and son thinking he knows best, every coach would prefer to manage that type of situation over one where they must hold the quarterback’s hand through every step.

And although Parker Rost no long has favorite target Ryan Beaulieu, Palo has plenty of weapons around him. Up front the team can clear a lot of running lanes with Michael Hughes, Griffin Kemp and Josh Hamilton.

Those guys could also see time on the defensive line. And in the passing game, tight end/linebacker Jake Ortale could be the new go-to guy.

Last year Palo lost four regular season games, including a defeat to Arbor View High that handed over the league title, and then got crushed by Bishop Gorman High in the playoffs.

This late start to the season — Palo’s first game is tonight at 7 at Legacy High — may be beneficial to other teams who have spent it on focusing more time on things like special teams. Darwin Rost has done that too, but with the bad taste still in his players’ mouths they would have been ready to start the season six months ago.

Parker Rost said this has been the most productive offseason he’s seen during his tenure. And it’s his last one so he’s prepared to make it count.

If Palo Verde lives up to the bounce-back expectations then it should be in for another showdown with Summerlin rival Bishop Gorman. It would be extra special for Darwin Rost to pick off the Gaels with his son at quarterback, but first they have to make sure 2012 is behind them.

“We have a lot of work to get there,” Darwin Rost said.

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

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