Video: Senior highlights of Rome Odunze
Washington-bound receiver is picked as Nevada's top player.
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
football coach Kenny Sanchez was asked what are the strengths of his 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior wide receiver Rome Odunze
. Rarely at a loss for words, Sanchez had trouble getting going.
"Where do I start?" he said.
He pointed out Odunze's 10.7-second speed in the 100-meter dash and that he'd finished third at the state track and field meet.
"Immediately he gets separation," Sanchez said. "That's a big help."
He's big and physical, Sanchez said, runs great routes, has great hands, and with a 40-inch vertical jump is super athletic. Plus, Odunze is a 3.47 student, has a great attitude and work ethic to match, and in his spare time, he volunteers for Special Olympics.
"Need more?" Sanchez said.
Well, there is that production thing.
For the second straight season, he went well over 1,000 yards receiving, with 58 catches for 1,322 yards and 16 touchdowns in just 13 games. He has a scholarship to Washington that he's committed to.
"What else could you ask for?" Sanchez asked rhetorically.
There is one more thing: Odunze is the MaxPreps Nevada Player of the Year presented by Suddenlink by Altice.
As great as the award is for Odunze, his season didn't end like it normally does for him or the Gaels. They had their streak of 10 straight Nevada state championships thwarted by Liberty (Henderson)
The Patriots started the season 0-5 against very tough nonleague opponents and it looked one of the worst seasons since Richard Muraco took over in 2009.
Instead, Muraco never lost faith, put Daniel Britt
at quarterback and Liberty rattled off 10 straight wins, including a 30-24 stunner over Gorman in the Desert Region championship. Gorman, a three-time national champion, had won 116 straight games against Nevada opponents. The Gaels even led 17-3 at halftime.
But Muraco never stopped believing and got his team to believe it also.
For that, Muraco is the MaxPreps Nevada Coach of the Year presented by Suddenlink by Altice.
SUDDENLINK BY ALTICE NEVADA ALL-STATEFirst teamQB — Micah Bowens, Bishop Gorman, 6-0, 195, Sr.
The Penn State-bound standout threw for 2,148 yards and 23 touchdowns against two interceptions for the 11-2 Gaels. He also rushed for 589 yards and 13 more scores.QB — Daniel Britt, Liberty, 5-10, 180, Jr.
Britt was inserted into the starting job in middle of the season and led the Patriots to a stunning state 4A championship by completing a remarkable 78 percent of his passes (126 of 160) for 1,954 yards, 23 touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 681 yards and 10 scores.
RB — Jordan Smith, Centennial (Las Vegas), 5-9, 180, Sr.
The state's second-leading rusher for the state 4A runner-up finished with 1,832 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns.
RB — Ashton Hayes, Damonte Ranch (Reno), 5-11, 180, So.
One of the top sophomore running backs in the country finished with a state best 2,356 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns for the 11-2 Mustangs. He also had 26 catches for 334 yards and two more scores.WR — Rome Odunze, Bishop Gorman, 6-3, 200, Sr.
The Washington-bound standout backed up a stellar junior season with 58 catches for 1,322 yards and 16 touchdowns in 12 games. The Gatorade State Player of the Year also averaged 22.1 yards per 11 punt returning, two going for touchdowns.WR — Aaron Holloway, Legacy (North Las Vegas), 5-11, 180, Jr.
Had a breakout junior season, leading the state in receiving yards with 1,462 to go along with 65 catches and 14 touchdowns in 11 games.
TE — Moliki Matavao, Liberty, 6-6, 240, Jr.
The state's top junior recruit, according to 247Sports, and preseason All-State selection didn't disappoint with 41 catches for 595 yards and six touchdowns for the state champions.
OL — Joseph Wright, Bishop Manogue (Reno), 6-7, 310, Sr.
The state's No. 4 senior recruit overall, led the Miners to a 9-4 season and paved the way to 429 yards per game, including 265 on the ground. He decommitted from USC last week.OL — Hayden Engel, Bishop Gorman, 6-5, 275, Sr.
The state's No. 14 senior recruit overall, Engel led an offense that averaged 47 points and 395 yards per game. He has offers from Cornell and Utah State.
OL — Tiaoalii Savea, Desert Pines (Las Vegas), 6-5, 250, Jr.
Ranked the state's No. 2 junior overall, Savea helped the Jaguars to an 11-1 record and No. 3 rating in the state. He paved the way for team that averaged 42 points per game.
OL — Jared Eckhart-Davis, Spring Valley (Las Vegas), 6-5, 315, Sr.
The Grizzlies' top returning player was a first-team tackle on last year's All-Southwest League team.
OL — Alofaletauia Maluia, Liberty, 6-2, 250, Sr.
Ranked by the Southern Nevada Coaches Association as one of the top players to watch in 2019, Maluia earned All-Southeast League first team honors as a junior.
AP — Darnell Washington, Desert Pines, 6-7, 261, Sr.
Ranked as the top athlete in the country, Washington is a three-sport standout, winning a state championship in basketball and a shot put championship in track and field. He led the Jaguars to 11 straight wins before losing to state runner-up Centennial.
Not only did the talented quarterback lead the state in passing yards (3,162) and throw for 24 touchdowns in 11 games, but Olaes also rushed for 1,152 yards and 14 more scores. He also was the team's punter and seven times pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line.
K — Dillon Fedor, Liberty, 5-11, 168, Sr.
Booted 10 field goals in 12 attempts for the state 4A champs, with a long of 52 yards. He also drilled 52-of-53 PATs and had 49 touchbacks in 81 kickoffs.
The state's No. 11 ranked senior overall was as good as advertised with 13 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries and 46 tackles for 11-1 Jaguars.
DL — Tofa Wilson, Foothill (Henderson), 6-1, 200, Sr.
Led the state with 17 sacks to go along with a remarkable 107 tackles, 35 for losses for the 7-5 Falcons. He had five sacks in a 29-15 win over Coronado.
DL — Gabriel Lopez, Desert Pines, 6-3, 227, Sr.
The Northeast League defensive MVP as a junior, Lopez backed up 13-sack season with 15 as a senior with 10 quarterback hurries in only eight games. He's headed to Washington State.DL — Zane Maningo, Green Valley (Henderson), 6-5, 255, Sr.
The third-year starter was second in the state in sacks with 16.5 to go along with 70 tackles and three pass deflections for 7-5 Gators. He had three sacks against state 4A champion Liberty.LB — Hunter Kaupiko, Faith Lutheran (Las Vegas), 6-1, 230, Sr.
Wrapped up stellar four-year varsity career with 90 tackles, 11.5 for loss including 6.5 sacks, two interceptions and three caused fumbles. For his career, the Fresno State-commit had 386 tackles and 25 sacks.LB — Bryan Certain, Bishop Gorman, 5-10, 205, Sr.
A first team All-Southwest pick as a junior and senior, Certain led the Gaels in tackles for a second straight year with 76. The senior co-captain was a three-year varsity player.LB — Zephaniah Maea, Liberty, 6-1, 230, Jr.
A first team selection on the All-Southeast League team two years in a row, Mea ranks as the No. 5 player in the Class of 2021 by 247Sports. He led the state 4A champs in tackles with 83.LB — Christian Jamison, Damonte Ranch, 6-2, 180, Sr.
Was a tackling machine for the 11-2 Mustangs, with a state-best 188 tackles, 27 for loss, including eight sacks. Jamison had double-digit tackles in every game, including a high of 23 during a 28-12 win over Reed.DB — Lehi Tala Ausage, Liberty, 6-2, 175, Sr.
Had nine interceptions for the state 4A champions, including three during a 49-8 win over Coronado. He had two interceptions in three other games and finished with 34 tackles and 12 pass deflections.DB — Jaden Hicks, Bishop Gorman, 6-2, 192, Jr.
Had a team-high seven interceptions to go along with 27 tackles and 10 pass deflections for the second-ranked Gaels. Hicks returned three of those picks for touchdowns, including two against Durango.DB — Ronaven Mokiao, Centennial, 6-0, 192, Sr.
Tied for the state lead with nine interceptions for the state 4A runner-ups, including two he returned for touchdowns. Mokiao also contributed 40 tackles and had six pass deflections.DB — Lincoln Tuioti-Mariner, Bishop Gorman, 6-1, 203, Sr.
A first team All-Southwest League pick the last two seasons, Tuioti-Mariner had three interceptions, 30 tackles and seven pass deflections for the second-ranked Gaels (11-2).AP — Zyrus Fiaseu, Liberty, 6-1, 200, Jr.
The seventh-ranked junior recruit in the state, Fiaseu backed it up with 896 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime to dethrone Bishop Gorman. He also had 29 tackles and three interceptions from his strong safety spot.AP — Brock Richardson, Churchill County (Fallon), 5-8, 170, Sr.
The three-sport standout for the 10-2 Greenwave rushed 64 times for 730 yards (11.4 average) and 13 touchdowns, caught 49 passes for 888 yards and 10 more scores and added 61 tackles and a pick 6 on defense.
Second teamQB — Colton Tenney, Centennial, 5-10, 170, Jr.
Threw for 2,557 yards and 27 touchdowns for the state 4A runner-up. Also rushed for three scores.
QB — Ja'Shawn Scroggins, Las Vegas, 6-2, 170, Jr.
For the 9-2 Wildcats, Scroggins tied for the state lead with 31 touchdown passes in just eight games, including a 428-yard, six-TD, no-interception performance in 42-35 win over Legacy. He threw for 264.4 yards per game.RB — Christian Vaughn, Desert Oasis (Las Vegas), 5-10, 200, Sr.
Vaughn backed up stellar junior season with equally strong senior season with 1,641 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns, earning first team All-Southwest League for second straight year.
RB — Aginae Cunningham, Silverado (Las Vegas), 5-8, 170, Jr.
Rushed 182 times for 1,724 yards (9.5 average) and 20 touchdowns for the 7-3 Skyhawks. He also contributed six two-point conversions.
WR — Germie Bernard, Liberty, 6-2, 185, So.
Led state 4A champions with 50 catches for 897 yards (17.9 average) and 14 touchdowns. Had his best game in 38-0 win over Foothill with five catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
WR — Tommy McCormick, Churchill County, 6-1, 185, Sr.
Had 55 catches for 913 yards (16.6 average) and 14 touchdowns, which tied for second in the state. He led the Greenwave to a 10-2 season.WR — Trey Hummel, Spanish Springs (Sparks), 6-3, 175, Sr.
Hummel hauled in 54 passes for 948 yards and 13 touchdowns for the 8-4 Cougars, including 10 catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns in a 32-28 win over Reed.
OL — Brandon Cuevas, Desert Oasis, 6-4, 270, Sr.
Cuevas paved the way to an offense that averaged just under 400 yards per game, evenly dispersed between the run and pass. The team's left tackle was also the team's punter and defensive end.OL — Riley Danielson, Coronado (Henderson), 6-2, 335, Sr.
Dominating guard for the Cougars. The returning first-team All-Southeast League standout was a force on both sides of the ball, but particularly on the offensive end.
OL — Jack Pancheri, Foothill, 6-4, 255, Sr.
After earning second team All-Southeast League honors last year, Pancheri earned first team in 2019 with great combination of strength and agility. He helped the Falcons to a 7-5 mark.OL — Garrett Vea, Liberty, 6-2, 305, Sr.
Vea joined A.J. Maluia to give the Patriots one of the best offensive lines in the state. Vea earned second team all-league honors last year and this season played both guard and defensive tackle, leading the state 4A champions.
OL — Joe Brown, Desert Pines, 6-3, 320, Sr.
One of the biggest offensive linemen in Nevada, Brown anchored the line for the 11-1 Jaguars after earning second team all-league honors last year.AP — Gerick Robinson, Centennial, 5-10, 160, Sr.
Most of his damage was as a receiver, where he caught 59 passes for 968 yards and nine touchdowns. But Robinson also was a dangerous kicker returner and had 12 tackles and five tackles as a nickel back.K — Dennis Perez, Chaparral (Las Vegas), 5-11, 160, Sr.
Tied for the state lead with 10 field goals, including a 43-yarder, to go along with 19 PATs. More than half of Perez' kickoffs went for touchbacks and he was the team's punter.
DL — Connor Fryar, Bishop Gorman, 6-0, 230, Sr.
Senior co-captain finished out stellar season with seven sacks and 43 tackles, 12.5 went for losses. He's headed to Northern Arizona.
DL — Braezhon Ross, Desert Pines, 6-1, 266, Jr.
The No. 3 junior recruit in the state backed up the ranking with seven sacks and 28 solo tackles for the 11-1 Jaguars.DL — Tai Tuinei, Arbor View (Las Vegas), 6-3, 260, Sr.
A two-time first team All-Northwest League selection, Tuinei had 38 tackles and four sacks. He's committed to play at UNLV.
DL — Finn Loper, Truckee, 6-1, 195, Jr.
In 11 games, had 89 tackles and 11.5 sacks for the 7-4 Wolverines. The second-year starter also caused four fumbles and recovered two.
LB — Vai Kaho, Bishop Manogue, 6-1, 209, Sr.
Ranked the No. 6 player in the state, the Colorado-bound backer had 53 tackles, four sacks and one interception, fumble recovery and caused fumble each.
LB — Cyrus Moss, Bishop Gorman, 6-4, 210, So.
Could end up being best LB school has ever produced. Had 48 tackles, 3.5 sacks, four hurries and three pass deflections.LB — Iopu Tauili'ili, Chaparral, 6-4, 205, Sr.
The team's quarterback and leading rusher last year, Tauili'ili was also one of the state's top returning linebackers and the No. 10 senior ranked in the state. He had 60 tackles, two interceptions and two sacks in 2019.LB — Carson Smith, Damonte Ranch, 6-0, 195
Piled up 147 tackles, third most in the state for the 11-2 Mustangs, with 14 for losses, including eight sacks. He had a whopping 25 tackles in a 28-12 win over Reed.
DB — Donte Bowers Jr., Liberty, 5-10, 170, Jr.
One of the top defensive back recruits in Nevada, Bowers had one interceptions but 16 pass deflections for the state 4A champions. DB — Tyler Estabrook, Truckee, 5-8, 165, Sr.
A Class 3A All-State selection last season, Estabrook was even better as a senior, 44 tackles, two interceptions, four pass deflections, while also rushing for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns, and averaging 21.8 yards per catch.DB — Ethan Kulpin, Damonte Ranch, 6-2, 187, Jr.
One of the state's best all-around athletes, Kulpin showed his toughness with 119 tackles from his safety spot with four interceptions and three pass deflections. As team's QB, he accounted for more than 2,000 yards and 22 TDs.
DB — RJ Edwards, Coronado, 6-1, 185, Sr.
The free safety was in on 40 solo tackles and 63 assists for 103, to go along with two interceptions, two sacks and a whopping 19 pass deflections.
AP — Koby Shramek, Yerington, 6-3, 190, Sr.
He did it all for the state 2A champion Lions (11-1). As an OL, led the team with eight pancake blocks, was second in tackles (100), first in sacks (8.5) and tackles for loss (17), caused fumbles (six), and kicked off, punted and made four field goals and 35 extra points. AP — Drue Worthen, Reno, 5-10, 170, Sr.
A three-sport standout, Worthen showed his vast versatility also out on the field with 1,512 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, to go with 47 tackles and seven interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.AP — Jackson LaDuke, Spanish Springs, 6-3, 220, Sr.
LaDuke made the All-State first team and was an All-Northern Region selection after posting 101 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and seven sacks as a junior. He focused more on offense in 2019, but still managed 59 tackles and four sacks. He'll play at Oregon next year.