North Valleys Panthers Season Preview
The high school football season begins in less than two weeks, with that being said we are previewing over twenty teams from our local area. Today's team: North Valleys.
North Valleys Panthers
2022 record: 2-7 overall, 1-4 league
Head coach: Brad Rose, second season at North Valleys (2-7 overall, 1-4 league in one season at North Valleys; 14-39 overall, 11-28 league over six seasons at Sparks and North Valleys)
After completing arguably, the two best seasons in North Valleys history the Panthers had a rough season last year going 2-7 overall, and only winning one league game in their final season in the Northern 3A. Coach Brad Rose and his squad were dealt a tough hand last year as they were extremely young and only had about six percent of their team returning from the previous season's league championship winning squad.
Coach Rose was very optimistic when speaking about his team. Stating that they plan to return "about 75-80 percent of their team from last season," including almost fifty players on varsity - consisting of eight seniors, over thirty juniors and a handful of sophomores, and that they had a "great offseason." At all three levels the Panthers will have approximately 125 players in their program creating great program health.
Rose told me that "The culture has changed and is more positive now, we have earned the trust and respect of our players." It's a "player-led group, that has jelled and [is] accountable to one another." Rose continued on saying that his team has a "chip on their shoulder," and to the kids in his program "it's all about being a Panther." While his squad is still young and learning on the fly it seems as though the future is bright for the future if they can stick together through adversity and learn how to compete every game.
Offensively the Panthers will transition from a "Spread with some fly concepts, including Wing-T Hybrid" to "Multiple Spread concepts with some Power-T in the running game." Rose stated that "[The] Offensive line will be a strength for us." Rose also stated that he's bringing back some concepts that he found success with at Sparks. In an offense that returns eight starters from last season, it'll be "Quarterback play" that will be the key to the Panthers this season. Rose stated, "we are more athletic than we were a year ago, we have great numbers in our [wide] receiving corps, and we are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were last year, again, the future is bright."
Defensively the Panthers will transition from a 3-3-5 stack formation to a 4-2-5 this season as Rose stated "[it] fits our personnel a little better." The defensive line will be the key to their success, and they are "strong, and well connected." If the D-Line can do their job the second and third level can make plays in the back end of the defense and limit big plays. Only time will tell if the Panthers can prove to be contenders this season in the newly formed 5A, D-III.
The Big Three
RB/LB Hector Nunez, Junior: Currently slated to start both ways for the Panthers, Nunez had a great offseason and was successful on the camp circuit - wowing at UNLV. As a sophomore he recorded 62 tackles, and 3 sacks - I expect that production to increase this season.
LT Lance Wegman, Sophomore: Wegman is a mountain of a man, standing 6-foot-6 and weighing in at over 270 pounds. He is described as a "Big, athletic kid" who has been making noise on the camp circuit and was recently invited to the 'Offensive/Defensive Series' in Los Angeles, Calif. If he lives up to how good he can be he should garner some Mountain West/Pac-12 interest in the coming seasons.
QB Isaac McBride, Sophomore: McBride was brought up to Varsity last year as a freshman and was able to get some good game reps, resulting in 191 rushing yards on the season. Rose described him "like [Cam] Zeidler, in that he's big, tough and athletic." Checking in at over 6-foot and 200 pounds he had great showings in the summer at camps at UC Davis and Gold Coast, Oregon.
Skill Position Standouts
Athlete Chase Busick, Junior: Busick was named All-League as a Punter last season but Rose stated that "He has just really fallen in love with defense." Big things are on the horizon for Busick as he can play all over the field on all sides of the ball - including playing a little QB for the Panthers last season. Be on the lookout for him to make a name for himself this season.
WR/DB/RS Jason Liddicoat, Senior: Described as an "outstanding CB and WR," Liddicoat had almost 400 yards of total offense last year. He is being recruited by Simpson College in Northern California with many more college opportunities on the horizon.
WR/K Nathan Stack, Senior: Stack is coming off injuries that derailed his season last year but Rose stated "[He] is explosive coming off injury," and we "look forward to big things from him." Stack recorded 94 receiving yards and a touchdown offensively, while being responsible for 12 tackles defensively.
One last hurrah, don't be surprised by...
DE JJ Latdrick, Senior: Mentioned by his coach as "someone to look out for." Letdrick has had a great offseason and will carry a ton of momentum into his senior year. He'll be expected to help in the trenches.
RB Ivan Ortiz, Senior: Ortiz was the Panthers bellcow carrying the ball last year as he was responsible for 398 rushing yards on only 94 carries while scoring seven of the Panthers eleven touchdowns on the season.
OL/DL Ethyn Riley, Senior: Riley is a key piece to a strong offensive line for the Panthers. he transferred into the program from Alaska prior to his junior season and was named All League last year.
Aug. 18 vs. Sparks
Aug. 25 vs. Damonte Ranch
Sep. 9 at Reno
Sep. 15 vs. Spanish Springs
Sep. 22 at Wooster
Sep. 29 vs. Galena
Oct. 6 vs. Douglas
Oct. 13 at Carson
Oct. 20 at Hug
J. Ray Dockter has been covering high school sports since 2022. If you have a story worth telling let him know via Twitter @J_RayDoc.