Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 | 2:05 a.m.
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Bishop Gorman and Faith Lutheran pulled off upsets against out-of-state opponents last week. Can Liberty follow suit when it travels to Southern California to challenge Crespi Saturday night? Gorman's got another televised contest, too — against Saint Louis in Hawaii. Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer break down these contests and more on this edition of Prep Sports Now.
The Foothill High football team had one of the best passing attacks in Southern Nevada last year, using a breakthrough season from quarterback Drew Doxtator in advancing to the Sunrise Regional championship game.
Although the Falcons return just six starters from last year’s team, coach Marty Redmond doesn’t expect much of a drop-off this year. In fact, he thinks this year’s team has more weapons.
“We are more athletic than we were last year,” Redmond said. “We can put a lot of speed on the field at one time. We have a lot of kids who can flat-out fly. Speed can win you a lot of games.”
Foothill has two offensive and four defensive returning starters, but several of the players new to the lineup saw significant action last year.
“The expectations are still high here,” Redmond said. “The kids coming back weren’t starters, but they got a lot of experience. They were backing up all-conference guys.”
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Doxtator passed for 2,688 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2011, throwing for more than 250 yards five times with just six interceptions and completing 58 percent of his passes.
Senior Tyler Morris, who is verbally committed to San Diego State and part of the Sun’s 29-player preseason all-city team, caught 25 passes for 515 yards and eight touchdowns last fall and should flourish in the passing attack. The 6-foot-3 Morris also will play in the secondary.
Morris had a pair of touchdown receptions in last year’s Sunrise Regional championship game, but the Falcons lost to Liberty by two points in finishing the season with a 9-3 record.
This year, two-time defending Sunrise champion Liberty is considered the team to beat. But Foothill, as it proved last year, isn’t far behind.
“You can’t overlook any of the teams in our league,” Redmond said. “Our league is going to be tough again. It will be a battle just to get into the playoffs.”
Returning to the playoffs will depend on how Foothill replaces its top offensive threat from last year. Kyle Keplinger, who caught 70 passes for more than 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2011, has graduated.
However, the Falcons return senior wide receiver and defensive back James Henderson, the Sunrise Region champ in the 400 meters last spring and a player Redmond classifies as one of the fastest in the city. Redmond also is looking for big contributions from 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior receiver Andre Gonzalez.
Junior Dylan Weasa (6-foot-1, 310 pounds), who started every game last year a sophomore, will anchor the offensive line at tackle, and senior Joe Reid (5-foot-10, 300 pounds) also returns.
Joe Wythe at defensive end will be one of the leaders on a defense with several capable — but unproven — players.
“I know it’s an old cliche, but we are going to take it one week at a time,” Redmond said. “You have to take care of yourself a little bit and get better every week.”