Las Vegas Sun

November 23, 2014

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high school football:

Faith Lutheran advances to state championship game for first time in school history

The Crusaders down Lowry in the state semifinals, advance to face Churchill County for Division I-A title

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Faith Lutheran football players, from left, Danny Otuwa, Hayden Solis, Keenan Smith and Vinny DeGeorge on July 30, 2013.

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Humbled by the vitriol spawned from last week's podcast, Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer try their best to make this edition a happy one. They touch on all the teams that are still alive in the hunt for a state championship while specifically looking back at wins last week from Palo Verde and Canyon Springs.

The Faith Lutheran High football team forced three turnovers today against visiting Lowry High of Northern Nevada in the Division I-A state semifinals, including an interception by Vinny DeGeorge with 24 seconds remaining to seal the Crusaders’ 16-8 victory and give them a spot in next week’s state championship game.

Trent Dolby kicked three field goals for Faith Lutheran and Keenan Smith had a 1-yard touchdown run, helping the Crusaders win their 11th straight game and advance to the state finals for the first time in the school’s 34-year history.

First-year coach Vernon Fox has been telling his players since this summer that they had a chance to make a deep playoff run. His confidence quickly become contagious with the players, especially with a winning streak dating back to early September fueling their charge.

“If you start getting in the mode of winning, you come out with a different attitude,” he said.

Dolby had field goals of 28 and 26 yards in the first half to give Faith Lutheran an early 6-0 lead. But Lowry responded by scoring its lone touchdown of the game, adding the 2-point conversion for an 8-6 lead in the second quarter.

Faith Lutheran wasted little time answering. Smith’s touchdown gave them the lead for good and the Crusaders’ defense was stingy all game in preserving the lead.

Quarterback Jacob Deaville rushed for 51 yards on nine carries for Faith Lutheran, and completed 15 of 23 passes for 173 yards. Mark Rubalcaba caught six passes for 52 yards and DeGeorge had three grabs for 47 yards.

Dolby, who added a 27-yard field goal in the second half to extend Faith Lutheran’s 13-8 halftime lead, added three catches for 35 yards. Fabian Lagudi had a solid game running the ball, rushing for 50 yards on nine carries.

Next week, Faith Lutheran will play at Churchill County for the Division I-A state championship. Traveling up North has been a losing proposition for most Las Vegas area teams — everything from dealing with a colder climate to handling the travel is tough to overcome.

“The one thing I won’t allow is using that as an excuse,” Fox said.

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

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