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October 16, 2017

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Centennial football to make national debut at event in San Diego

The Bulldogs, who last year advanced to the Sunset Regional finals, will play JSerra Catholic of Southern California


Sam Morris

Centennial quarterback Austin Turley gets instruction from coach Leon Evans during their regional quarterfinal game against Desert Oasis on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, at Desert Oasis. Centennial won the game, 21-14.

The Centennial High football program’s debut on the national stage won’t be easy.

The Bulldogs will play JSerra Catholic of Southern California on Aug. 31 in the Under Armour Brothers in Arms Classic at Cathedral High School in San Diego, it was announced Friday. The event consists of 23 games from Aug. 20 to Sept. 17 and features some of the nation’s most known teams — schools such as Arizona power Hamilton High, DeMatha Catholic of Maryland, Bergen Catholic of New Jersey, and other notables from California, Florida and Texas.

Centennial is an up-and-coming Las Vegas-area program, and being included in the event signals a small victory.

“When you look at the other teams they picked, just being included is something great (for our program),” Centennial coach Leon Evans said.

The Bulldogs play the first of five games at Cathedral High on a day of action that will be covered by national media such as and; some games will be televised by ESPN or Fox Sports. It’s a golden opportunity for Centennial to make a splash.

“We don’t want to put any extra pressure on ourselves,” Evans said. “We just want to go out and play (our brand of) football and take advantage of being in this game.”

Some believe Centennial, which lost in the Sunset Regional championship game and is widely considered one of Nevada’s top five programs, is well on its way to becoming a local perennial power. Although they graduated most significant contributors from last year’s squad as part of a 35-player senior class, the Bulldogs could reload because they have some of the top lower-level programs in town.

And when it comes to developing players, getting the chance to play an out-of-state game is a tremendous asset. From giving players something to motivate them in offseason training to the pageantry of competing in a big event and preparing for an uncommon opponent, receiving an invite to the event is something Evans plans to take advantage of.

“It’s a great honor to play in this game,” Evans said. “We’ll make sure the kids know this is something they are playing in because of the players before them. Now it’s their chance to carve out their own legacy.”

JSerra Catholic went 6-4 last season, including a 28-0 loss to California’s Servite. Nevada state champion Bishop Gorman beat Servite, 42-0. Gorman also beat Centennial twice — 49-20 and 59-7 — by similar margins of victory, meaning Centennial should be able to compete with JSerra Catholic.

Eight of the event’s 46 teams are defending state champions, and all but two advanced to the playoffs. Other host sites will be in Maryland, Arkansas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The first-year event will benefit the Brothers in Arms Foundation, which honors legacies of fallen servicemen. The beginning of the foundation is the story of Navy Seal Lt. Brendan Looney, who was killed in 2010 while fighting in southern Afghanistan. Looney played high school football at DeMatha.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at

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