First published in by Mike Henle

In the early-1940s, the nation was embroiled in World War II; Henderson was established in 1941, and Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941.

Las Vegas was starting its growth as evidenced by the creation of the El Rancho in what was known as “the suburbs” of the valley; and without realizing it, a group of young teenagers were about to put Southern Nevada on the map with a Las Vegas High School football team that would become known as “The Dream Team of 1944.”

Memorable public relations in Las Vegas are usually planned out well in advance with everything from showgirls to slot machines and the rest. However, without realizing their impact, about 36 young men coached by Harvey Stanford orchestrated a PR campaign so strong that it was recognized by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

During an era when the nation was dominated by war, the Wildcats had their own battleground, one that was a high school football field on Seventh Street in downtown Las Vegas.

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