Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Friday, Nov. 5, 2010 | 11 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 | 12:35 a.m.
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Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer break down this week's high school football playoff games, including their picks for potential upsets.
They were reminiscing on coach Hunkie Cooper’s pre-game speech — one that undoubtedly worked.
“I talked about how if all the lights came on, we could have a football team,” Cooper said. “But if one light shines, meaning one individual, then nobody else could see us and we would fail. Every light shined tonight.”
Canyon Springs put together its most complete team performance of the year to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Evans first recovered a fumble at Canyon Springs’ own 33-yard line with four minutes remaining to halt a long Silverado drive. He then made a leaping interception to end the game on Silverado’s final possession.
“He threw the ball up for grabs and I knew I had to go get it,” Evans said. “If you think about it, you’re going to drop it. But if you have confidence in yourself like I did, I just went up and got it.”
Evans added five catches for 58 yards on an offense that looked ignited from the start. Brown scored on a 38-yard toss play in the first quarter.
D’Vante Howard added a touchdown pass to Evans right before halftime to give Canyon Springs a 14-3 advantage.
“We came out flat on offense,” Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza said. “We didn’t do ourselves any favors.”
The Skyhawks awoke from their slumber when they came out of the locker room. They scored two touchdowns in six minutes, including a 43-yard run from Dominic Molina on a 4th-and-1 play, to take a 17-14 lead.
Cooper knew his team had grown up by their response. At the beginning of the year, the Pioneers may have panicked. But they stayed collected against the Skyhawks and Brown scored on his second touchdown rush of the day before the end of the third quarter.
“I’ve been pushing them so hard for so long that I think they are starting to see it,” Cooper said.
Canyon Springs will travel to Liberty next week for the Sunrise Region semifinals. The teams met twice last season including in the first round of the playoffs.
Liberty ended Canyon Springs’ season in that game, winning 16-15 when the Pioneers failed to convert a two-point conversion at the end of regulation.
“If you want to become a champion, you want to play a team like Liberty,” Cooper said. “You will really feel like you’ve earned it if you beat a team like Liberty.”