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July 29, 2014

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Foothill takes back Victory Bell, stays undefeated with win at Silverado

Practice pays dividends for Falcons, as players say they were ready for key situations

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Steve Marcus

Foothill High School players take turns ringing the “Victory Bell” after taking the rivalry trophy from Silverado High School after a game at Silverado Friday, October 8, 2010. Foothill won the game 13-7. The winner gets to keep the bell for a year.

Foothill vs. Silverado

Foothill High School's Miles Killebrew (28) carries the ball during a game at Silverado Friday, October 8, 2010. Foothill won the game 13-7. Launch slideshow »
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Gorman, Palo Verde flex muscles; we need a 3A league

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The scramble drill is a staple of every Foothill High football practice.

It challenges senior quarterback Parker Riggin to extend plays when he’s facing pressure and finding no open receivers. The drill explains the game-winning touchdown in the 13-7 Foothill (7-0) victory against host Silverado (3-3) Friday night.

With seven minutes to go and the ball at the 20-yard line, a couple Foothill receivers ran the wrong routes and a Silverado rusher nearly sacked Riggin. But he escaped by jetting to the sideline and throwing a laser to Connor Waitkus in the end zone.

Waitkus extended his arms to make the catch while somehow keeping both of his feet in-bounds for the touchdown.

“We always work on that stuff, but it was still an amazing catch,” Riggin said. “I didn’t know if he was going to make it.”

The Foothill sideline erupted in celebration, as it was the biggest play of the team’s season — for four minutes at least. The Falcons defense presented its own nominee for that honor with three minutes left in the game.

Behind the power running of Izaiah Thurmon, Silverado answered the touchdown by driving to Foothill’s five-yard line. The Falcons stuffed two rushes up the middle to open the goal-line sequence.

On third down, quarterback Savon Moniz dropped back to pass only to find Foothill senior Keegan Buck right in his face. Buck took down Moniz for a 24-yard sack and the Skyhawks were unable to complete a pass on fourth down, ensuring Foothill would hold on and take back the Victory Bell.

“They did a play-action rollout, and it’s my job to follow him and go get him,” Buck said. “In the first quarter, I missed him twice, but this time I made the play. We work on that defensive stand every day in practice.”

Sounds like Foothill coach Marty Redmond knows how to run a practice. One thing that can’t be taught, however, is the natural quarterbacking ability shown by Riggin.

With star running back Connor Afoa out with a leg injury, even more of the offensive onus fell on Riggin against Silverado. He dealt with it fine, going 20-for-34 for 231 yards.

He completed passes to nine different receivers. His favorite targets were senior Kyle Keplinger, who caught five passes for 58 yards, and senior Miles Killebrew, who caught four passes for 78 yards.

The Foothill defense also had to adjust without Afoa, who made the Preseason All-Sun Team as a linebacker.

“Everyone talks about how good Foothill’s offense is, but their defense is really outstanding,” Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza said. “I thought we had the momentum, but it just didn’t go our way.”

Buck made tackles all night along with Dominic LaRocco and Ryan Call. Foothill held Moniz to 126 yards on 6-for-20 passing.

Moniz did complete a picturesque, 73-yard touchdown pass to Ladale Jackson in the third quarter for Silverado’s only play that went for more than 20 yards.

Jackson beat the Falcons cornerback on the play. It was one of a few gaffes Redmond mentioned after the game, which will no doubt be addressed at practice next week.

“Everything went wrong for us tonight,” Redmond said. “We turned the ball over and had a bunch of penalties. It was just a game that felt like we weren’t meant to win, but our defense was tough as nails and pulled us through at the end.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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