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May 24, 2016

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high school football:

Foothill sophomore QB continues break through season, leads Falcons to a playoff win

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Working through the playoff brackets

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer go over the high school football postseason picture and reflect on how it got to this point. The episode also contains a lengthy segment debating who is the Southeast Division MVP — Niko Kapeli, Kyle Keplinger, Aaron Love or Chris Marshall.

Team Pages

Even a flu virus and rainy conditions couldn’t stop Foothill High sophomore quarterback Drew Doxtator from winning his first playoff game.

Doxtator threw four touchdowns Friday to help the host Falcons advance to the Sunrise Regional semifinals with a 34-12 victory against Desert Pines in the regional quarterfinals.

“He does a good job every week,” Foothill coach Marty Redmond said. “He’s getting better and better every week and that’s what we want out of him. He’s done a good job for us all year.”

Following a blocked punt by Foothill senior linebacker Michael Gamboa on Desert Pines’ opening possession, Doxtator threw a 17-yard strike to receiver Armando Rodriguez for his first touchdown of the evening.

On the Falcons' next possession, Doxtator hit sophomore running back Naim Muhammad on a 27-yard screen play for his second touchdown of the opening quarter to give Foothill a 14-0 lead.

After allowing 84 points in their previous two games against Basic and Liberty, the Falcons played much a more stout defense against the Jaguars in their playoff opener.

Foothill did not allow the Jaguars offense to cross midfield in the first two quarters as the Falcons took a 14-0 halftime lead.

“I thought our defense played a lot better than they did the last couple weeks,” Redmond said. “I take pride in how physical they played after giving up a bunch of yards the week before.”

Doxtator connected with wide receiver Kyle Keplinger for a touchdown on a 2-yard out route to give the Falcons a 20-0 lead with 7:19 remaining in the third quarter.

It was a milestone touchdown for both Foothill players as Doxtator recorded his 30th touchdown pass of the season and Keplinger scored the 20th touchdown of his senior campaign.

“Kyle and I have that good quarterback-wide receiver connection,” Doxtator said. “I get the ball to him and he makes plays. That’s basically enough said.”

On Foothill’s next possession, Doxtator hit Keplinger for his second touchdown of the quarter on a 15-yard crossing route on fourth-and-10 to give the Falcons a 27-0 advantage.

“Drew did great,” Keplinger said. “He had great composure tonight as a sophomore. He played real good. It was a good thing to get his first playoff win.”

Keplinger finished the game with eight receptions for 67 yards and two receiving scores.

Desert Pines got on the board late in the third quarter on a 65-yard touchdown run by sophomore Eric Wilkes to trim the Jaguars’ deficit to 27-6 following a blocked extra point.

The Jaguars inched closer to the Falcons early in the fourth quarter with a Travis Nofoa 2-yard quarterback sneak to cut the score to 27-12.

Just when it looked like Desert Pines may be eyeing a comeback, senior wide receiver Leon Hayes muffed a punt at the Jaguars own 15-yard line with 7:28 remaining in the game.

Foothill senior running back Brandon Wiltz sealed the game on a 14-yard touchdown run two plays later to give the Falcons a 34-12 lead.

Foothill will play host to Basic High in the Sunrise Regional semifinals on Thursday at 7 p.m. in a rematch of a high-scoring affair from earlier this season.

Foothill rallied back from a 28-14 halftime deficit to defeat the Wolves 42-35 on Oct. 21 at Basic.

The fourth-seeded Wolves advanced to the regional semifinals with a 42-21 upset victory over top-seeded Canyon Springs on Friday.

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