Agassi Prep’s football team faced a big enough challenge last season joining Class 2A, which meant playing at the 11-man level for the first time.
Then came hurdles with lack of size, academic ineligibility and a change of offensive systems in the middle of the season. The undermanned Stars struggled to a 1-7 finish.
But Agassi Prep coach Colt Goodman is confident those problems are in the past, and if the team’s season opener is any indication, he could be correct.
The Stars opened the season with a 48-6 rout of Abundant Life (Utah) on Aug. 29 at Rancho High, where they’ll play all their home games this season.
“Our goal is to get to the postseason, no doubt about it,” said Goodman, who returned for his third season after a brief resignation in the spring. “We’re going to take each game as it comes.
“I prepare for everybody equally. When you finish 1-7, you take everybody seriously, as we should.”
Agassi Prep faces Diamond Ranch (Utah) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Rancho before opening 2A Southern League play at West Wendover on Sept. 18.
As an independent public charter school, Agassi Prep has set its minimum requirements for eligibility this year at a 2.5 grade-point average with no more than two “D” grades in classes, Goodman said.
That’s tougher than the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s minimum 2.0 GPA requirement.
Last year, Agassi Prep lost several players to ineligibility, partly leading to the Stars shifting from a spread option offense to a pro set early in the season.
Goodman doesn’t expect grades to become an issue again.
“That’s behind us this year,” he said. “We’re moving forward and building much faster than I expected, just fantastic.
“The kids are performing in the classroom. We’re at our first three-week grade check right now, and we’re not losing anybody to academics.”
And the team’s line play?
“You’re not going to be able to push us around this year up front,” Goodman said. “It’s not going to happen.”
Showing off their new double-wing offense, the Stars rushed for 330 yards against Abundant Life, including junior DeVonn Porter’s 174 and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
“The line, without them, we don’t do anything,” Porter said. “That’s our key.”
Goodman said the offensive line will be led by 6-foot-2-inch, 353-pound senior center Kris Burrell.
And while Agassi Prep will employ a run-heavy offense, Goodman also is confident in the passing game.
Sophomore quarterback Terrell Kemp threw for 58 yards and two touchdowns in the opener.
“He’s real smart,” Porter said of Kemp. “He learns the plays real fast. He helps the rest of the players around him, and he has a strong arm.”
Sophomore inside linebacker KeAndre Albert, junior safety LeShawn Sims and junior cornerback Dennis Mitchell will key Agassi Prep’s 4-4 defense.
But the Stars must replace sophomore tight end/defensive lineman Curtis Watson, a two-way standout whom Goodman said is expected to miss six to eight weeks with an arm injury suffered in practice.
Porter said the Stars, who have 31 players on the roster, should not be hampered again by the depth issues they encountered last year.
“Last year we were worried about people being ineligible, and we had to forfeit one game because of that,” Porter said, referring to a forfeit against league foe Mountain View. “But now we’ve got numbers, so it’s better.”
Goodman said he returned to Agassi Prep because he is convinced the program can move past the struggles of last season.
“My heart was here the whole time,” he said. “After speaking with the chancellor, this is my home. I want to build the program.”