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November 24, 2014

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kickoff 2014:

Mojave football expects to make state championship run

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

From left, Mojave High School football players Anthony Vereen, Moises Jaugerui and Frankie Contreras July 21, 2014.

Mojave High School 2014 football preview

Las Vegas Sun sports editor Ray Brewer talks to Mojave High School's football coach and key players ahead of their 2014 season.

Prep Sports Now

The season begins

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer try to contain their excitement for the start of the football season enough to get through the first slate of games. They also discuss the two defending state champions, Bishop Gorman and Faith Lutheran.

This is the season the Mojave football program has long targeted for making a serious run at the state championship.

And they have the personnel to get the job done.

The Ratters have arguably the best returning running back, regardless of classification, in Nevada. Senior Ty Flanagan is a three-year starter who averaged 11.06 yards per carry last season in rushing for 1,183 yards and 14 touchdowns.

At quarterback, Mojave returns another three-year starter in Zack Arave. Arave is one of six players who started as sophomores in 2012 when Mojave won a playoff game and lost by just four points to Division I-A power Moapa Valley in the round before the state semifinals.

“We know we have a lot of pressure on us and a lot of expectations, but the kids expect more than everyone who is out there,” coach Joe Delgado said. “If we live up to those expectation, we’ll be alright.”

Last season, though, wasn’t step in the right direction. Mojave was shutout by Virgin Valley in the first round of the playoffs and had some discipline problems that proved impossible to overcome.

So, instead of being considered one of the favorites this season, the Rattlers first have to battle for bragging rights in their own league. Faith Lutheran won the state championship last season and are again one of the favorites. That’s motivation for Mojave’s eight returning starters on each side of the ball, knowing if they didn’t slip last season they could have went on a deep playoff run, too.

“It comes down to discipline once again and we’ve worked a lot on that in the offseason,” Delgado said.

While Flanagan and Arave are two of Mojave’s best players, Delgado knows they aren’t the most important. If Anthony Vereen (6-foot-2, 230 pounds), Frankie Contreras (6 foot 1, 290-pounds) and Moises Jaugerui (5 foot 10, 200-pounds) aren’t productive on the offensive line, the Rattlers’ offense will have a hard time scoring points.

Mojave must also establish its passing game so the opposition doesn’t load the line of scrimmage trying to stop Flanagan. Junior Jaylon Delgado, who averaged 16 yards per reception in 2013, is Arave’s primary target.

Defensively, juniors Daijon Payno at defensive tackle and Kaleb Friedman at linebacker will lead the charge. Vereen and Contreras also play on the defensive line, providing the Rattlers with the size and the strength in the trenches to be competitive.

“We have to stay disciplined,” Contreras said. “We kind of fell apart when we are losing. If we stay disciplined, and do what we do best, we can beat anybody.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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