The Pahrump Valley football team is preparing for their first live action against another team in a scrimmage against the Cheyenne Desert Shield.
After that scrimmage, the real season gets underway with the Trojans’ first regular season game coming next week at home against the Somerset Losee Lions.
Let’s take a look at each of Pahrump Valley’s games for the 2023 season.
Week 1: vs. Losee
The Trojans will kick off their 2023 season with a home game against the Somerset Academy Losee Lions. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
In the Lions’ inaugural season in 2022, they went 2-3 in league play and 4-6 overall in the 3A division.
Following the season, Somerset Losee moved up to play in the Desert league in the 4A division.
Losee’s offense will have a new quarterback under center this season as last year’s starting QB, Jamison Bragg, graduated in the spring.
He completed 40% of his passes, going 22-for-55 with 370 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Week 2: At Del Sol
The Dragons are entering their third season as a member of the Mountain league in the 4A division. They went 0-4 in league play and 1-8 overall last season. Their lone win of the season came against the Bonanza Bengals.
Senior Austin Morville is returning to lead Del Sol as their starting quarterback for a second straight year.
As a junior in 2022, Morville completed 41.8% of his passes for 424 yards and six interceptions. He also had 17 carries for 76 yards on the ground.
Junior running back Timothy “Sauce” Randolph had 58 carries for 230 yards last season for the Dragons.
Despite having their starting QB and RB back this season, they lost their top three receivers in Colin Morville, Steven Fowler and David Bukassa due to graduations.
The three players combined for 386 receiving yards.
Pahrump Valley is 3-1 in their last four games against Del Sol and they are currently riding a two-game winning streak with the most recent win coming during the 2019 season.
Week 3: At Sports Leadership & Management (SLAM)
The Bulls are coming off their most successful season they’ve had since entering the 3A division in the 2019 season.
Last year, SLAM finished the season 6-3 overall and 4-0 in league play. They won the Mountain league and eventually made it all the way to the state championship game before losing to Truckee.
The Bulls were very top-heavy when it came to production of players and their class standings.
Their starting quarterback, their top four receivers and two of their top three running backs were all seniors in the 2022 season.
However, on the defensive side of the ball, SLAM is returning with their best defensive player in safety Damien Nevil who had a team-high 44 tackles and three interceptions in his sophomore year.
Pahrump Valley is 2-1 against SLAM with the lone loss coming in the 2022 season.
Week 4: vs. Virgin Valley
The Bulldogs finished 7-2 in the 2022 season with a 4-1 league record. They finished second in the Desert league of the 3A division behind Moapa Valley.
Virgin Valley was led in 2022 by former Pahrump Valley starting quarterback Gunner Cortez.
He threw for 1,518 yards on 50.7% completion with 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Cortez also ran the ball 38 times for 172 yards and four touchdowns.
Their two best running backs – Isaiah Frieling and Hunter Otteson – were both seniors in 2022. They combined for 190 carries for 1,209 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Virgin Valley’s top wide receiver Chase Otteson will be returning for his senior year. He led the Bulldogs with 700 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Bulldogs seem to be the Trojans’ kryptonite. Virgin Valley has won 10 games in a row against Pahrump Valley dating back to the 2006 season.
Week 5: vs. Mater Academy East
This will be Mater Academy’s first season as an official member in the Mountain league of the 3A division. They have been a “freelance” team for the last two seasons due to being a brand new school.
Despite not having league games last season, the Knights did play a Mountain league schedule against most of the teams in the league.
Pahrump Valley took home a crushing 50-0 victory over Mater Academy East in the 2022 season. The Trojan defense forced three interceptions.
The Knights looked to the younger guys to lead them last season.
Their starting quarterback and their top producing running back were both freshmen, while their top receiver was a sophomore.
Ezequiel Mendez threw for 336 yards, three touchdowns and seven interceptions for Mater Academy.
Tyron Thomas had six of the team’s nine rushing touchdowns, while also running for 379 yards.
Week 6: vs. Democracy Prep Academy
Democracy Prep Academy was one of the schools around the state that was part of the sports realignments that happened over the summer.
They made their way back to the 3A division after spending the last three seasons in the 2A division.
The Blue Knights didn’t find much success in the 2A division. Despite making the playoffs in two of the three seasons, they only have one playoff win to show for it with a 19-0 first-round victory over Needles in the 2021 playoffs.
Democracy Prep finished the 2022 season with a 5-4 overall record and a 5-2 league record.
Week 7: At Moapa Valley
The Pirates finished the 2022 season with a perfect 5-0 league record and an 11-1 record overall. Their lone loss of the season came in the state championship game against Truckee.
Moapa Valley was attempting to finish a second consecutive season undefeated after going 12-0 and winning the state title in the 2021 season.
Senior Shandon Matheson returns for the Pirates. He was second on the team in passing yards in 2022 with 322 yards behind departed senior Cyrus Katich, who threw for 697 passing yards.
Matheson also threw for four touchdowns.
Moapa Valley’s leading running back in 2022 Landon Wrzesinski has graduated and taken his 1,279 yards and 17 touchdowns with him.
Pahrump held him to his season-low of 58 yards last year. It was also one of just two games in the season where Wrzesinski didn’t score a touchdown.
The Trojans are hoping to end a losing streak that predates the 2015 season.
Week 8: vs. The Meadows
Like Democracy Prep, The Meadows were part of the division realignments that occurred over the summer.
They are the reigning 2A football state champions from the 2022 season where they finished with a 6-1 league record and a 12-1 overall record.
The Mustangs’ only loss of the season came in an 18-7 defeat at the hands of Democracy Prep.
Their starting quarterback in 2022 – senior Sean Gosse – threw for over 2,700 yards and had 42 touchdowns.
Meadows’ starting running back will be returning for the 2023 season. Now a senior, Dawson Levine rushed for 811 yards and seven touchdowns on 123 carries last year.
The Mustangs will also have their starting wide receiver Evan Baalbaky for his senior year. Last season he caught 44 passes for 710 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Baalbaky was also the team’s leader on defense, making 68 tackles and hauling in four interceptions.
Week 9: vs. Boulder City
A team that Pahrump is very familiar with.
The Eagles finished second in the Mountain league with a 3-1 league record and an 8-3 overall record in 2022.
They knocked off Pahrump by a score of 25-23 in a game that came down to the wire. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough time on the clock for the Trojans.
Despite having their starting quarterback in Jacob Bryant back for the 2023 season, Boulder City lost its top two running backs – Hunter Moore and Bruce Woodbury – and two of their top three wide receivers – Kanon Welbourne and Woodbury.
Moore accounted for 1,002 yards and 18 of the team’s 45 offensive touchdowns.
These two teams always play close games. In their last five meetings, the average margin of victory has been just six points. The Trojans are hoping to end their four-game losing streak to the Eagles.
Contact sports writer/editor Danny Smyth at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @_dannysmyth on Twitter.