Ralph Freso / Special to the Sun
Published Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012 | 6 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012 | 9:34 p.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer are back with a comprehensive — or some would say long-winded — look at high school football. They go division-by-division and team-by-team in this exhaustive 2012 debut. So settle in on the couch with a Snuggie or plan to make a round-trip drive from Boulder City to Shadow Ridge in order to listen to this one.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Palo Verde High football team lost this game in the third quarter.
The Panthers were held to negative 1-yard on eight plays Saturday in the third quarter of the Sollenberger Classic against Arizona's Desert Vista High, seeing their three-point halftime lead quickly vanish in losing, 20-10.
While the Palo Verde offense was stuck in neutral, Desert Vista erupted for 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Quarterback Matt Young completed his first 12 passes, connecting on a 47-yard scoring strike to Austin Hicks at the 10-minute mark of the third to give Desert Vista the lead.
Later in the quarter, Desert Vista increased its lead to double digits with a seven-play, 66-yard scoring drive that was capped with a 1-yard touchdown run from Zach Gonzalez.
Palo Verde started moving the ball in the fourth quarter and had a drive reach the Desert Vista 30. The Panthers, however, couldn’t score and finished the day with just one touchdown, courtesy of Lee Griggs on a 71-yard run. Showing elite speed, he outraced the entire Desert Vista defense.
Palo Verde’s other points came on a 23-yard field goal from Tom Randall at the end of the first half for a 10-7 Palo Verde lead at halftime.
Even though Palo Verde couldn’t sustain the momentum in the second half, the showing in the first spoke volumes on the quality of football in Nevada. Remember, it’s only the third week in August.
Check back later for more on the game.
Palo Verde facing double-digit deficit as third quarter winds down
Palo Verde has surrendered consecutive touchdowns in the third quarter and trails Desert Vista of Arizona in the Sollenberger Classic, 20-10.
Desert Vista did most of its damage on the last scoring drive courtesy of penalty yards. On one play, the same Palo Verde defender — whom I won’t name, but surely will get an earful from his coaches — was flagged for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. (He should have been ejected).
That brought the ball inside the Palo Verde 20-yard line and Desert Vista’s Zach Gonzalez did the rest in scoring from 1-yard out.
We almost at the fourth quarter. While it’s not official, I’m guessing Palo Verde has less than 50 yards in the third.
Palo Verde trailing Desert Vista 14-10 after giving up long TD pass
Palo Verde has struggled with its pass coverage defense all night in the Sollenberger Classic against Arizona’s Desert Vista High.
This time, the poor play cost the Panthers the lead.
Desert Vista’s Matt Young perfectly executed the play-action fake and found a wide open Austin Hicks for a 47-yard touchdown reception and 14-10 lead. He easily beat a pair of Palo Verde defenders.
Young is 11-for-11 for 150 yards, dissecting the Palo Verde defense to keep the defending Arizona state champions in the game.
Palo Verde had a chance to get on the board on its ensuing possession, but misfired on a 38-yard field goal wide left. Ball back to Desert Vista.
Palo Verde forces four first half turnovers, leading Desert Vista 10-7 at halftime
Palo Verde forced Desert Vista into four turnovers in the first half of the Sollenberger Classic at University of Phoenix Stadium and leads 10-7 at halftime.
Palo Verde received the ball at the Desert Vista 45-yard line after recovering a fumble with 36 seconds remaining in the half. A Parker Rost pass to Jake Ortale brought the ball to the 12-yard line and put the Panthers in field goal range. Tom Randall split the uprights with a 23-yard field on the last play of the half for a 10-7 Palo Verde lead.
For a Palo Verde team several thought would be overmatched, they aren’t playing like the underdogs. In addition to the four turnovers, Palo Verde limited Desert Vista to just one play in the initial six minutes.
Lee Griggs has been the star for Palo Verde, rushing for 101 yards on five carries. His 71-yard scoring run early in the second quarter evened the game at 7-all and showed the Panthers weren't going to back down.
If Palo Verde continues this sharp play, it will not only be a victory for the local powerhouse. It will be a victory for Nevada and further show the nation what Bishop Gorman already has: the high-level of high school football play in the Silver State is under-rated.
Should be a fun second half.
Palo’s Lee Griggs outraces defense for 71-yard TD run to even game
After a quarter of scoreless football, there’s been two touchdowns in less than 90 seconds at the Sollenberger Classic in keeping the game even.
Desert Vista got the scoring started with a 9-yard touchdown run from Jarek Hilgers for a 7-0 lead just seconds into the quarter.
Palo Verde didn’t waste much time tying the game.
Lee Griggs showed why he is one of the Las Vegas Valley’s top players, outracing most of the Desert Vista defense for a 71-yard touchdown run to quickly erase the deficit. Whenever he appeared to be tackled, or close to being forced out of bounds, Griggs keep moving until he reached the end zone. (He barely made it in after being horse-collared at the goal-line).
Give Palo Verde credit for bouncing back. This is going to be a great game.
Palo Verde, Desert Vista scoreless after first quarter in Sollenberger Classic
If we’ve learned anything in the first quarter of the Sollenberger Classic it’s that Palo Verde High isn’t overmatched against Arizona’s Desert Vista.
At the end of the first quarter, Palo Verde has been the aggressor in keeping the game scoreless. Both teams haven’t ran a play inside the others’ red zone.
Palo Verde initially drive picked up three first down and drove to inside the Desert Vista 30-yard before they turned the ball over on an interception. It was the best scoring chance of the game.
The next play, however, Palo Verde’s Ryan Beaulieu intercepted the first Desert Vista pass from scrimmage to give Palo Verde the ball back.
Palo Verde’s double wing offense has controlled the clock — Desert Vista ran just one play in the initial six minutes.
I’ll keep everyone posted when this scoreless tie is broke.
NFL Stadium a great venue to open the season for Palo Verde
The players on the Palo Verde High School football team couldn’t ask for a better venue to open the season.
They are representing Nevada in the annual Sollenberger Classic at the University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the Arizona Cardinals. The facility has all of the bells and whistles — such as a video scoreboard on each end of the stadium, perfectly manicured grass with straight white lines and enormous locker rooms — you would expect from a NFL stadium.
But once kickoff rolls around at 7 p.m. against Arizona’s Desert Vista High, the players plan to block out the magnitude of the moment and treat it like any other game. Still, that might be easier said than done considering the players attended last night’s NFL exhibition game between the Cardinals and Oakland Raiders.
“Even though this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we are trying not to be overwhelmed about it,” Palo Verde lineman Brad Solomon said last week. “We have to stay focused on the game no matter where we are playing.”
The 63,400-seat indoor stadium, which opened in 2006 and has a natural grass field, is also home to the Fiesta Bowl and will host its second Super Bowl in 2015. It also hosted the 2008 Super Bowl — remember that catch from the New York Giants’ David Tyree, where the ball seemingly stuck on his helmet during in the final minutes to help upset the New England Patriots?
Palo Verde might need some of that late-game magic to get past Desert Vista — the Panthers are ranked No. 562 nationally by Maxpreps.com while Desert Vista, the defending large-school state champion, is No. 50.
Earlier, in the small-school game of the two-game event, Overton’s Moapa Valley High struggled with its passing game and committed four turnovers in losing, 23-14, to Blue Ridge.
I’ll will keep everyone posted throughout the game or you can follow me on Twitter at @RayBrewer21.