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Blog: Tucson’s Salpointe Catholic handles Liberty in Sollenberger Classic

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Salpointe wide receiver Cameron Denson gets past Liberty safety Bryan Roland during their Sollenberger Classic game at Bishop Gorman Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013.

Updated Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 | 10:11 p.m.

Sollenberger Classic - Liberty vs. Salpointe

Salpointe wide receiver Cameron Denson gets past Liberty safety Bryan Roland during their Sollenberger Classic game at Bishop Gorman Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Sollenberger Classic - Bishop Gorman vs. Mountain Pointe

Mountain Pointe running back Wesley Payne stretches for yards while being tackled by Bishop Gorman's Ryan Garrett during their Sollenberger Classic game at Bishop Gorman Friday, Aug. 13, 2013. Launch slideshow »

The Liberty High football team didn't back down, even when the outcome was certain.

Trailing by six touchdowns at halftime Saturday against Salpointe Catholic of Tucson in the Sollenberger Classic, Liberty made small improvements in the second half in an otherwise disappointing opener.

While they wound up losing 48-7, Liberty managed to move the ball late in the game to score a touchdown.

Brenan Adams scored on a short touchdown run with about seven minutes remaining for the lone Liberty points.

It was better than the first half when Liberty surrendered 42 points, including four passing touchdowns in the first quarter.

Check back later for more, including photos.

•••

The Liberty High football team's starting lineup included a heavy dose of freshmen and sophomores for the season opener against Tucson's Salpointe Catholic.

Liberty is showing its inexperience and trails 42-0 at the half. They are struggling to move the ball on offense, getting pushed around on the line and can't guard the pass.

The second half should be played under the mercy rule of a running clock.

Liberty coach Rich Muraco is confident his younger players will develop into winners.

•••

The Liberty High football team is struggling in its season opener against Salpointe Catholic of Tucson in the Sollenberger Classic at Gorman tonight.

The Patriots surrendered four touchdown passes in the first quarter to trail 28-0 after the initial 12 minutes. Salpointe has more than 200 yards passing, including a pair of long touchdown passes on its first two possessions.

Liberty had one drive of note, but it stalled inside the Salpointe 10 and Liberty's short field goal attempt was blocked.

•••

Nevada teams have started slow in the Sollenberger Classic.

Friday, Bishop Gorman surrendered a 49-yard touchdown run to Mountain Pointe on its first defensive play.

Today, Liberty gave up a 70-yard touchdown on the second play of the game against Salpointe Catholic of Tucson. Salpointe's Kaelin Teboskie had the score.

Liberty drove the ball down the field on its first possession, but its drive stalled inside the 10. Austin Fitzgerald's 20-yard field goal attempt was blocked.

Then, two players later, Salpointe Catholic went deep for another passing touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 7:12 left in the first.

We'll keep everyone posted as the game progresses.

•••

The Liberty High Patriotswill be playing for more than themselves tonight against Tucson’s Salpointe Catholic in the second day of the Sollenberger Classic at Bishop Gorman.

They’ll be playing to represent all of Nevada high school football.

In the first Sollenberger Classic game Friday — the annual kickoff to the season featuring schools from Nevada against Arizona — Las Vegas power Bishop Gorman was defeated by Mountain Pointe of the Phoenix area.

And a few blocks over in Summerlin, Faith Lutheran lost by four touchdowns to Parker Lutheran of Colorado.

That made Las Vegas teams 0-2 against out-of-the-area competition, putting the spotlight on Liberty tonight to break into the win column. The area’s reputation as a quality high school football town has grown over the past decade, including Gorman becoming nationally recognized.

Coaches have stressed the importance of continuing that trend, especially with programs such as Liberty — the hope is to prove strong football in Las Vegas isn’t just played by Gorman.

Here’s the history:

Las Vegas went from sending one or two players each year to Division I football about a decade ago, to sending double-digit players each year to schools such as Oregon and Notre Dame in past seasons. And while Gorman has been the leader, other teams also regularly send players to major college programs.

Success on a national stage will help enhance the area’s image. It’s that simple.

Games are televised (Liberty plays tonight on Fox Sports Arizona) and covered my major recruiting websites, bringing invaluable exposure to the area.

Liberty has lost its season opener the past three seasons, then gone undefeated the rest of the way in winning the Sunrise Region. It’s rise to a local power was partially credited to the play of quarterback Kai Nacua and running back Niko Kapeli, but both graduated last year leaving a major void in the Patriots offense.

A new group of players, mostly young, talented and athletic sophomores, are set to take over. It should be an interesting debut on a big-time stage.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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