Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2014

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high school football:

It’s always a battle’: Liberty outlasts Basic

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Liberty High football players (from left) Samson Monterde, Jozef Misaalefua and Tyler Newman before the 2013 season.

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Getting under center

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer preview the two biggest games of the week, Desert Pines at Moapa Valley and Green Valley at Canyon Springs. Keefer also takes amusement at Brewer's yearning for the old days before spread offenses overtook the football landscape.

If there is one team in the Sunrise Southeast division that isn’t going to be afraid of the other-world numbers that Liberty is putting up, it would be Basic.

“They don’t back down, and they’re not intimidated,” Liberty coach Rich Muraco said. “Coach (Jeff) Cahill does an amazing job. … They do a good job with their system and it’s always a battle.”

The Wolves gave the Patriots everything they could handle, but the Patriots’ defense made critical stops and the offense lit up the scoreboard once again, giving Liberty a 63-42 victory Thursday.

Muraco recalled his team making critical stops in the red zone, which in a shootout can make the decisive difference.

“The defense played well when their backs were against the wall,” he said. “We had an interception in the end zone, and a stop on fourth-and-goal on the 5.”

What did hurt Liberty (6-3, 4-0 Sunrise Southeast) was All-City selection Antraye Johnson’s playmaking ability.

Johnson accounted for four touchdowns (2 rushing, 2 passing) for the Wolves (3-5, 2-2).

“He presents problems and made some big plays,” Muraco said. “There were times when we were too focused on him.”

Luckily for the Patriots, they too have a dynamic playmaker in quarterback Tyler Newman.

Newman was once again amazing, throwing five touchdowns for 466 yards. He has thrown for 31 touchdowns this season with just seven interceptions (most of them coming in the games against national competition).

It’s not like Newman had to do it all on his own, either, as he got plenty of help from the ground game as well.

Liberty ran for 280 yards. Calvin Tubbs scored on runs of 17, 5 and 86 yards, while Ethan Tulugi had a 65-yard score of his own.

“Offensively, we’re flowing,” Muraco said.

Liberty can clinch another Sunrise Southeast division title with a victory over Foothill next Friday, and Muraco said his team is right where it needs to be.

“We’re right on track where we want to be on our goals,” he said. “We made the playoffs. We want to win the division. We want to get the No. 1 seed and continue through the playoffs.”

Paul Delos Santos can be reached at 990-2416 or mail to [email protected] Follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/pauliedelos

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