Steve Silver / Photo Illustration
Monday, Dec. 1, 2008 | 6:17 p.m.
- Offensive player of the year: Marcus Sullivan, Cheyenne
- Defensive player of the year: Damien Proby, Cheyenne
- Coach of the year: Darwin Rost - Palo Verde
- Offensive player of the year: James Cammack, Rancho
- Defensive player of the year: Keenan Graham, Silverado
- Coach of the year: Jeff Cahill - Basic
Two college-bound defensive lineman and nine players from an undefeated Southern Nevada champion Palo Verde team highlighted the Sunrise and Sunset all-region 4A football awards this season.
Graham, who made visits to Nebraska, Colorado and Wisconsin has committed to UCLA. Cheyenne coach Charles Anthony said Proby has received attention from several Division I schools, including Northwestern, California and Oregon, but has not made a final decision.
The awards were a small consolation prize to all players on teams that came up short on a championship run.
"It's a nice award to win and it's great to have your hard work recognized," Proby said. "Our team had high expectations this year but you win some, you lose some, and now I'm excited for the future."
As expected, Palo Verde names showed up all over the all-conference selections. Quarterback Kelly Zurowski made second-team honors while running back Chaz Thomas made first team. The Panthers' secondary was also rewarded for its outstanding performance this season, as Alex Bonczyk joined USC-bound defensive back Torin Harris on the first team.
Panthers coach Darwin Rost also received the Sunset region Coach of the Year award.
"It's tough to name one leader on our team because every single one of those guys have done it," said Rost. "But one guy who has really stepped up is Kelly Zurowski. He played hurt last year but had a chance to step in during the playoffs and this year he's been playing strong safety as well and he's been doing a great job."
Along with the Panthers, who are headed to the state championship game Saturday against McQueen, Cheyenne (10-2) finished as a heavily decorated team with seven players receiving honors. Quarterback Marcus Sullivan earned the Sunset's Offensive Player of the Year award, giving the Desert Shields the top performers on both sides of the ball.
"Before the season there was no question we were going to win games," Anthony said. "These kids had varsity experience and we knew it was a very special group. None of these games should have even been close. That's how talented this team was. We said if we didn't end up in state we weren't going to be happy with the season."
Basic's Jeff Cahill received the Coach of the Year award in the Sunrise region after leading the Wolves to a division title.
The road has just begun for many of the players receiving this year's awards. While the players are excited for the next step, they say they will always remember this first one.
"My high school games have meant a lot to me," Graham said. "I'm happy I was able to accomplish something while I was here. I have been through a lot with my teammates and I love all of them. This has been something none of us will ever forget."
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or firstname.lastname@example.org.