high school football:

Defense helps Centennial earn spot in state semifinals

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Christopher DeVargas

Members of the Centennial High football team are pictured during the Las Vegas Sun’s high school football media day at the Red Rock Resort on July 24, 2019. They include, from left, Thomas Lane, Aaron Johnson and Samie Wallace.

Fri, Nov 22, 2019 (11:47 p.m.)

The Centennial High football team’s defense thought they were better than the score indicated. The Bulldogs surrendered 36 points against Palo Verde when the teams met in the regular season— a result the players weren’t satisfied with, even in a Centennial victory.

As fate would have it, the Centennial defenders would get another crack at Palo Verde. And they responded.

Ronaven Mokiao had a pair of interceptions and Troy Miller recorded a safety for the Bulldogs, who made quick work of visiting Palo Verde Friday night in a 44-7 victory in the Mountain Regional semifinals. Centennial, one of three Las Vegas-area teams still with a game to play, will take on Desert Pines at 4 p.m. Nov. 30 at Eldorado in the regional championship game, which doubles as the state semifinals.

“Our defense took it personally,” Centennial coach Dustin Forshee said. “They were focused. They had a great week of practice.”

Centennial held a shutout until late in the game, when Palo Verde scored against its backups, including many junior varsity call-ups.

Jordan Smith rushed for 91 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, helping the Bulldogs lead 37-0 at halftime. He didn’t play in the second half. Colton Tenney passed for 180 yards and a touchdown to Gerick Robinson.

Centennial is eager to face Desert Pines, who eliminated them from the playoffs last season. Desert Pines, arguably, will be expected to win.

“The kids are excited to face Desert Pines. They have that us-versus-the-world mentality,” Forshee said.

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

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