Las vegas high school football

New FSM Feature: Las Vegas High School Football – Silverado’s Underrated Star – Donavyn Pellot


Silverado High School has one of the best football players in the city of Las Vegas. Donavyn Pellot is the real deal, and just like his recruiting, he is starting to get the shine he deserves.


Las Vegas High School Football
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Last November, the Silverado Skyhawks dominated in a 61-27 win over Shadow Ridge High School at Allegiant Stadium to claim the Nevada 4-A state championship. The Skyhawks were the only team to go undefeated in Las Vegas high school football last season. In that title game, as a junior, Donavyn Pellot caught six passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.

He played a little over three-quarters in that game and was taken out early in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand. Pellot played on both sides of the ball as a wide receiver and safety and also returned kicks and punts for the Skyhawks. He was the engine to Silverado head coach Andy Ostolaza’s machine all season long.

Pellot doesn’t play for a big school. He doesn’t have some hype machine promoting him to be the second coming of (insert the hot NFL or NCAA player’s name here), so things were slow on the recruiting front. His recognition and recruiting didn’t start to pick up until after his junior season. Through hard work in the classroom (3.25 GPA) and on the field, Pellot’s dedication, buying into coach Ostolaza’s team philosophy, and self-belief, have made him one of the best players in Las Vegas and on the west coast.

Pellot’s rise up Division-1 recruiting boards is not surprising to those who have seen him play. It doesn’t surprise him either. It had been a long time coming, yet he remained patient and focused on what he could control and let it happen when it was supposed to. But don’t think Pellot didn’t notice others who may not be as talented as him getting their accolades and securing offers. He used it to fuel him and push him to be better.

Like most of his teammates, Pellot is from the same area. They are zoned for Silverado and are considered a “neighborhood team.” The Skyhawks take pride in that. They aren’t like some public schools that recruit kids to transfer in. Instead, they rely on their feeder program to bring kids into Silverado. Pellot is no different.

I grew up on the east side of Las Vegas. I played for the Henderson Bearcats, then the Silverado Hawks, but really they are the same team,Pellot told me. “Most of the guys we had on our championship team last year were on those teams. So we are definitely competing. In our case, in the team aspect, everyone has to be on the same page, or it’ll never work. I’ve been playing with the same guys for so long that coming out to compete with them is the best feeling. They are my brothers.”

Pellot is still 16 and won’t be 17 until the season starts. This season, it’s time to have his name mentioned with some of the other big-time Las Vegas high school football prospects and the best players on the west coast.

Donavyn Pellot is the true meaning of leading by example. Even with all his natural ability, he continuously works at getting better,Silverado head coach Andy Ostolaza told me. “His work in the weight room and agility and speed training is off the charts. He is self-driven. Also, his teammates feed off of his work ethic. Which in turn has made us better overall as a team.

It’s time for you to get to know Donavyn Pellot.


“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Plato


Las Vegas High School Football
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

It surprised some when Silverado decided to move on from former UNLV legend and NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham and bring back long-time head coach Andy OstolazaCoach Ostolaza came in with a plan he wanted to put in place, and it started with changing the culture in the classroom & off the field.

But that blueprint to success didn’t start as anyone had hoped or envisioned.

In his first season back as head coach, coach Ostolaza’s team only won a single game. The Silverado administration stood by the head coach and decided to bring him back after that challenging year.

Principle Jaime Ditto said that when she decided to hire him, she knew it wouldn’t be easy and trusted he was the right person to turn the program around. “After his first season, he came in my office and asked if I wanted to meet with him,” Ditto told me during a game last season. “He wasn’t sure if I still wanted him. I told him he is my guy, I believe in him, his vision, and what he wants to build, and he has my total support.

Principle Ditto believed in Ostolaza’s blueprint and knew that empowering the coach would give Silverado a foundation that would turn into a winning culture. It was just a matter of when it would happen.

For coach Ostolaza, it all starts in the classroom, where Silverado boasted over a 3.0 GPA as a team since he returned. Next, the team had to be consistent on and off the field, in the weight room, and in conditioning. Lastly, the players had to buy into the discipline, accountability, and structure Ostolaza enforced. It was old-school football core values but also allowed players to be themselves and have fun.

Coach Ostolaza also made a decision that would impact his program heading into the 2020 (COVID) season and beyond. He needed a buy-in. He had a group of (then) freshmen who were talented and could impact the field. But how soon would that be? Could they do it as sophomores in 2021? Coach Ostolaza decided to commit to the young ballers as his core group and team’s foundation on varsity. He would roll with the talented young guys he had coming up and build it from there. One of those key guys was Pellot.

Donnie is a leader and sets a great example for our younger players. He doesn’t sit back and rely on his natural ability. His work ethic is noticed by all the players in our program,Ostolaza told me. “Over the past four years of football, we have some good building blocks to the foundation of our program. Donnie is definitely one of our major players that has helped our turnaround.

Pellot said that it was about getting better during the COVID year. “Joe, man, we were just grinding trying to get better every day. We would go out to a field and put in work together or go train with Coach Geoff Matthews.

Ostolaza continued, “From the time I met him until now, he has been a player that everyone would love to coach. Everything that he has accomplished and will continue to thrive at is because of his work ethic. I couldn’t ask for more in a player or person. Everyone from his youth coaches to his high school coaches are extremely proud of his efforts.

Pellot was a part of a group that included running back Caden Harris, quarterback Brandon Tunnell, his twin brother, wide receiver/linebacker Bryson Tunnell and wide receiver/cornerback Shyne Johnson. Led by that core group, the entire Skyhawks team bought in and used the 2020 (non) season to get better in every facet of the game and classroom.

Now juniors heading into the 2021 season, the Skyhawks were ready for whatever and whoever came their way.

Yeah, we trusted in Coach O and trusted what he was preaching to us day in and day out. Coach O was known for running the ball and coaching running teams, so when we came with our skill guys, we are so good he had to adapt as a coach, and that shows how good of a coach he is, Pellot told me. “He bought into us as well. He trusted us to take risks and make plays, and that led us to the state title last season.


“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.” – Bruce Lee


Las Vegas High School Football
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Pellot entered the 2021 season as an unknown to most. But when you watched the Skyhawks highlights, there was #2 making plays all over the field. Pellot stood out like a blue bowl in the cabinet filled with red dinnerware.

Pellot was catching passes and running by defenders. He was returning kicks and punts for touchdowns. On defense, he was intercepting passes and taking them to the house, as well as blowing up running backs and wide receivers, all while quarterbacking that unit for the Skyhawks. Pellot played like a man possessed and led like a 5-star general.

Donnie’s production in all phases of the game is great or Silverado football. He looks to make plays all the time. Many teams look to isolate him, which helped out with other phases of our team.Ostolaza said. “Donnie has so much good film that has helped in his recruiting process. He’s not looked at as a one-dimensional player because he does so much on film.

It didn’t matter who they played; Pellot was the best player on the field in every game in 2021. He tied for the team lead with 29 receptions for 632 yards and seven touchdowns. Pellot had 66 tackles and three interceptions, with two being returned for touchdowns. Add in 2 fumble recoveries and three punt returns for touchdowns for good measure while rushing for 592 yards and ten touchdowns. In total, Pellot had 1,224 total yards and 21 total TDs in 2021.

Donavyn Pellot was as impactful to his team as Zach Branch, or Germie Bernard was for Bishop Gorman and Liberty, respectively. He did it in all three phases of the game. He did it without fanfare, without any hype, without being on social media promoting himself or having someone else promote him. Pellot did it every week, game in and game out.

Now Pellot was not a one-man show by any means. There is a reason why FSM called Silverado the most complete team in Las Vegas last year. But as MLB Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson once said, Pellot was “the straw that stirs the drink” for the Skyhawks.

He (Pellot) is a leader on the field. The Silverado players listen and respect Donavyn. I’ve been told he is a very coachable kid who takes constructive criticism very well,” a Las Vegas high school football coach who asked to remain anonymous told me. “He represents Silverado high school with high character, integrity, hard work, and accountability! That’s all you could ask for out of a player.


Trust The Process


Las Vegas High School Football
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Pellot is a prime example of perseverance and hard work paying off. Coaches have a saying, “The tape don’t lie,” and while Pellot’s tape says a lot, what his coaches and teammates say about him tells the rest of the story.

Pellot has seen his recruiting take off since the season ended. He currently has 15 offers from Division 1 schools to which he can commit right now, and the list is growing.

The offers are from UNLV, Fresno State, San Diego State, Arizona, Washington, Washington State, UCLA, BYU, Colorado, Hawai’i, Colorado StateNevada, New Mexico State, Utah State, and Northern ArizonaUSC, Texas, Oregon, Oregon State, Boise State, and LSU have also shown heavy interest in him.

Pellot has already taken two official visits to Washington State and is heading to Arizona this weekend. He also has had unofficial visits to UNLV and UCLA. As he has done throughout his high school career, he is not letting the moment get too big for him and understands this is a huge decision. It will be the biggest in his life thus far.

Pellot said, “My parents help me a lot when I get impatient. But from the start, as you know, I said I was gonna do it the right way and be patient. I was good enough and worked hard enough and trusted that they (colleges) would find me, and it ended up working out.”

When I asked him if it was frustrating to see others get offers before him, Pellot told me, “No. I wasn’t pissed off at all or anything. I knew a lot of the guys that were getting recruited and were happy for them. This was my first year on varsity, and I just trusted that my film and me as a person would lead to the growth of my recruitment, and it has paid off. But the main thing out there for guys who are under-recruited is to just stay patient. If you’re that good, they will find you.

When it comes to his recruiting, I have told him to enjoy the process. Not many players get to experience what has come his way. Recognize and thank the people who have helped him along the way.Ostolaza told me. “He is very appreciative of the people from the media and other coaches who have helped him in his recruiting. His family are great people who remind him to stay humble and keep working hard.

So how do Pellot’s parents feel about the new attention? “They are very excited,” he told me. “I wouldn’t say overwhelmed, but it is a lot to take on.

I also asked Donavyn what he is looking for in a school? “I’m looking for a family feel. Something real, authentic, and a great transition from high school to college to help me grow as a man and as a football player.

I asked the anonymous coach who has coached in Las Vegas for years about what he likes about Pellot, and this is what he said, “He (Pellot) is a hard-working, physical & a cerebral player. The kid is a great student in the classroom, which translates to the field. He is like having 12 players on offense & defense, and it’s like having an extra coach on the field. Pellot plays RB, WR, and SS but could play LB, DE, TE, and DB if asked to. The kid’s a hybrid football player, multi-dimensional, exactly what teams are looking for today!

There is no shortage of talent on Las Vegas high school football fields from one end of the valley to the other on Friday nights. The nation’s top wide receiver plays at Bishop Gorman, in 5-star Zach Branch. That Bishop Gorman team is loaded with talent, as is Liberty, Desert Pines, and Silverado.

What I am about to say is not intended to be a slight to anyone or be taken disrespectfully. Some will say I am out of my mind, but I don’t care. After Branch, to me, Donavyn Pellot is the next best player in the city of Las Vegas. I don’t care if he plays at the 4-A level; he is a BALLER. Pellot would be the best player on most teams in Las Vegas. He does it all on the field, in the weight room, and the classroom.

Pellot is the complete package as a player and a person. He doesn’t have a team of people pushing his name all over social media trying to stack offers. He doesn’t seek attention from recruiting services or boast the flash that some have to spark engagement. Pellot lets his game and the film do the talking. He is also focused on repeating as 4-A champions next year.

As for me and as a team, we are expecting nothing from the best from us and our coaches. So we’re looking to have an even better year this year than last season,” he said, beaming with a huge smile.

As far as the upcoming season, we have high expectations. Offensively with the return of our backfield Donavyn Pellot and Caden Harris, we feel optimistic about our run game.” Ostolaza told me. “Our goal is to have our passing game led by our QB Brandon Tunnell to keep improving from last year. We have a good group of receivers led by Bryson Tunnell and Marcus Council coming back. Right now, we have a great battle going on to replace our other receiver that graduated. Our biggest concern is replacing a majority of our offensive line. We have some good younger lineman moving up, and we have had some promising players that have moved in from out of state. 

“Defensively, our goal is to put our fastest defense we have had at Silverado on the field. Led by Pellot, LB Chris Federico, and CB Shyne Johnson. Our strength is with our secondary and linebackers. We do have to replace some pieces up front, but we do have depth at those positions. Jayland McGlothen will lead a young athletic group up front.Ostolaza told me about the upcoming Skyhawks season.

Get ready to hear the name Donavyn Pellot A LOT this upcoming season on Friday nights. Don’t be surprised if you also hear it being called on Saturdays and possibly Sundays in the future.


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