Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 | 8:45 p.m.
Prep Sports Now returns from hibernation just in time for football season. Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer go through every league and discuss every team in town, giving predictions along and players to watch along the way.
Talk to anyone associated with the Sunrise Mountain football program and it’s easy to forget that the Miners have only won one game in school history.
There’s a new confidence surrounding Sunrise Mountain heading into the 2013 season. In fact, it’s more than that. It’s a swagger.
“We have lots of good players,” senior running back and safety Sherman Nash said. “We are really hyped for this season.”
Sunrise Mountain crossed off its most important goal last season, winning a varsity game for the first time in 26 tries by crushing Western 48-0 in the opener. But now the Miners are out for much more: They want to finish with a record of over .500 and make the playoffs.
It’s not an unrealistic goal, according to coach Ky Edwards, who has seen improvements in every aspect during the offseason. Take a few recent scrimmage games as an example.
Opponents used to roll over the Miners in the annual preseason tradition, but not this year. Sunrise Mountain more than held its own and came away victorious in a couple of games.
“I was most enthused that we started out strong and finished strong,” Edwards said. “I could get them motivated to start strong last year, but if anything went wrong, they folded up.”
Nash’s leadership is one reason for the Miners’ improved mindset. He’s one of nine players who stuck on the team since the day Edwards arrived to take over in 2010.
Any conversation about the Miners must start with their best player.
“He probably won’t step off the field unless he needs a short breather,” Edwards said. “If he was 3 inches taller and we had won a couple games, I don’t see how he wouldn’t be considered the best safety in the state. He can cover hash to hash. He’s going to surprise a lot of people.”
Forgive Edwards if he sounds more focused on defense. That’s because he gave up his duties as offensive coordinator to be in total control of the defense this year.
It was a decision he made after hiring veteran assistant Eugene Bousley, who was capable of running the offense. Bousley has speed to work with that other coaches might envy.
In addition to the speedy Nash, wide receivers Daqwuan Doyle and Darnell Callahan won a state championship on the 4x400-meter relay team. Romello Tatum returns to share the backfield with Nash after missing all but one game last season.
Edwards predicts Sunrise Mountain will have no trouble scoring points. As long as the Miners can improve their ability to stop opponents and learn to make the most of their size disadvantage, Edwards thinks the best season in school history is on tap — by far.
“It’s taken two-and-a-half years to get things right,” Edwards said. “But they’ve worked really hard, gotten in shape and are really starting to figure it out.”