Las Vegas Sun

September 16, 2019

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Friday Night Roundup: Liberty edges Arbor View; Desert Pines tops Centennial

Liberty's Isaiah Thomas Dives

L.E. Baskow

Liberty’s Isaiah Thomas (19) dives for a pass as players prepare to face Arbor View during the season opener, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016.

Updated Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016 | 1:07 a.m.

Stories from games across the valley:

Chaparral’s Gaddy comes up big in Cowboys’ win against Bonanza

Del Sol gets 3 TDs, 100 rushing yards from Flowers

Sunrise Mountain QB Wright dazzles in win at Boulder City

Green Valley builds big cushion, beats Desert Oasis in opener

Pahrump Valley defends home field as usual in win over Eldorado

Sierra Vista shuts down Moapa Valley

Foothill’s Wilsons help smash Cheyenne

Defense, special teams come through in Las Vegas’ big win over Palo Verde

Positive signs for Virgin Valley despite loss to Cedar City

Silverado off to hot start with shutout over Mojave

Canyon Springs prevails over Coronado in defensive battle

Faith Lutheran has flashes of good play, still soundly beaten by Houston school

• • •

It was his first coaching job. The memories and friendships have lasted a lifetime.

When Centennial High football coach Leon Evans walks his team onto the field at Desert Pines tonight for the season opener, he admits there will be some strong emotions.

Evans was on Desert Pines’ initial coaching staff when it opened in 1999. A few years later he was elevated to head coach, leading the Jags to back-to-back state championship games. They lost in 2002 to McQueen and the following year to Reno High.

“This is where it all started for me. Loved my time here,” Evans said.

Evans eventually left for a college job before returning to Las Vegas and finding his way to Centennial. In six seasons, he’s built Centennial into a perennial contender and won nearly 50 games. They’ve won a playoff game in every season.

His days at Desert Pines helped shaped his career. He remembers those mornings when he’d be the first to arrive at the school to break down game film and prepare for practice.

His oldest son, Jamaal, would tag along. Jamaal would play in the bleachers or run around the track. Before the day was over, he’d be asleep in the coach’s office.

Click to enlarge photo

Centennial head coach Leon Evans directs his players as they face Liberty in high school football game on Friday, September 18, 2015.

Tonight, Jamaal is Centennial’s senior quarterback. And he’s a good one — the dual-threat signal caller is committed to Utah State.

“(Jamaal) remembers those days when we’d show up at 4 in the morning,” coach Evans said.

Desert Pines returned to the state championship game in 2014 with coach Tico Rodriguez at the helm. With a roster of Division I players at multiple positions, including a wide receiver committed to USC, Desert Pines is expected to win the 3A classification state title.

The championship run begins tonight against an old friend.

“They are loaded,” coach Evans said. “You watch them on film and they scare you. If we aren’t sound in our execution, it could get ugly.”

This isn’t the only game of top-10 opponents tonight to break in a new season. Fourth-ranked Arbor View travels to six-time defending Sunrise Region champion Liberty in one of the most anticipated nonleague games of the season.

Faith Lutheran, recently promoted to the large-school classification, takes on St. Pius X of Texas. Next week, the Crusaders travel to Hawaii.

Other games of note include: Las Vegas at Palo Verde in a rematch of the 2004 state championship game, 3A power Moapa Valley at Sierra Vista, and Foothill at Cheyenne.

We’ll keep you posted as scores become final. Send us game information and fan photos on Twitter using #sunstandout or #702hsfb.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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