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August 1, 2015

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high school football:

Mojave coach confident his team can make playoff push

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Mojave football players Billy Murphy, Xavier Anderson and Jasen Smith Thursday, July 26, 2012.

Mojave Coach Joe Delgado

Mojave Coach Joe Delgado talks about the upcoming high school football season

Sunset Region — Division 1-A

Cheyenne football players Darius Gantt, Devin Tatum and Dylan Power Thursday, July 26, 2012. Launch slideshow »

The Mojave High football team has played just one playoff game since the North Las Vegas school opened in 1996.

If coach Joe Delgado has his way, his Rattlers will easily double the amount this year. Yes, he thinks his team is that good.

“With the young talent and speed we have, I definitely think we can make a playoff run,” said Delgado, the team’s second-year coach. “I think we can make a run at the division and at the state championship. The kids have really bought into my system.”

Mojave won two games last fall in Delgado’s initial season but improved toward the end of the year and limited playoff-qualifier Cheyenne to 16 points. The result against Cheyenne — even though it was in a 16-7 loss — gave the players optimism they can compete on Friday nights. When you consider they didn’t win a game in the previous two years, a two-win season and close results in other games was a step in the right direction.

“Cheyenne dominated a lot of teams they played last year. For us to know we can stop a playoff team like that, it definitely helped (their confidence),” Delgado said.

The young talent Delgado is high on includes six sophomore starters and a junior class of 15 players. Sophomore Ty Flanagan (5-foot-7, 180 pounds) could start both ways at linebacker and running back, and sophomore Zack Arave is the quarterback.

Senior Billy Murphy is Mojave’s top defender at linebacker and plays wing back on offense. Other players to watch include Jasen Smith at tight end and defensive end, and running back Xavier Anderson.

“Our conditioning alone is 10 times better than last year, and being in better shape will be a tremendous help,” Delgado said. “The kids are starting to believe that we can be successful because of the work they have put in.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or ray.brewer@lasvegassun.com. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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