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December 20, 2014

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Del Sol rallies without top rusher to win Southeast title

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Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

The Del Sol High football team celebrates winning the Henderson-based Southeast Division championship with a 46-26 victory against Coronado Friday night at Del Sol. The winner annually receives the Henderson City Championship trophy.

Del Sol vs. Coronado

This second-quarter incident led to Del Sol coach Preston Goroff benching two players from the remainder of the game Friday night in the Dragons 46-26 victory against Coronado to capture the Southeast Division title. Launch slideshow »

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Running back Dezerick Reed has been the Del Sol High football team’s No. 1 option offensively every game this fall.

But in one of the Dragons’ most important games of the season on Friday night, they had to rally without their top performer. Reed was benched after drawing a personal foul on a late hit in the second quarter against a player from visiting Coronado.

Reed had rushed for two touchdowns in the game’s initial 14 minutes. But without the 5-foot-9, 200-pound senior on the field, a slim Del Sol lead quickly turned into a seven-point deficit with 1:50 to play in the first half.

Del Sol quickly adjusted, however, and scored 26 unanswered points in a 46-26 victory to capture the Southeast Division title and home field advantage as the No. 1 seed for next week’s Sunrise Regional playoffs.

“Football is a team sport and even though we were missing a couple of key guys, they held it together well,” Goroff said. “We have been preaching (to play as a team) all year.”

Goroff realizes his team was lucky to escape with a win and understands a repeat performance next week in the Sunrise Regional quarterfinals could equal disaster. The Dragons host Valley, the Northeast Division’s No. 4 seed, at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13.

The Dragons also lost two more players to personal fouls against Coronado — one Goroff benched and another was ejected.

Reed, who entered with 1,571 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, finished with 102 yards on 18 carries. The Del Sol offense, with sophomore backup Chris Marshall replacing Reed, needed a few plays to get organized.

Then, they showed a balance that will make Del Sol (9-1) that much more dangerous in the postseason.

Junior quarterback Troy Miller connected with Evan Weinstock for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds left before halftime to cut the Dragons’ deficit to 20-19.

Miller and Weinstock hooked up again, this time on a 39-yard scoring strike, to give the Dragons a 25-20 lead at the 8:45 mark of the third quarter.

Del Sol would never trail again in winning its first league title since 2006.

“Evan is my guy. He always seems to get open,” Miller said.

Goroff was stern in his speech at halftime, stressing to his players that they aren’t a one-man team.

It's the same message he had last spring when the Dragons gathered for offseason workouts. They lost virtually every major contributor — running back Derek Eamon, linebacker Jon Kirshbaum and lineman Alex Klorman — to graduation and weren’t expected to be competitive.

Reed wasn’t even penciled in as the starter. But after Ernest Hall transferred to Palo Verde, Reed and others have made the most of their opportunity.

Now, they — a team, not one player — are three wins away from playing in the large-school state championship game. Del Sol, which has lost to Las Vegas High in the Sunrise Regional title game the last three years, is optimistic this postseason will be different.

“We have a lot of guys who want to play football and enjoy being out here,” Weinstock said.

Marshall closed the scoring for Del Sol with two touchdowns, runs of 1 and 23 yards. Also, linebacker Curt Pfeiffer returned a fumble 31-yards for a touchdown.

Coronado (3-6) senior quarterback Ryan Newton had a touchdown run and three touchdown passes, including hooking up with Cody Mucinofor a 70-yard score late in the first half to give Coronado a 20-13 lead.

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