Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 | 8:30 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer go through the schedule and discuss all of Saturday's games after looking back at the major topics to come out of the first two weeks of football.
It’s the same story each fall for some high school football teams across the nation.
The key to excelling is getting the most out of first-time starters, a group of players regulated to the second-team or junior varsity in past seasons.
At Legacy High in North Las Vegas this fall, that’s not the scenario. The Longhorns, which took third in 2012 in the Southwest League, return one of the area’s most dynamic players in running back Casey Hughes and four of five starters on the offensive line.
So, when the area’s coaches were asked by the Sun in the preseason to list the top-10 teams, it came as no surprise Legacy was included. Legacy won just four games last season, but that's when they were managing a team of new players. Legacy hosts Hurricane (Utah) Saturday in its season opener.
“It’s hard to tell (how will be) because we haven’t played a game yet, but our returning seniors are doing a good job,” Legacy coach Dave Snyder said.
Legacy’s offense is typically run-first, and with Hughes leading the way, that’s could be a formula for success. Hughes is a state-champion sprinter with scholarship offers from Pac-12 schools such as Oregon State and Utah. He will have a change to flourish thanks to the Longhorns’ offense line — center Josh Phillips, Zach Lugris, Matt Sink and William Loyd each started last year.
Senior quarterback Devin Williams, who got significant action last season in a reserve role, also has the ability to run. And fullback Cody Polvado will get carries when he’s not blocking.
“With a combination of those kids leading the team we like our chances,” Snyder said of the offense.
Establishing the run will lead to opportunities in the passing game — something the signal caller Williams should bring to the offense in keeping opposing defenses honest.
“We have to be a real physical team. We have to out-physical every team with our run game,” Williams said. “You’ll see more balance this year with running and passing.”
Defensively, however, Legacy isn’t as experienced and has to replace one of its best players from last year, lineman Chris Campbell.
Hughes in the secondary and Phillips at linebacker will play both ways and lead the defense, and linebacker Damian Robinson-Stallings has shown promise during the offseason.
“We are going to have to find some guys to step up (on defense), Snyder said.
And they need to step up fast.
Saturday’s opponent from Utah is known for its strong linemen and wing-T rushing attack, and will be a big-time test. Then, five days later, the Longhorns play Las Vegas power Palo Verde — the team that bounced them from the playoffs last year.
“If we can get through (the preseason schedule) winning a few football games, it will put us a step ahead of people,” Snyder said.