All-decade team: These players helped make Las Vegas a hotbed for high school football

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Steve Marcus

Bishop Gorman quarterback Tate Martell warms up before playing Chandler (Ariz.) High School at Bishop Gorman Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015.

Tue, Dec 31, 2019 (2 a.m.)

The past decade was, without question, the most celebrated in Las Vegas prep football history. Teams were ranked nationally and players not only received all-America accolades and advanced by the dozens to major college programs, but a handful reached the NFL.

First, the obvious: Bishop Gorman, and its three straight national championships, set the bar high. The Gaels had a 55-game winning streak spanning four seasons on the way to winning nine of 10 state championships in the decade. They had a national player of the year in quarterback Tate Martell, eight All-Americans and consistently fielded teams with a who’s who of bluechip recruits.

And the not-so-obvious: It wasn’t just Gorman.

Liberty has been consistently ranked in the top 100 nationally and climbed into the top 20 in 2016. Desert Pines and Arbor View have also broken into rankings.

The standout players on the Sun’s all-decade team range from a running back who became the NCAA’s best to the No. 6 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Four of the five offensive linemen on the all-decade team reached the NFL — just one, Ronnie Stanley, played at Gorman. Another lineman, Chaparral graduate and second-year New York Giants pro Will Hernandez, didn’t make the list.

Yes, we had that many standouts in the 2010s.

The list strictly took into account a player’s achievements and stats in high school. Some didn’t make a splash in college. Others, like Hernandez, flourished at the next level. We followed the same strategy when doing the all-decade team for the 2000s.

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Offense

QB — Tate Martell, Bishop Gorman (2014-16)

Martell, one could argue, is the greatest high school player in Las Vegas history. He was the Gatorade national player of the year in 2016 after leading Gorman to its third straight undefeated season and USA Today national championship. He passed for 113 career touchdowns with just nine interceptions in three seasons, completing 60% of his passes for 7,507 yards. He also rushed for 2,300 yards and 35 touchdowns.

After Gorman: Plays in college at Miami.

QB — Kenyon Oblad, Liberty (2014-17)

Established a Nevada record with 11,828 passing yards during a four-year career at Liberty, where he started every game. Also passed for 116 career touchdowns, leading the Patriots to four consecutive regional titles.

After Liberty: Passed for 2,081 yards and 18 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2019 at UNLV.

RB — Donnel Pumphrey, Canyon Springs (2010-12)

Tallied 4,152 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns over three seasons, and averaged nine yards per carry. Was the 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year.

After Canyon Springs: Rushed for an NCAA record 6,405 yards in four seasons at San Diego State. Was with the Philadelphia Eagles for two seasons, including in 2018 when they won the Super Bowl. Currently in the XFL.

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Desert Pines' running back, Isaiah Morris (7) carries the ball during the 3A high school football championship game, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV.

RB — Isaiah Morris, Desert Pines (2014-16)

Rushed for 4,700 yards and 60 touchdowns over three seasons, and helped the Jags win the 2016 class 3A state title.

After Desert Pines: Played at Adams State.

TE — Brevin Jordan, Bishop Gorman (2015-17)

Had 100 receptions for 1,788 yards and 26 touchdowns over three seasons. As a senior, caught 63 passes for 1,111 yards and 14 touchdowns.

After Gorman: Caught 35 passes for 495 yards and two scores this fall as a sophomore with Miami.

WR — Ethan Dedeaux, Liberty (2013-16)

Had 138 career receptions for 2,842 yards and 34 scores, and also rushed for 590 yards and 14 touchdowns. Defensively, had 11 career interceptions.

After Liberty: Finished his redshirt sophomore season at San Diego State, where he caught seven passes in 2019.

WR — R.J. Huburt, Moapa Valley (2013-15)

Scored 50 career touchdowns — 23 receiving, 15 rushing and 12 return. Had 90 career receptions for 1,747 yards, including 783 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior in 2015 when the Pirates were state champions. Also rushed for 727 yards (10 yards per carry) and 15 touchdowns as a senior, to go along with six interceptions on defense.

After Moapa Valley: Plays at Utah.

WR — Ryan Smith, Bishop Gorman (2009-12)

Had 132 career receptions for a state-record 3,208 yards and 51 touchdowns during a four-year career with Gorman. Gaels only lost four games during his tenure.

After Gorman: Played at Duke.

WR— Rome Odunze, Bishop Gorman (2017-19)

Had 128 catches for 2,669 yards and 33 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Gorman. Is widely considered the best receiver in Gorman’s decade of dominance.

After Gorman: Signed with Washington.

OL — Ronnie Stanley, Bishop Gorman (2009-2012)

Stanley was a three-year starter at Gorman, which went 43-3 and finished ranked in the top 10 nationally. Scout listed him as the 11th-best offensive tackle recruit nationally.

After Gorman: Was an All-American at Notre Dame before being the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Was selected this season to the Pro Bowl.

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Green Valley High School football and basketball player Tyrell Crosby works out January 30, 2013.

OL — Tyrell Crosby, Green Valley (2011-13)

One of the nation’s top offensive tackle prospects for the class of 2014, Crosby was a first-team all-state selection and played in the Semper Fi All-America game.

After Green Valley: Crosby is in his second season with the Detroit Lions. He started four years at Oregon, including in 2015 when the Ducks played for the national championship.

OL — Jeremiah Poutasi, Desert Pines (2009-11)

Poutasi, a multiple-time all-state and all-league pick, was a four-star recruit and the nation’s 10th overall offensive guard prospect. Was named the top offensive lineman in the 2012 Offense-Defense All-America Game in Dallas.

After Desert Pines: Played in college at Utah and was a third-round NFL Draft pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2015. Also played with Jacksonville.

OL — Elijah George, Arbor View (2009-12)

George, a three-team all-state pick, became the first Arbor View player to sign with a Division I school. With George paving the way, Arbor View rushed for 313 yards per game during his junior season and 370 yards during his senior campaign.

After Arbor View: Played four seasons at Oregon.

OL — Nick Gates, Bishop Gorman (2011-13)

A two-time first-team all-state selection, Gates was considered one of the nation’s top 25 tackles for the class of 2014.

After Gorman: Gates is in his second season with the New York Giants. Played in college at Nebraska.

K — Jay Mattox, Las Vegas (2010-12)

Made 22 of 30 field goals in three years with the Wildcats, including a 53-yard attempt as a sophomore.

After Las Vegas: Kicked four years at UTEP.

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Liberty High's Kai Nacua celebrates with teammates and cheerleaders following the Patriots' 59-20 victory against Coronado Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, in the Sunrise Regional title game. Liberty advances to next week's state title game to face Bishop Gorman.

TWO-WAY — Kai Nacua, Liberty (2010-12)

Nacua is widely considered the best player in Liberty history — the school, after all, retired his jersey. A two-way standout, Nacua passed for 3,339 career yards and 33 touchdowns and rushed for 1,585 yards and 30 scores. Defensively, he had 69 career tackles and five interceptions.

After Liberty: Has been on NFL rosters the past three seasons, including this year with the Colts. Had a four-year career at BYU, where he had 14 career interceptions and 164 tackles.

Defense

DL — Haskell Garrett, Bishop Gorman (2014-16)

Garrett, a four-star recruit who was a U.S. Army All-American, had 56 tackles for loss and 25 sacks in three seasons. As a senior, had 54 tackles and 20 tackles for loss.

After Gorman: Plays at Ohio State.

DL — Jarvis Polu, Liberty (2011-13)

Had 96 career tackles and 10.5 sacks, helping Liberty become a championship-contending program during the initial years of its rise to prominence.

After Liberty: Played four years for Navy.

DL — Gabriel Lopez, Desert Pines (2016-19)

Established a state record for sacks with 48 over four seasons.

After Desert Pines: Signed with Washington State.

DL — Michael Hughes Jr., Palo Verde (2011-13)

Registered 144 tackles (17 for a loss) and 13 sacks over three seasons.

After Palo Verde: Played at UNLV. Was in camp with Jacksonville of the NFL.

LB — Palaie Gaoteote, Bishop Gorman (2015-17)

Had 240 career tackles (45 for a loss) and eight sacks over three celebrated seasons, receiving first-team All-America honors in 2017 from Max Preps.

After Gorman: Plays at USC.

LB — Tony Fields, Desert Pines (2014-16)

Had 110 tackles and two interceptions in 2016 to help Desert Pines win the state championship. On a team of would-be college players, he was arguably the most valuable. He had 93 tackles — seven for a loss — in 2015.

After Desert Pines: Plays at Arizona, where he has been a three-year starter.

LB— Hunter Kaupiko, Faith Lutheran (2016-19)

Had a brilliant four-year career for the Crusaders in registering 386 tackles (39.5 for a loss) and 25 sacks.

After Faith Lutheran: Committed to Fresno State.

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Las Vegas High School's Cruz Littlefield is part of the Las Vegas Sun's preseason all-city high school football team for the 2016 season.

LB — Cruz Littlefield, Las Vegas (2014-2016)

Had 382 career tackles (31 for a loss) for the Wildcats, including 110 takedowns as a senior. Also had five career sacks.

After Las Vegas: Plays for Idaho State.

DB — Tawee Walker, Mojave (2015-16)

If it weren’t for Walker, Mojave would have never made a run to the 3A state championship game in 2016. He was the best player on the field, rushing for 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns, and leading Mojave with 60 tackles. It was good enough to force the Rattlers into a higher classification, where they have struggled for wins — it didn’t help that Walker moved to Arizona for his final season.

After Mojave: Won a state championship as a senior in Arizona.

DB — Bubba Bolden, Bishop Gorman (2014-16)

Had 10 career interceptions, including seven as a senior in 2016 when Gorman won its third national championship. In one of the plays of the decade, he saved Gorman’s undefeated season by elevating over the line to block a would-be game-winning field goal in an ESPN-televised game against St. Thomas Aquinas of Florida. Finished with 97 tackles over three seasons — a gaudy number for someone in the secondary.

After Gorman: Plays in college for Miami.

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Palo Verde defensive back Ryan Beaulieu intercepts a ball in the end zone intended for Centennial wideout Deandre White during the first quarter of play at Centennial High on Friday evening.

DB — Ryan Beaulieu, Palo Verde (2010-12)

Had 13 interceptions and 98 tackles in three seasons, and was the city’s premiere defensive back in the early part of the decade.

After Palo Verde: Played in junior college and briefly at UNLV.

P — Gavin Wale, Coronado (2016-18)

Averaged 43 yards per punt during his senior season, when he was first-team all-league as both kicker and punter. Averaged 42 yards per punt as a junior. Made 15 of 19 career field goals.

After Coronado: Plays at Boise State.

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

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