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November 29, 2015

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high school football:

Top 10 rankings: At 1-3 overall, Palo Verde still deserves to be ranked, right?


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Palo Verde running back Ryan Beaulieu heads upfield against Liberty during their game Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Liberty won the game 42-28.

Liberty vs. Palo Verde

Liberty quarterback Kaimana Nacua runs out of the pocket against Palo Verde during their game Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Liberty won the game 42-28. Launch slideshow »
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer talk Liberty's statement victory, Bishop Gorman's error-filled night and Centennial's time to shine against Arbor View. In the middle of the usual discussion, they break into an argument over which player is having the best season so far — D.J. Pumphrey or Niko Kapeli.

You could easily argue the Palo Verde High football team is one of the best in the nation with a 1-3 record.

You also could argue the Panthers should have a 3-1 record.

Palo Verde was defeated last week by No. 2 Liberty, 42-28 but had the lead with five minutes remaining. Palo Verde could have folded when trailing by double digits in the second half but scored 21 unanswered points to take a one-point lead.

That’s the sign of a good team. A team, that despite its record, still is one of the Las Vegas area’s best.

Palo Verde stays in the Las Vegas Sun’s rankings this week, dropping to No. 7 after the tough loss to Liberty but staying firmly in the rankings.

Palo Verde also has lost to No. 4 Centennial — a game the Panthers dominated for most of the night before giving up a late score. The Panthers also dropped their opener in the middle of August, hanging tough against defending Arizona champion Desert Vista.

The Panthers' schedule won’t yield any breaks this week. On Friday, they host No. 5 Canyon Springs (2-0) and dynamic running back Donnel Pumphrey in the final nonleague game for the team with arguably the toughest league schedule in town.

Here are the rest of the rankings, which are complied weekly by the Sun’s Ray Brewer.

1. Bishop Gorman (2-1): Gorman lost last week to Bergen Catholic of New Jersey for its fourth defeat in the past four years. This week, Gorman plays at California’s Servite trying to avoid a losing streak for the first time since 2005 when Las Vegas High and Bothell of Washington beat the Gaels to open the season.

2. Liberty (1-1): Division I recruits Niko Kapeli (UNLV) and Kai Nacua (BYU) touch the ball on every Liberty offensive play. That’s a good formula for success.

3. Arbor View (3-0): Arbor View didn’t complete a pass last week. But when you rush for 400-plus yards each Friday, why air it out?

4. Centennial (3-0): If you like hard-nosed football, take a trip to Centennial for the Bulldogs' 7 p.m. Friday showdown against Arbor View. Both teams like to run the ball. Only the strong will survive.

5. Canyon Springs (2-0): Canyon Springs has made quick work of Foothill and Cheyenne to open the season. This week, we’ll see how good the Pioneers are against Palo Verde, a major step up in competition.

6. Basic (2-0): At times, you get the feeling the Basic offense can score on every snap. This week, the Wolves will air it out against Bonanza.

7. Palo Verde (1-3): Despite having just one win, perennial power Palo Verde still is a top-tier team. Remember, the Panthers entered with season with just one regular-season loss in the past three years.

8. Las Vegas (1-1): Give Las Vegas credit for hanging tough last week against Rancho Verde of California. The Wildcats dug an early double-digit hole but still had a chance to tie the game late.

9. Coronado (2-0): The Cougars won convincingly for the second straight game last week in a 68-0 victory against Valley. They face a higher-quality opponent this week: Green Valley.

10. Moapa Valley (4-1): The Pirates have outscored four Nevada opponents 224-32 in the new Division I-A. On Friday, they open league play against Sunrise Mountain, another team they’ll dominate.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or Follow Ray on Twitter at

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