In what he called a “dream season,” Agassi Prep football coach Colt Goodman has watched his team accomplish several milestones this fall.
None of them would compare to a victory Friday night.
Sole possession of first place in the Class 2A Southern League will be up for grabs when Agassi Prep (4-1, 4-0) visits The Meadows (4-2, 4-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.
“It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” Goodman said. “We’re looking at a team that’s won state championships, (is) usually undefeated and not many people have beaten them. We’ve got the utmost respect for them.”
If the Stars can pull off their first-ever win over the two-time defending 2A state champion Mustangs, they would inch closer to wrapping up the South’s No. 1 seed for the state playoffs, which begin Nov. 6.
The Meadows defeated Agassi Prep 49-26 in 2008 and 43-0 last season, but Goodman is confident the Stars can play with the Mustangs this time.
“We’ve always seemed to slide off after the third or fourth game,” Goodman said. “Right now, we’re not showing any signs of that. We’re getting better every week and everybody’s eligible. They’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Agassi Prep’s defense has flexed its muscles in shutouts of Laughlin, Calvary Chapel and Lincoln County. The Stars also kept an explosive Mountain View offense under wraps Oct. 1 in a 30-16 victory, which Goodman called the biggest win in program history at the time.
That stingy defense will be put to the test against The Meadows, the owner of a vaunted passing attack.
Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gosse has completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 1,642 yards and 20 touchdowns with a modest nine interceptions. The junior leads Southern Nevada in passing yards and TDs.
“He understands the (spread) offense and what teams are doing, defensively,” Mustangs coach Frank DeSantis said of Gosse, who threw for 382 yards and six TDs in a 52-23 win at Needles last week.
Gosse has two prime receivers in junior Max Newman (38 catches, 601 yards, seven TDs) and senior Austin Brown (31 catches, 581 yards, seven TDs).
But DeSantis said the emergence of juniors Taylor Beck (12 catches, 154 yards, three TDs) and Richard Lee (10 catches, 128 yards, one TD) has helped take the Mustangs’ passing attack to another level.
“I think that’s what’s really helped us,” said DeSantis, who also credited a young offensive line that has learned quickly. “When you’re balanced, you can pick and choose.”
Agassi Prep’s passing game is no slouch, either. Junior signal caller Terrell Kemp has completed 56.5 percent of his passes for 614 yards and 11 TDs with only one interception.
Goodman’s team has already passed one early-season test against Mountain View, but the fourth-year coach knows beating the two-time defending state champions will be a challenge.
“They’ve shown they can win the big game. They’re probably as well coached as anybody in the state,” Goodman said of The Meadows. “Our biggest challenge is playing a team that’s used to playing in big games.”
DeSantis doesn’t want his players to get too excited for a midseason game, but he acknowledged the importance of playing for first place.
“It would be nice to be in sole possession of first,” he said. “I’m sure they look at it the same way.”