Friday, Oct. 1, 2010 | 11:52 p.m.
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Palo Verde hosts Cheyenne in a Thursday night game between two traditional Northwest powers. The Panthers have looked nearly invincible while starting the season 5-0, but could the Desert Shields give them a scare in this rivalry game?
Foothill quarterback Parker Riggin completed 19 of 25 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown.
“We played great as a team,” Riggin said. “The offensive line did really well blocking for us, and wide receivers made plays for us, so that really helped us out.”
Falcons wide receiver Kyle Keplinger had eight receptions for 109 yards and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.
Keplinger’s big kick return came just moments after Del Sol had cut the game to 14-10 following a 74-yard Dwayne Kirkland touchdown run.
“That was a huge momentum swing,” said Foothill coach Marty Redmond. “We felt like they were getting back into the game and for him to bust that one was a huge play for us. It kind of burst their bubble and got the momentum back on our side and let us coast from there.”
Foothill senior running back Connor Afoa rushed for two touchdowns but left with an injured knee in the third quarter. The severity of Afoa’s injury is unknown, but he was seen with crutches and ice on his knee on the sidelines.
Falcons senior running back Miles Killebrew stepped in for Afoa and flourished. Killebrew gained 122 yards on 13 carries, including a 53-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to give Foothill a 35-10 lead.
“He’s a good athlete,” Redmond said. “The only reason he doesn’t play a lot of running back is because we have a real good guy in there. He did a great job breaking tackles. That was a heck of a run. They stunted and he made a great cut, and then he broke a tackle on the sideline and brought it into the end zone.”
Foothill’s defense continued its dominance as the Dragons dropped to 2-4 on the season. The Falcons have only surrendered 10 points in their last three games, including two shutouts the previous two weeks.
“They’re tough,” Redmond said of his defense. “They played really well. Del Sol threw a lot of sets at us tonight and those guys did a great job of playing. We got some speed on defense, and they are flying around hitting people.”
Foothill opened up the game right before halftime as Riggin connected with junior wide receiver Connor Waitkus for a 17-yard touchdown with less than a minute to go before halftime.
Waitkus’ touchdown came moments after Del Sol running back Chris Marshall lost a fumble at his own 44-yard line. Riggin’s touchdown pass gave the Falcons a 28-10 halftime lead, and Foothill never looked back.
“They played cover two,” Riggin said. “We didn’t want to get Kyle killed on a slant, so we had Connor go straight to the end zone, and he made a great catch for us.”
Following the game, Redmond discussed what it feels like to remain unbeaten on the season.
“Despite what the papers talk about, that’s no cupcake team over there that we just beat,” he said. “That’s a very good football team, and I don’t know who the next Pop Warner team is we play, but that was a heck of a team we played tonight and we’re happy that we got out of here with a win.”