League: Class 4A Southwest
Head coach: Scott Murdock, first season
2016 record: 6-3 (3-3 Southwest League, fifth)
Returning starters: Five offense, three defense
Base offensive set: Multiple
Base defensive set: Multiple
Top offensive players: QB Kaden Renshaw (Jr.); RB T.K.Fotu (Jr.); WR Kevin O’Neill (Sr.); FB/WR Jayden Nersinger (Jr.)
Top defensive players: LB T.K. Fotu (Jr.); DE Jayden Nersinger (Jr.)
Outlook: The Trailblazers opened the 2016 season by winning their first six games, yet still managed to miss the playoffs.
Murdock, who returned to Las Vegas after spending four years coaching in Missouri, has high hopes that Durango can build off the early success it had last season.
“They’ve played football their whole lives, and it’s what you want as a coach,” Murdock said. “Talented players who are going to work hard for you. And that’s what they’re doing.”
Renshaw completed 47.4 percent of his passes for 607 yards and six TDs last season, and should be better with a year of starting experience under his belt.
O’Neill was the team’s top receiver with 11 catches for 230 yards, and Murdock expects Fotu to play a key role on both sides of the ball.
“We talk about winning it all,” Murdock said. “We talk about being champions. I don’t know why anybody would want to do anything other than that. Their expectations are limitless. They should be, they’re kids.