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September 1, 2015

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Brandon Andrews, Desert Oasis stun Durango with lopsided win

Andrews rushed for more than 250 yards as Diamondbacks roll 42-19

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer dissect this week's high school football games. It's a competitive slate of contests highlighted by the Southeast and Northeast divisions crowning champions. The boys disagree on their picks. Listen to hear who you agree with.

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Someone may need to pinch the Desert Oasis football team to let them know this isn’t a dream.

Desert Oasis won its biggest game in school history Friday night, riding its option attack to more than 400 rushing yards and a 42-19 victory against visiting Durango.

The third-year school will likely enter the state playoffs as the Southwest Division’s No. 2 seed and is assured of at least one home game.

“It’s going to be the first time a third-year school has ever had a home playoff game,” said junior running back Brandon Andrews. “We just wanted to secure that and move forward.”

Andrews was at the forefront of the Diamondbacks surreal performance against the division rival Trailblazers. He rushed for 263 yards on 38 touches, an average of seven yards per carry, and a touchdown.

It was only Andrews’ fifth game at Desert Oasis. He transferred from Silverado less than a month ago and had played hardly any offense before Friday.

But Desert Oasis unexpectedly had two running backs quit the team this week, thrusting Andrews into a starting role.

“He jumped into the spot and did a hell of a job,” Desert Oasis coach Faron Seibel said. “He never quit. He kept pounding it out and they couldn’t stop him off of the edge.”

Durango particularly struggled with a sweep play that Andrews took for multiple first downs throughout the night. Andrews broke more tackles than some players do in a season.

His physicality wore down the Trailblazers, who trailed only 21-13 heading into the fourth quarter.

“When they needed to make plays, they could make plays,” Durango coach Gary Maki said. “They were well-prepared and came out and got their game going. They’re ground-oriented and that’s ball control. That’s tough and frustrating for a defense.”

Durango didn’t have much trouble moving the ball behind 196 total yards from senior Julio Mora and scored the game’s first touchdown. But the Trailblazers lost three turnovers and 70 yards in penalties.

Desert Oasis senior Riley Smith made a handful of plays on defense, including an interception and fumble recovery to end promising Durango drives. The Trailblazers couldn’t similarly hold the Diamondbacks offense.

In addition to Andrews, sophomore Devin Fortenberry had 15 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown. Junior Trevon Barnes rushed 11 times for 36 yards and two touchdowns.

“That’s the best win our program has ever had,” Seibel said. “We’re excited.”

Desert Oasis focused on making the playoffs as a second-year school last year and achieved that goal before bowing out in the first round. From the beginning of this season, Seibel stressed taking it one step further and winning a playoff game.

The Diamondbacks took a major step in that direction against the Trailblazers and found a player capable of leading the way.

“It was just getting an opportunity and seizing it,” Andrews said. “I just knew we had to win, so I ran my heart out for my team.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or case.keefer@lasvegassun.com. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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