Desert Vista felt slighted. Palo Verde thought it was disrespectful.

On Saturday both football programs get a chance to take their frustrations out on each other.

When the decision came down that Bishop Gorman, Nevada’s top football program, would not participate in the Sollenberger Classic, some within the Thunder program were disappointed.

It is no disrespect to Palo Verde, which is just a notch below Gorman in the Nevada football hierarchy, but more of a sign of Desert Vista’s competitive nature.

The Thunder’s last game resulted in knocking off nationally-ranked Hamilton and the Arizona state title. Their thinking is why they did not attempt to book end it with a possible big win over one of the nation’s best program.

“It’s disappointing to not get the best team,” Desert Vista quarterback Matt Young said. “But really it doesn’t matter who they bring. We want to put on a good show.

“Brophy is playing a team (nationally-ranked Santa Margarita on Aug. 24) from California and we have our game. You hear about California and Texas football all the time. We think Arizona can be in that class and with a couple of wins we can get some respect.”

There was some controversy over the selection of the Nevada participant. There was an initial report that it was because the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association was trying to get Brophy out of the NIAA.

Then Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Associate Executive Director Chuck Schmidt got into some hot water after comments surfaced that seemed to indicate that an Arizona team might not be able to compete against Gorman and who “want(s) to show up and play a game where there is really no chance of winning.”

Schmidt said it was taken out of context, but it matters not really. He can take it back and deny it all he wants. It is still being used as a motivator for Saturday’s 7 p.m. matchup against Palo Verde at University of Phoenix Stadium.

“You hear about it and you wonder where something like that comes from,” Desert Vista senior wide receiver Kaleb Germinaro said. “Really it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, but if we can use it as a motivator we will take it.”

The slight can be turned around and used by Palo Verde as well, after all the program has gone 89-16 since 2004 with one state title while playing in the state’s largest division.

"The players are excited about the opportunity to represent Nevada along with the chance to play in a great stadium," Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost said. "We were asked to play in this great game. It's becoming a great tradition and we are proud to be involved."

Palo Verde runs a double Wing-T, and returns top rushers Lee Griggs and Ryan Beaulieu. The Panthers figure to pass more than most Wing-T teams with Rost’s son, Parker, back at quarterback. Defensively, they'll use a 4-3 and return a surplus of speed in the defensive backfield. That's something they'll need against shifty Desert Vista.

"They have very good skill players," said Rost, who started the program in 1996. "They are a top-notch program. They have some nice kids returning and I've been impressed with their fundamentals."


Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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