Las Vegas Sun

September 16, 2021

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Liberty runs past Rancho with full complement of weapons

Prep Sports Now

Playoff breakdowns and upset picks

Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer break down this week's high school football playoff games, including their picks for potential upsets.

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Liberty’s 34-6 playoff victory against Rancho marked the return of senior running back Ty Byrd.

Byrd missed the Patriots' last four games with a knee injury but was back in action against the Rams. He scored a touchdown and had 51 yards on 12 carries.

“We worked him slowly,” Liberty coach Rich Muraco said. “It’s great to have him back. He’s an added weapon to have for our offense.”

Byrd, Liberty’s leading rusher before his injury, will likely play a prominent role in next week’s home game against Canyon Springs.

Byrd rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns in a 16-15 playoff victory last year against Canyon Springs. That game came down to the end with the Patriots pulling out the victory when a Canyon Springs' two-point conversion attempt failed.

Muraco expects another challenge this year.

“We played them twice last year and both were really tough games,” he said. “They are a good team with some great athletes.”

With Byrd back, Liberty has a full arsenal of offensive threats. All of them got into the mix against Rancho.

Both Niko Kapeli and Teu Tai rushed for a touchdown. Kai Nacua threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Martinez.

“We executed well but really didn’t do that much statistically,” Muraco said. “I’m not as happy about the yardage total, but I give credit to Rancho.”

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