Friday, Sept. 9, 2011 | 11:23 p.m.
The Pahrump Valley football team had endured too many disappointing bus rides home after losses around Las Vegas over the last four years.
The Trojans had a whole new feeling accompanying the trek Friday night. Pahrump Valley snapped a 30-game losing streak, beating Western 13-7 in the second game of the season.
“These seniors haven’t seen a win on the varsity level,” Pahrump Valley coach Andy Schneider said over jubilant background noise on the bus home. “They’ve put in so much time and effort that it’s great to see. It’s been a long and hard battle.”
Pahrump Valley had to feel resigned to its fate once again versus Western before catching a break in the final seconds of the game. With less than a minute to go and Pahrump trailing 7-6, Western lined up to punt.
The snap was errant, however, and Pahrump recovered the ball inside of Western’s five-yard line. Quarterback A.J. Segura punched in a two-yard, game-winning touchdown shortly afterward with 18 seconds remaining.
“We had some opportunities in the first half but kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” Schneider said. “They controlled it after that, but we pressured them pretty good defensively.”
Pahrump’s other touchdown also came in the fourth quarter. Schneider didn’t believe the Trojans played particularly well, but that was beside the point.
A win meant a long overdue celebration.
“It was just exciting to win a game. That was the biggest thing for us,” Schneider said. “It was a team effort. They all played hard.”
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