Friday, Sept. 2, 2011 | 2:04 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer recap the action from the first week of high school football and look ahead to another slate of games. Popular topics include this week's Arbor View vs. Palo Verde showdown and last week's stunning upset by Bonanza over Silverado.
The sound of confidence oozes out of Sierra Vista coach Mark Sauve’s mouth.
Sauve has little doubt that the Mountain Lions will break out of the Southwest Division cellar this year and surprise people. He reported a renewed attitude from his team, which has gone through two rough seasons with a combined 3-17 record.
“The last two seasons, we went out there and there was an impending sense of doom when we hit the field,” Sauve said. “These kids aren’t that way. The older kids are tired of losing. The group of seniors right now wants to win.”
It’s going to take a handful of younger players emerging for Sierra Vista to compete for a playoff spot. Eight sophomores played significant roles for the Mountain Lions last year, and they are back with experience to build on.
In total, Sierra Vista returns 13 starters.
“I think they know we’re better than what we’ve been,” Sauve said. “We’re going to challenge. They have some confidence in what we’re doing.”
The Mountain Lions offense will switch away from their option attack of years past and rely on a more balanced game plan.
Sophomore quarterback Taz Wilson has a ton of potential, according to Sauve, that a receiving corps of Matt Murphy, Tim Jenkins, Travelle Williams and Cailyn Patton can help him realize.
The offensive line is also improved behind seniors Andrew Jones and Alex Sherwood.
“We’re able to make the change because we just have better personnel,” Sauve said. “We have better size on the offensive line, better speed and we’re improved at quarterback.”
A lot is changing on defense also as Sierra Vista transitions out of a base 4-4 scheme. The Mountain Lions will try to apply to more pressure on quarterbacks, an area they found problems in during the last few seasons.
Junior linebacker Mike Dominique is a defensive standout who projects to lead the team in tackles.
“We know we have to win five league games to get into the playoffs,” Sauve said. “I think you’re going to see an improved group.”