Monday, August 04, 2008

PrepNation 101 Preseason FB Countdown: No. 25 Desert Vista

25. Desert Vista (Phoenix)

Last season’s record: 9-5, Class 5A/I runner-up

Coach: Dan Hinds

Key players: DE/RB Devon Kennard (6-3, 250, Sr.), RB/DB Marcus Washington (6-1, 190, Sr.), DE Danny Mularkey (6-3, 220, Sr.), QB Cole Pembroke (6-1, 200, Sr.), OL/DL David Kraus (6-3, 298, Sr.), WR Casey Bolena (6-2, 180, Sr.), DB Jake Van Rapphorst (5-10, 175, Sr.), OC Conner Wilson (6-0, 260, Sr.), WR/DB Anders Battle (5-11, 165, Jr.)

Biggest strength: Running game, pass rush, experience

Question mark: Inexperience at LB

Outlook: Five Division I and IAA signees from last year’s squad graduated but the Thunder still returns 11 starters, including seven on offense. The group includes possibly the nation’s top recruit in Kennard, a tremendously explosive player who had 107 tackles and 24 sacks as a junior. He will also share carries at running back with Washington, an all-region performer who has big-time speed. Guiding the offense is Pembroke, a smart and athletic player who led the team with over 1,200 total yards. His receiving corps features the sure hands of Bolena and the blistering speed of Battle. The offensive line has size and experience with Kraus and Wilson leading the way. Playing on the other side of Kennard at the other defensive end is Mularkey, who had 89 tackles and 10 sacks last season.

Toughest games: Sept. 19 vs. Chandler, Oct. 2 at Centennial, Oct. 24 at Basha

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