Las Vegas Sun

September 16, 2019

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kickoff 2017:

Palo Verde feasts on turnovers to defeat Sierra Vista

Las Vegas Sun HS Football Media Day 2017

Christopher DeVargas

Members of the Palo Verde High School football team, from left, Nick Zuppas, Daniel Bellinger and Chamere Thomas pose for a portrait at the Las Vegas Sun’s high school football media day August 2, 2017, at the South Point.

Prep Sports Now

First Football Show

Las Vegas Sun sports editors Ray Brewer and Case Keefer welcome back football season by going through all the leagues, and also touch on major storylines. They also disagree on picks for numerous week 1 games.

Some called for Sierra Vista and Palo Verde to be the closest contested game of week 1, and it lived up to the billing for a quarter and a half.

The Panthers were locked into a battle with the Mountain Lions until they forced fumbles on back-to-back possessions before halftime to break the game open and win 24-7.

Jonathan Carpenter scooped up the first fumble, and took it in 50 yards for a touchdown. Palo Verde didn’t return the next fumble for a score, but got into field goal range right before halftime.

Instead of kicking, however, they ran a fake with Nick Zuppas hitting Daniel Bellinger for a 25-yard touchdown pass. That would be the final points of the game.

“Our defense took over from there and really stymied them,” Palo Verde coach Joe Azanrez said.

Palo Verde had four total takeaways on defense. Its first touchdown came when Chamere Thomas punched in a score from the 1-yard line.

Aznarez said there was much work to do on offense, but was happy with the way the defense carried the Panthers on opening night.

“Defensively, I thought we were phenomenal,” he said. “Our defense did a great job and really executed.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at