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November 24, 2014

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high school football:

Memorable first half leads Foothill to second straight victory

Foothill’s Kyle Keplinger and Canyon Springs’ D.J. Pumphrey put on a show

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Sam Morris

Foothill High School football players Kyle Keplinger and Dylan Freiling.

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer recap the action from the first week of high school football and look ahead to another slate of games. Popular topics include this week's Arbor View vs. Palo Verde showdown and last week's stunning upset by Bonanza over Silverado.

If no one at Foothill takes the initiative to cut a highlight video after this season, the Falcons could always just throw on the film from the first half of Friday’s game against Canyon Springs.

Foothill got off to a blazing start in front of its home crowd Friday night with a series of memorable plays in the opening 24 minutes. Among them were three takeaways, a blocked punt scooped up for a touchdown by Jeremy Purdie and four scores by star receiver Kyle Keplinger.

The Falcons used the fast start to sail away with a 43-26 victory over the Pioneers.

“It was really just us being able to run our stuff and do our thing,” Keplinger said. “We came out on fire. We came out really tough.”

Keplinger took three of his first four receptions to the end zone, putting Foothill in a commanding position with the score at 27-6 a minute into the second quarter. He finished with seven catches for 72 yards.

“When he gets the ball, he does special things with it,” Foothill coach Marty Redmond said. “He’s one of the best players in town and he does it every Friday night in different ways.”

Canyon Springs seemed to weather the early trampling and mount a comeback when D.J. Pumphrey rushed for his second of four total touchdowns with 17 seconds left in the half. A two-point conversion meant the Pioneers were within two touchdowns — briefly.

Keplinger fielded the kickoff after the score at the 16-yard line, and despite Canyon Springs defenders making contact on at least three occasions, took it 84 yards for a touchdown.

“Someone had me by my back, but I just kept pumping my legs,” Keplinger said. “I kept going.”

Any football fan would have found the performances by Keplinger and Pumphrey alone worth the price of admission. Pumphrey almost single-handedly led the Pioneers to out-score the Falcons in the second half.

The junior had rushing touchdowns of 48 and 47 yards and took a pass 91 yards to the end zone. Pumphrey had 260 offensive yards.

“The dude is unreal,” Canyon Springs coach Hunkie Cooper said. “He’s one of the best kids on the West Coast. He’s in rare form right now, but I know for a fact we can have six or seven Pumphreys. But we have to execute first.”

Despite coming into the season highly touted, Canyon Springs finds itself 0-2 after clashing with two of the valley’s best programs. Cooper isn’t worried and pointed out the number of underclassmen getting their first varsity experience.

Foothill, on the other hand, is pleased with its 2-0 start against two teams that made the playoffs last season. Although the Falcons defense had some notable lapses in the second half, the unit showed its potential throughout the night.

Junior safety Tyler Morris picked off two passes, senior linebacker Dylan Freiling continually stopped plays at the line of scrimmage and senior linebacker Michael Gamboa forced a couple fumbles.

“Our starts have been great, but then we lull off,” Redmond said. “I’m a little concerned about the lulls. I think we could have put them away. We almost let them back in it at the end of the first half.”

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

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