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September 22, 2014

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Del Sol rallies without top rusher to win Sunrise title

Sophomore Marshall leads Dragons to one-point victory against Basic

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Justin M. Bowen

Members of the Del Sol High defense react after they forced Basic quarterback Tyler Dobbins to fumble with less than a minute to play in the Sunrise Regional championship game.

Del Sol vs. Basic

Del Sol High's Chris Marshall breaks through the Basic defensive line Saturday during the Sunrise Regional championship game. Del Sol won 20-19. Launch slideshow »
Prep Sports Now

It's down to the final four

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Ray Brewer and Steve Silver break down this weekend's state semifinal match-ups between Bishop Gorman/Reed and Del Sol/Basic.

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The Del Sol High football team easily could have thrown in the towel and called it a season.

The Dragons trailed visiting Basic by 12 points at halftime Saturday afternoon in the Sunrise Regional championship game and their chances of mounting a comeback appeared slim with star running back Dezerick Reed on the sidelines nursing an injured ankle.

Del Sol had already won the Southeast Division title and beat nemesis Las Vegas High this fall, making the a season a success no matter what transpired in the second half.

But the players got together before exiting the locker room at halftime and made a pact — they were going to continue the season.

Sophomore Chris Marshall filled in admirably for Reed, scoring on a 1-yard run midway through the third quarter, and the Del Sol defense held Basic scoreless in the second half of a 20-19 victory for the regional title.

The game also served as the state semifinals, meaning Del Sol (12-1) advances to next Saturday’s state championship game against Bishop Gorman at Sam Boyd Stadium.

“We didn’t want to turn in our pads yet,” said senior wide receiver Ashton Cacho, whose 27-yard touchdown reception from junior quarterback Troy Miller with 7:31 to play was the game winner. “We weren’t ready to lose.”

Cacho’s touchdown evened the game at 19 and kicker Jose Dominquez booted the extra point for the decisive point.

The win was Del Sol’s first in the regional finals after losing to Las Vegas in the title game the last three years. Last year, they gave up three touchdowns in the five minutes for a heart-breaking loss.

“That whole second half was a whirlwind of emotions, especially after what had happened the last few years,” Del Sol coach Preston Goroff said. “This is a tough and gritty group.”

Goroff, the only coach in the school’s six-year history, employs a coaching strategy predicated on running the football.

So, what happens when your all-everything back is knocked out just two minutes into the game?

For the Dragons, it was turning their season over to Marshall, a 5-foot-4, 150-pound sophomore who spent most of the season running the scout team offense in practice.

Marshall rushed for 124 yards on 30 carries, including long runs of 17, 24 and 11 yards in the first half to help open passing lanes for Miller.

“Chris would be a starter on any other team in town,” Goroff said.

Miller and Cacho hooked up for a 38-yard scoring strike in the second quarter to give Del Sol a brief 7-6 lead.

Basic would score the next two touchdowns to lead 19-7 at halftime. Edward Villaros scored on a 15-yard touchdown run and Tyler Dobbins threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Seth Campbell.

With momentum clearly on Basic’s side, Del Sol appeared headed to another championship game loss.

But Marshall and Miller brought the Dragons back.

On their first possession of the second half, Miller found senior Evan Weinstock for a pair of first-down conversions on fourth-down plays and Marshall plunged in for 1-yard out to trim the deficit to 19-13.

The scoring drive, one without their star Reed, brought confidence.

“It was real hard sitting on the sideline when my team needed me,” said Reed, who entered with 1,885 yards rushing and gained 34 yards on four carries before severely spraining his right ankle two minutes into the game.

“But Chris is an elite player. He knows how to handle the pressure. I told him to play hard and that I would be there to support him.”

The Del Sol defense did the rest, bending but not breaking in the final six minutes.

Basic’s kicker narrowly missed a field goal with roughly three minutes to play, but the Wolves forced Del Sol to punt and got the ball around midfield with a little more than two minutes left.

Del Sol’s Keith Hill forced Dobbins to fumble around midfield with less than a minute to play to secure the win. It was Basic’s second loss of the season — both coming to Del Sol, by a combined three points.

“We are trying to build a program, and this is what good programs do,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said. “They play in these types of games every year.”

Del Sol will be looking to become the first team from the Henderson area to win a state title since Basic in 1960. Undefeated Gorman and its lineup of Division-I athletes make Del Sol the clear underdog.

Just don’t expect the Dragons to rollover.

“It’s like Villanova-Georgetown or David vs. Goliath,” Goroff said. “I’m sure they are going to be favored by 50 points, but our plan is to strap it up and give them a game.”

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