Friday, Sept. 16, 2011 | 11:38 p.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer are back for another high school football discussion. They look at all the matchups this week and spend extra time on the Southeast, which begins league play this week.
The new part of the Diamondbacks offense is their passing attack. After running on more than 90 percent of its plays for the last two seasons, Desert Oasis is now finding success through the air to complement it.
Junior quarterback Herman Smith showed it against the Warriors by throwing for two touchdowns.
“We’re still an I-football team, but we’re going to drop back and throw,” Desert Oasis coach Scott Staudinger said. “We’re about 65 percent run and 35 percent pass.”
The Diamondbacks can score on special teams, too. Barnes returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and Desert Oasis never looked back from there.
Andrews also had two scores. It was Desert Oasis’ first win of the year after dropping games to Bishop Gorman and Foothill, two of Southern Nevada’s top programs.
“Those were two pretty good football teams,” Staudinger said. “But it’s still nice to get that first win. We’ve got that confidence again.”
A fresh coat of paint and a fresh perspective are among the changes being made around Western High School.
Western is one of five turnaround schools that missed the marks set by No Child Left Behind and now faces the challenge of increasing student achievement.
The school is the third oldest in the district and its campus lies near Decatur Boulevard and Veterans Memorial Highway. The majority of students attending Western are minorities from disadvantaged homes. Western is known for having a rough past, but students are optimistic about the future of their school.
Change is apparent according to students interviewed in September.
“When I was in eighth grade, I was told I was going to get shot or stabbed when I came to Western,” said senior Kole Yanez, 17. “That might have been true 15 years ago, but now, you don’t see that here.”
Rules are tightly enforced on campus. The school keeps a strict dress code policy and cell phone use during class time is not permitted.
Halls are designated by grade level giving students a sense of ownership and community. Pride is clearly visible at pep rallies and sporting events. The newfound pride might just be he medicine needed to alleviate the 8 percent dropout rate, the highest in the district.
“It’s like building a house. You need a strong foundation,” said Neddy Alvarez, principal. “You need those strong relationships. When kids know we care about them, the learning will take place.”
- Year built:
- Principal (Year Hired):
- Neddy Alvarez (2008)
- Mission Statement:
- “The mission of Western High School is to promote scholarship, encourage good citizenship, and embrace our cultural diversity.”
- Approximately 2,400
- Notable alumni:
- Frank Hawkins, former NFL player
Capt. Nicole Malachowski, first female Thunderbird
Ronnie Vannucci, drummer of The Killers
Tom Collins, Clark County commissioner
- School Report Card:
Compiled by Gregan Wingert