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October 21, 2014

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high school football:

Despite being inexperienced, Silverado’s expectations are high

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Silverado football players from left, Rohan Walters, Billy Danford, Justin Polu and Mitchell Kissam July 30, 2013.

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer go through the schedule and discuss all of Saturday's games after looking back at the major topics to come out of the first two weeks of football.

Andy Ostolaza, Silverado head coach

Andy Ostolaza, Silverado head coach, talks about the upcoming season.

Northeast League — 2013

Canyon Springs football players, from left, defensive back Raequan Bascombe, linebacker Isiah Carter, defensive lineman Rayshawn Henderson, running back Zaviontay Stevenson and defensive back A.J. Cooper.

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Size will matter when it comes to playing the Silverado High football team this season.

The Skyhawks have six players who are taller than 6-foot-2 and weigh more than 240 pounds, and expect to use that size advantage to their benefit.

Temper the expectations, though.

While the Skyhawks have the size, experience isn’t on their side. Only nine players have varsity experience, and there will be underclassmen at critical spots, including at linebacker.

“The lack of experience is something we’re going to overcome, and that is on how well these kids gel together,” Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza said.

But unlike skill positions, Ostolaza doesn’t think the young offensive linemen will struggle adjusting to varsity speed.

“They’ll be fine in the trenches,” he said.

With considerable depth on both sides of the line of scrimmage, Ostolaza plans on having his bigger players play one-way in an effort to have them fresh for both late-game and late-season situations.

“We have one player who will play both ways,” he said. “And he’ll be rotated around. … I know certain teams like having their big kids on the field all the time. Eventually our plan is to wear teams down, and if (the opposing side) had a kid who plays both ways, that’ll help us out.”

Liberty transfer Justin Polu, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 294 pounds, will play on the line, alongside 6-foot-4, 305-pound lineman Mitchell Kissam.

There’s also 6-foot-2, 320-pound senior fullback and defensive tackle Billy Danford, who Ostolaza has lauded as one of his top weapons.

“He has a tremendous amount of speed, especially on a kid that size,” Ostolaza said of Danford.

Transfer quarterback Armani Sailor-Jones will have the benefit of passing behind the mammoth line, and will have a pair of big targets to throw to.

Other than Danford, Sailor-Jones can throw to Austin Hunt (6-foot-6, 225) or Rohan Walters (6-foot-5, 290 pounds).

That’s not including the running backs, which will aid Ostolaza’s desire to grind down teams with his boys in the trenches.

It gives Ostolaza hope, and given that he thought his team overachieved last season in a 5-5 campaign, which included a postseason berth, he expects this group of do just as well, if not better than last season. The first test is Saturday in the season opener at three-time defending Sunrise champ Liberty.

“We’ll be a lot more competitive than we were last year,” Ostolaza said.

Paul Delos Santos can be reached at 990-2416 or mail to [email protected] Follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/pauliedelos.

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