Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 | 2 a.m.
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Prep Sports Now returns from hibernation just in time for football season. Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer go through every league and discuss every team in town, giving predictions along and players to watch along the way.
Foothill High football coach Marty Redmond refuses to use injuries as an excuse for his team’s out-of-character bad season last year.
Foothill, which is always in contention for the Southeast League crown, lost its top player — a Division I committed linebacker and wide receiver — for the season at the end of August in starting an unfortunate string of injuries. In total, all of the Falcons’ starting linebackers missed games, and by the final three weeks of the season, their Division-I prospect at quarterback was shut down with a leg injury.
The end result was a 3-7 overall record. Still, in what was considered a bad season, they made the playoffs as the last seed.
“I’m never going to use injuries as an excuse, but we were banged up and we didn’t have much depth,” Redmond said.
A new season starts today, bringing a fresh slate — and, more important, healthy players.
Quarterback Drew Doxtator returns fully healthy under center for his third season as the Foothill starter. He passed for 1,998 yards last year with 17 touchdowns in six games, including a three-game stretch where he passed for more than 450 yards in each game with 14 touchdowns.
“We know what we are going to get from him,” Redmond said. “He understands our offense pretty well. He can spread the ball around.”
Doxtator’s main target will be senior Bryce Broadwell (6-foot-1, 215 pounds), who caught 33 passes in 2012 for 440 yards. David Persi, who caught three touchdowns last season, also returns at wide receiver.
At running back, junior Bobby Merritt (5-foot-9, 175 pounds) was a late-season promotion in 2012 after shining on the junior varsity team.
Defensively, lineman Dylan Weasa (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) is one of the top defenders in the Sunrise Region, registering 51 tackles and eight sacks in 2012. He’ll team with Jake Barfield (6-foot-1, 275 pounds) to form one of the more experienced defensive fronts in the area.
The defense also includes linebacker Rocky Bellini, who averaged 6.6 tackles per game last season.
After a three-win season, it’s unrealistic to put Foothill right back in the thick of the Southeast League race. But with proven veterans such as Doxtator and Weasa, they could make some noise when it counts at the end of the season.
“We have a lot of work to do still,” Redmond said. “We have to get better every week. We have a lot to learn.”