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August 28, 2014

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Wadsworth puts on show in Silverado’s win over Desert Pines

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Amanda Finnegan

The Skyhawks listen to a talk from head coach Andy Ostolaza after their first win of the season on Friday night. Silverado shut out Desert Pines, 28-0.

Desert Pines at Silverado

The Silverado Skyhawks get pumped up before heading to the field for their first game of the season against the Desert Pines Jaguars. Launch slideshow »

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Silverado High’s football team just couldn’t catch a break in the first 23 minutes and 57 seconds of its season-opening game against Desert Pines Friday night at SHS.

The Skyhawks had a punt return for a touchdown called back on a penalty, a field goal negated by another flag and a handful of near game-changing plays go in the opposite direction.

But with two-and-a-half seconds left in the first half, lineman Keenan Graham changed Silverado’s luck when his big 230-pound frame fell on running back Terran Madu-Jules’ fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.

“Up to that point we were having trouble. That was such a big, key play that really got us going,” said Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza, whose team never looked back as it blanked the Jaguars, 28-0. “Our depth wore them down a little as the game went on and we were able to spring some big plays.”

The Skyhawks did just that, thanks to a swarming defense that forced Desert Pines quarterback Dalton Leilua into tossing three second-half picks.

Two of those interceptions were made by senior Michael Wadsworth, who would have scored on the second one had he not bumped helmets with a fellow Skyhawk 3 yards outside the end zone.

“Yeah I should have cut once more,” said a smiling Wadsworth.

Actually it didn’t matter, because Madu-Jules barreled in for SHS’s third touchdown on the next play. And Wadsworth, Ostolaza said, had already done enough to be “worth his weight in gold.”

“Keenan Graham is the prototype size for college, but Michael Wadsworth is the best football player we have overall,” said Ostolaza, whose squad is trying to repeat as Southeast Division champions. “When we can ask him to come out and lock up their best receiver, to return kicks and then use him on offense — there’s no way getting around what all he can do for us.”

Indeed, the 6-foot-1, 197-pound senior sparked the Skyhawks early and often.

Wadsworth had a 48-yard punt return for a score called back on a penalty in the first quarter. He recorded a pair of 20-yard receptions on Silverado’s scoring drive. The senior busted the game open with a 47-yard touchdown romp in the third quarter and quickly closed the slightest hint of a Desert Pines comeback when he picked off a pass on the first play of the fourth quarter in the Jaguars’ only threatening drive of the night.

"It took a little while for us to get going, but once we had the momentum things really started to click,” Wadsworth said. “Our defense was stellar tonight and we’ll work on a lot of things offensively to get ready for next week.”

Silverado hosts Mojave next Friday and Desert Pines coach Paul Bennett warned that the Rattlers will be in for a real challenge.

“We wore down tonight, but that’s an incredible defense they have,” Bennett said of Silverado. “They’re really fast, too. I think defensively we could play with their offense, but our offense has to make plays.

“We saw where we wanted to exploit them. But it was one of those things where it had to be a perfect pass, a perfect rout. And the ball just wasn’t rolling our way.”

Andy Samuelson is a sports writer/editor for the Las Vegas Sun. He can be reached at [email protected] or 702-948-7837.

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