Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008 | 2 a.m.
By The Numbers
2 — Straight losses by Del Sol to Las Vegas High in the Sunrise Regional championship game.
3 — League wins for Liberty in the school’s five-year history.
10 — Seasons Green Valley High has gone without a playoff victory.
25 — Combined sacks between Silverado linebacker T.J. Alofipo and defensive end Keenan Graham in 2007.
791 — Total number of combined receiving yards in 2007 from Basic seniors Jeff Pozdol and Justin Burdno.
When it comes to state titles, the Southeast Division is in the midst of a 47-year drought.
The division hasn’t been represented in the finals since Green Valley High appeared and lost in 1995 and hasn’t won since Basic defeated Carson City for the 2A title in 1960. But a strong senior class and a handful of Division I prospects could put the Southeast back on the map.
Powerhouses Del Sol and Silverado should fight it out for the Henderson City Championship as the Skyhawks are coming off an undefeated regular season and their first ever division championship. But it was Del Sol that made it to the Sunrise Regional championship game where it fell to Las Vegas High for the second straight year.
The seniors at Del Sol hope its playoff experience can finally put them over the hump.
“We have a good team,” said Jon Kirschbaum, Del Sol’s senior fullback. “We’ve been to the playoffs before, we’ve played in the big game and it doesn’t scare us.”
Silverado should be the Dragons’ biggest obstacle as trio of Division I prospects — defensive end Keenan Graham, defensive back Michael Wadsworth and linebacker T.J. Alofipo (already committed to Hawaii) — will give the ‘Hawks an edge.
Basic and Coronado could receive a bump from new coaches. Former Del Sol defensive coordinator John Mannion takes over the Cougars while the Wolves are now helmed by long-time assistant Jeff Cahill.
“Silverado and Del Sol are the teams to beat with all the other schools right there behind them,” Cahill said. “We’re all about at the same point.”
Liberty, who has three league victories in the school’s five-year history, could be a factor for the first time.
Led by linebackers Sage Nua and Carlos Tautoto, Liberty’s defense should be able to stave off opponents well enough to allow quarterback Ryan Doty and running back Ian Jackson to make the Patriots a legitimate dark horse.
“Liberty has made some improvements. They’re not going to get pushed around this year,” Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza said. “Everyone is going to have to take them seriously. They’ve got some good kids over there.”
Players to Watch
Michael Wadsworth, athlete, Silverado — Wadsworth, who has been offered by Arizona, shines at defensive back and wide receiver, but is most valuable in special teams. Wadsworth returned four punts and one kickoff for a touchdown last year and typically gave the Skyhawks good field position.
Keenan Graham, defensive end, Silverado — Graham, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound force, had 13.5 sacks and 72 tackles last year. He has received scholarship offers from several schools, including USC, Oklahoma and Michigan. But before he signs, Graham has unfinished business — leading the ‘Hawks to the state title.
Alex Klorman, offensive line, Del Sol — Del Sol takes pride in dominating the line of scrimmage in its run-first offense and Klorman, a powerful blocker, leads the charge. One of the valley’s top linemen, Klorman was often overshadowed in years past by the Dragons’ more-celebrated linemen — not anymore.
Nolan Kohorst, kicker, Green Valley High — When most teams struggle to find reliable kickers, Green Valley High has the valley’s best. Kohorst, a junior and first-team All-Southern Nevada selection last fall, was 10-of-14 last year in field goals — the longest at 42 yards — also connecting on 21-of-22 extra points.
Sage Nua, linebacker, Liberty — If Liberty makes the playoffs for the first time in its six-year history, senior linebacker Sage Nua will be a big reason why. The 6-foot, 220-pounder had 133 tackles last year and has been one of Liberty’s leaders in an intense offseason program.
Jared Harmon is a reporter for the Home News. He can be reached at 990-8922 or [email protected].