Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014 | 2 a.m.
Asked about the keys to the upcoming season, Eldorado coach Vernon Brown moves his head towards senior quarterback/defensive back Joshua Brown and senior receiver/defensive back Tyler Spivey and says their names.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer return to the studio to discuss all of Las Vegas' high school football teams a week before the start of the season.
He positions his head forward again and vocalizes two more names, senior offensive and defensive linemen Luis Villarreal and Reydin Dennis.
“We need those guys to play at a top-flight level, like a Division 1 level,” Vernon Brown said. “If we get those guys to play to their potential, there’s no doubt in my mind we can make that playoff run.”
After two straight 1-8 seasons, Eldorado’s limitations are established. The Sundevils’ numbers will pale in comparison to their Sunrise Southeast division opponents.
They’re stuck playing at the higher division where they probably don’t belong. Vernon Brown doesn’t concern himself with shortcomings, though.
He focuses on solutions. And if his best players live up to what he expects out of them then the word getting thrown around the lockerroom can become a possibility — “playoffs.”
“We really think we have a shot,” Vernon Brown stressed.
Despite the identical record, Eldorado showed some real progress last season. Instead of getting blown out in every loss like in 2012, the Sundevils had two narrow defeats by a touchdown and a third by 13 points.
The first hurt the worst, as Eldorado gave up the Cleat Game to archrival Chaparral in the final minute.
“It was very tough,” Spivey said. “It came down to one play, the last play. So this year, we feel as if it will be our year.”
The Chaparral showdown once again falls on week one, as the rivals are scheduled to clash next Friday Aug. 29. The Cowboys, and everyone else, will get some new looks from the Sundevils.
Vernon Brown is trying to conform to the strengths of the roster. For example, he’s going back to a 3-3-5 scheme on defense.
“Basically, put a lot of athletes out there and let those guys run up and down the field and hopefully they can make a ton of plays for us because we definitely lack size,” Vernon Brown said.
It’s no wonder Vernon Brown has so much confidence in Joshua Brown, his youngest son, and Spivey. Their emergence last year sparked much of the improvements. Joshua Brown crept up on 1,000 all-purpose yards while Spivey led the team in receiving with 337 yards and three touchdowns.
Neither Joshua Brown nor Spivey is intimidated by the climb in front of them this year.
“Just staying consistent and executing the offense,” Joshua Brown harped as emphases.
Most people may not pick Eldorado for the playoffs, but Vernon Brown believes his team will keep moving in the right direction.
“The attitude of the kids this year is a lot better than last year,” Vernon Brown said. “We actually had a good attitude last year, but we’re even better.”