Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 | 11:19 p.m.
Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer take a closer look at this week's slate of high school football games, including rivalry contests between Las Vegas-Rancho, Chaparral-Eldorado and Basic-Foothill. The fellas also discuss Liberty's slow starts, Gorman's domination and the lack of quality long snappers. They will also have their weekly picks.
The defending state champion Bishop Gorman High football team has some company atop the Southwest Division standings.
Durango is also undefeated in league play, and if the Trailblazers continue to score points like they did Thursday, their regular season finale Nov. 4 against Gorman could be a rare competitive contest for both teams.
After losing to Basic Sept. 3 and struggling two weeks later against Clark, Durango (7-1, 6-0) has averaged 54 points a game in winning its last four contest. That doesn’t include scoring 77 points Sept. 11 against Bonanza.
“Everything kind of clicked tonight for us,” Durango coach Gary Maki said. “We have come along way since the Basic and Clark games.”
Smith scored Durango’s initial touchdown on a double-reverse, racing around the touchdown and diving into the end zone for a 38-yard run.
Western’s lone points came on a kickoff return for a touchdown from Reggie Williams to open the second half.
Durango has two regular-season games remaining — against Desert Oasis and Gorman. A win against Desert Oasis next week will secure a home playoff game for Durango.
“We are looking forward to next week,” Maki said. “We think we have a heck of a team. We have some weapons, and we know how to use our weapons and get everyone involved.”
A fresh coat of paint and a fresh perspective are among the changes being made around Western High School.
Western is one of five turnaround schools that missed the marks set by No Child Left Behind and now faces the challenge of increasing student achievement.
The school is the third oldest in the district and its campus lies near Decatur Boulevard and Veterans Memorial Highway. The majority of students attending Western are minorities from disadvantaged homes. Western is known for having a rough past, but students are optimistic about the future of their school.
Change is apparent according to students interviewed in September.
“When I was in eighth grade, I was told I was going to get shot or stabbed when I came to Western,” said senior Kole Yanez, 17. “That might have been true 15 years ago, but now, you don’t see that here.”
Rules are tightly enforced on campus. The school keeps a strict dress code policy and cell phone use during class time is not permitted.
Halls are designated by grade level giving students a sense of ownership and community. Pride is clearly visible at pep rallies and sporting events. The newfound pride might just be he medicine needed to alleviate the 8 percent dropout rate, the highest in the district.
“It’s like building a house. You need a strong foundation,” said Neddy Alvarez, principal. “You need those strong relationships. When kids know we care about them, the learning will take place.”
- Year built:
- Principal (Year Hired):
- Neddy Alvarez (2008)
- Mission Statement:
- “The mission of Western High School is to promote scholarship, encourage good citizenship, and embrace our cultural diversity.”
- Approximately 2,400
- Notable alumni:
- Frank Hawkins, former NFL player
Capt. Nicole Malachowski, first female Thunderbird
Ronnie Vannucci, drummer of The Killers
Tom Collins, Clark County commissioner
- School Report Card:
Compiled by Gregan Wingert