hsfb playoffs:

This baseball player has Palo Verde football back in the hunt

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Steve Marcus

Palo Verde quarterback Paul Myro, center, carries the ball behind Nas Worthy (53) and Dacen Phister (25) during a Mountain Regional quarterfinal game against Las Vegas at Las Vegas High School Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.

Fri, Nov 15, 2019 (11:59 p.m.)

Paul Myro wasn’t certain if he would play football for Palo Verde High this season. Myro, one of the nation’s premier baseball players, had his future secured on the diamond with a scholarship to Oregon State.

The middle infielder could focus on preparing for a future in baseball, his first love.

In early August, some two weeks before the football season would start, and with Myro finishing up summer baseball, he got a text message from Panthers football coach Joe Aznarez. The football Panthers needed a quarterback, Aznarez stressed, and not just any quarterback.

Myro, who had played at Basic the past two years, could be the answer in leading a resurgence with the Palo Verde program, who hadn’t won a playoff game in five seasons.

Myro finally agreed to play. He sat out the first game while getting in the required number of practices and has been unstoppable since.

Palo Verde (8-3) is one of six teams still playing in the Las Vegas area, using a pair of touchdown passes from Myro to Kade Madsen Friday in a 41-23 victory against host Las Vegas in the Mountain Regional quarterfinals.

“To do what we are doing this year, after a few years of a drought, is real special,” Myro said. “You have to give credit to everybody — we are working so hard.”

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Ray Brewer and Case Keefer partake in a snake draft of all the eight teams in the parity-rich Mountain Region with the postseason getting under way this weekend as well as look at all the other games.

Myro’s stats don’t jump off the page: He had 300 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the regular season, while throwing eight touchdown passes with seven interceptions. But what the stats don’t indicate is his leadership or the fact he’s a winner accustomed to being in close games from playing high-level baseball.

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Palo Verde's Charron Thomas (2) carries the ball ahead of Las Vegas' Jaelin Gray (88) in the first half of a Mountain Regional quarterfinal game at Las Vegas High School Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.

“We have a big group of seniors; a lot of them have been in the program for four years and they have bought in,” Aznarez said. “The additions we have had this year have really jelled with this group.”

Myro ran the spread offense at Basic. At Palo Verde, it’s mostly out of the wing — which he picked up quicker than expected. Learning was surely made easier with senior Charron Thomas, who rushed for about 200 yards and two touchdowns against Las Vegas.

Thomas grew up around the Palo Verde program — his brother, Chaz, is one of the all-time great Panthers.

“I was messing with him the other day in practice, ‘You have been running the double wing since you were 2 years old, you should know this stuff by now,’” Aznarez said. “He sure knew it tonight.”

Many feel the Mountain Region is wide open with no clear-cut favorite. That was the case in the quarterfinals with Canyon Springs upsetting Arbor View. If Myro has his way, that will also be the case in next week’s semifinals against Centennial, which beat Palo Verde three weeks ago in a game not decided until the fourth quarter.

Myro is having so much fun this season that he’s not ready for it to end. Sure, there will be plenty of baseball games to play. But there is something about Friday nights he couldn’t pass on.

“To be able to compete and help this team make a playoff run, it’s been a ton of fun,” Myro said. “More than anything I could have asked for.”

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

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