Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 | 11:15 p.m.
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.
The end result was the same for the Liberty High football team, but this loss to a national opponent doesn’t sting as bad.
The Patriots were defeated 60-42 today by host Centennial High of Corona, Calif., which is ranked as high as No. 6 nationally in one poll. Last week in the Sollenberger Classic, Liberty took it on the chin in a 48-7 loss to Salpointe Catholic of Tucson.
“This was a thousand times better,” Liberty coach Rich Muraco said.
Tyler Newman rushed and passed for a pair of touchdowns for the Patriots, and Ethan Tuilagi supplied a 30-yard touchdown run.
Liberty fell behind 29-7 early in the second quarter and the game appeared to be getting out of hand. But the Patriots buckled down and trailed just 29-14 at halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, they continued to hang tough in only trailing 39-27 after Tuilagi’s touchdown.
“We were able to move the ball and get into a rhythm offensively,” Muraco said.
Turnovers proved to be the difference. Liberty lost a fumble in their endzone for a touchdown and later in the game fumbled at the Centennial 2-yard line going in for a score.
“They are the No. 6 ranked team in the nation for a reason. That offense is dynamic,” Muraco said. “But we battled right there with them the entire game.”
Liberty returns to local competition Sept. 7 when it hosts Silverado. With some first-time players in key positions, scheduling two quality out-of-state opponents was by design to help accelerate their development.
“We have so many new kids and young kids,” Muraco said. “Even though we won the last three Sunrise Region championships, those kids weren’t part of those teams. Some might have thought you put on a Liberty jersey and helmet you are automatically going to beat people.
“We wanted to play better teams to prepare for the teams in our league so we don’t panic. If we can put up 42 points on the No. 6 team in the country, we are going to be able to score points on the local teams.”