Friday, Aug. 26, 2011 | 12:20 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer celebrate the return of football season with an hour-long podcast diving into anything and everything regarding local high schools. They also look back on the victories by Bishop Gorman and Moapa Valley in the Sollenberger Classic and finish with week one picks.
The Del Sol High football team is out to prove last year’s mediocre season was a fluke.
The Dragons finished with a 5-6 record to break a streak of four straight appearances in the Sunrise Regional title game.
The season, however, was likely lost at the halfway point. That’s when Del Sol blew a 10-point lead late in the fourth quarter against eventual Southeast Division champion Liberty — a setback that not hurt more than in the standings.
“We lost the momentum after that Liberty game,” Del Sol coach Preston Goroff said. “Not to put it on one game, but there is a always a point in the season where things go one way or the other, and I think last year for us that game set us in one direction.”
Del Sol’s aspirations of making another deep playoff run hinge on the performance of senior all-purpose player Chris Marshall. A regular since his sophomore season in 2009 when the Dragons reached the state title game, Marshall rushed for 1,750 yards and 18 touchdowns last fall and was a threat to score every time he touched the ball — in special teams, as a receiver or on defense.
It will be the same way this fall.
“He has the uncanny ability to make people miss,” Goroff said. “He is an extremely well rounded athlete. He is good at all things. He can run, he can block and he can catch the ball out the backfield. At times this year, we are even going to have him throw the ball. He has extreme desire and love for the game of football and that is what makes him special.”
Senior quarterback Nate Kirschbaum, the younger brother of Jon Kirschbaum, who is arguably the program’s best all-time player, will take over at under center. Kirschbaum will pass to receivers Rahim Jones and Lael Perkins.
Defensively, senior Dwayne Kirkland is one of the team’s top players, along with linebacker Dylan Lindemann. Lindemann, like most Del Sol players, also plays offensively as the team’s fullback.
Del Sol will again have less than 30 players on its roster. But it still finds ways to win with its top performers playing on both sides of the ball. It’s hard to argue the strategy with Del Sol becoming of the Las Vegas Valley’s most respected programs.
“Mentally, the kids have the mindset they are going to be on the field all the time and they are going to have to work extremely hard to give maximum output for an extended period of time,” Goroff said.