Las vegas high school football

Palo Verde Panthers: New 2020 Las Vegas High School Football Preview

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In the early 2010’s Palo Verde was one of the most talented and most dangerous teams in the state.  Under coach Darwin Rost, the Panthers maintained an air of superiority in the ten team Northwest division for over a decade. It was the toughest division in the valley at the time.

 

Las Vegas High School Football
Photo Credit: Palo Verde

It wouldn’t be hard to say that Palo Verde was the best team out of the Summerlin area, and the best team from the Northwest. However, all good things must come to an end. In 2014 the longtime coach of the Panthers retired with a 154-50 record. After coach Rost’s departure and coach Joe Aznarez taking the helm, the Panthers spiraled into mediocrity, going 16-24 between the 2015 and the 2018 seasons.

Even though Palo Verde kept the same offensive scheme (double wing) and the same type of talent, the only reasonable cause for their current issues has to do with their identity as a program. 

Right now, Palo fans are seeing the team going through a rebuilding phase in which the Panthers are trying to find a life after Darwin Rost. Until 2019 they had been unsuccessful, but last year after the addition of defensive coordinator Devon Jones, who came from Cimarron-Memorial, things began to look up for the program.

Coach Jones brought a new defensive scheme that fits the Panthers skill set and utilized the dynamic speed Palo Verde possesses due to the Panthers’ lack of size upfront compared to schools in the North West such as Centennial, Faith Lutheran, and Arbor View

 

 

The addition of Jones ultimately made the biggest difference for the team.

 

Las Vegas High School Football
Photo Credit: Palo Verde

In 2019 the Palo Verde Panthers turned their program around winning eight games, making a playoff run upsetting an extraordinarily talented and explosive Las Vegas Wildcats team and ultimately ending in a 44-7 loss to Centennial

If you asked before the season what people expected from Palo Verde Football, nobody would have expected them to win eight games and beat teams like Faith Lutheran, Green Valley, and Las Vegas. Although those achievements from last season defied expectations, Palo still finished third in their respective division. Now, having made enough of a show last year that they were placed in the 5A, the task of keeping their program winning has become even more complicated. They are now in a division with Legacy, Bishop Gorman, Canyon Springs, Foothill, and Arbor View. 

 

 

If Palo wants to continue their newfound winning tradition, the Panthers will have to rely upon team discipline and find a way to put more points on the board.

 

Photo Credit: Twitter

Last season at times, the Panthers offense struggled to find ways to move the ball downfield, which put a strain on the defense to keep them in the game.

In the 5A, lackluster offensive potency will have the Panthers fall again to a losing record. But this writer believes that the Palo Verde can find a way to win games in their new division and find a way, yet again, to make a playoff run.

Palo Verde has to discover creative ways to use star athlete Charron Thomas. Last year Thomas led the team in rushing, all-purpose yards, and touchdowns. Utilizing the dynamic skill set of Thomas will keep Palo in the ball game. Still, ultimately playing without quarterback Paul Myro, the Panthers will need to find talented passers that can assist in the passing game and help keep the Palo offense from becoming predictable and one dimensional. 

 

 

At the end of the day, Palo’s newfound swagger can only continue if they continue to stay creative and disciplined on both sides of the ball, finding ways to to put points on the board.

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-JaRon Turner – Franchise Sports Media

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