Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 | 12:57 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer are back for another high school football discussion. They look at all the matchups this week and spend extra time on the Southeast, which begins league play this week.
Palo Verde High raced out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead over visiting Centennial and never looked back as the Panthers defeated the Bulldogs 49-12 Friday to improve to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in league play.
Palo Verde junior running back Lee Griggs started the scoring fest for the Panthers as he rushed for a three-yard touchdown on Palo’s opening drive of the game.
After the Panthers forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Centennial possession, Palo Verde senior running back Eric South scored on a 40-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive to give the Panthers a 14-0 lead.
On Palo Verde’s next possession, Griggs ran for a six-yard touchdown off left tackle to give the Panthers a 21-0 lead with 16 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
“Griggs is a kid that can play anywhere on the field,” Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost said. “On defense he plays three possessions, and on offense he can play quarterback, wing, fullback or tight end.”
Griggs finished the game with 90 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
“He’s a team player and he works real hard all week in practice,” Rost said of Griggs. “He had a couple nice runs against Mojave and scored a couple touchdowns there. He’s just a real explosive runner.”
Centennial got on the scoreboard in the second quarter as junior quarterback Austin Turley connected with senior wide receiver Cody Milford for an 18-yard touchdown strike to cut the game to 21-6.
Palo Verde, however, regained the momentum on its ensuing possession as junior fullback Andrew Simister burst free for a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play to give the Panthers a 28-6 lead.
“Tonight was a really big win for us,” Simister said. “Centennial is a big rival. We always want to come out and knock them in the mouth.”
Simister rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown on five carries.
The Panthers put the game out of reach on the first play of the fourth quarter when sophomore quarterback Parker Rost hit tight end Jake Ortale for a seven-yard touchdown strike to hand Palo Verde a 35-6 lead.
Rost connected with senior tight end Jerrol Garcia-Williams for a 24-yard completion on fourth-and-six earlier in the drive to set up the score.
Garcia-Williams made a terrific catch on the sideline as he was able to keep a foot inbounds to pick up the first down.
Palo Verde tacked on another touchdown less than two minutes later as junior defensive back Ryan Beaulieu returned a punt 55 yards to the end zone to extend the Panthers’ lead to 42-6.
“A gap opened up and my blockers did a really good job and I was able to take it in for the score,” Beaulieu said.
After Centennial fullback Alex Mack scored on a two-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 42-12, Palo Verde capped the scoring with a Chaunsi Heatley 31-yard touchdown scamper to hand the Panthers a 49-12 victory.
As the score got out of hand in the second half, each team picked up a couple personal foul penalties.
Centennial dropped to 0-3 on the season.
The Bulldogs did not receive any help from the schedule makers as they have faced one of the most difficult schedules in the valley with games against perennial powers Las Vegas, Arbor View and Palo Verde.
Having already faced the toughest part of its schedule, things should get easier for coach Leon Evans’ Bulldogs as the rest of the season unfolds.