Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 | 2 a.m.
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer close out another great football season and turn to basketball. Can anyone beat Bishop Gorman? Arbor View or Centennial? Austin Morgan or Austin Starr? They spend time discussing all those topics and more.
The Patriots struggled that night in late-August as they lost by more than 40 points to a school from Arizona. Newman, in his first start at Liberty quarterback, completed just 12 of 23 passes for 111 yards with an interception.
The rest of the season, however, he was downright unstoppable.
Newman passed for 3,983 yards and 42 touchdowns in leading Liberty to its fourth straight Sunrise Regional title. Last week, he was honored for his sensational season by being selected as Nevada’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
“It was an amazing year. Everything clicked after that first game,” Newman said.
In Liberty’s second game of the year, just six days after the rough opener, Newman led Liberty to a 42-point output against Centennial of Corona, Calif. He rushed for 89 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and passed for 317 yards and two touchdowns.
Even though Liberty was defeated, they boarded the bus that evening in Southern California a different team. They felt they could score on any opponent.
“We lost but we were still pretty excited,” he said.
Newman was primarily a wide receiver last year but is credited by Patriots coach Rich Muraco for spending extra hours in the offseason working with his wide receivers. Eventually, they — especially seniors Drew Hladek and Deseon McQuaig — developed a strong chemistry.
Newman didn’t take much credit for winning the award. He instead mentioned the production of the offensive line and the efforts of his receivers. McQuaig caught 53 passes for 1,070 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“It was his dedication and commitment in the offseason,” Muraco said. “He understood that it was his turn to shine.”
Newman is being recruited by a handful of college teams at various levels — from Air Force to Ivy League schools and the Colorado School of Mines.
“He’s a super smart kid. He made some real good decisions out there for us,” Muraco said.