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May 21, 2019

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high school football:

Star Foothill receiver plays decoy, helps Falcons advance to Sunrise title game

Kyle Keplinger limited to three grabs, but school’s other receivers thrive in single coverage

Foothill vs. Basic Sunrise Semifinal

Sam Morris

Foothill’s Tyler Morris reaches for a pass under coverage from Basic defensive back Joshua Johnson during their Sunrise region semifinal game Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, at Foothill. Foothill won, 35-28, to advance to the regional quarterfinal.

Foothill vs. Basic Sunrise Semifinal

Foothill wide receiver Marc Harris celebrates their 35-28 defeat of Basic in their Sunrise region semifinal game Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, at Foothill. Launch slideshow »

High school football highlights

KSNV coverage of four high school games, Nov. 10, 2011.

Prep Sports Now

Familiar arguments emerge as playoffs move along

Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer disagree on the Liberty vs. Las Vegas matchup for the same reasons as last year. They come to a consensus on the rest of the games, but also break down the matchups.

There is no doubt Kyle Keplinger is the Foothill High football team’s top offensive threat.

The senior wide receiver entered Thursday’s Sunrise Regional semifinal game against visiting Basic with 21 touchdowns, easily having his way with the opposition every week.

So, what happens when Keplinger is held in check? Well, he still has an impact on the game.

Despite having only three catches for 28 yards, Keplinger drew double coverage all night in creating mismatches for his teammates in the Falcons’ 35-28 victory.

Quarterback Drew Doxtator passed for three touchdowns, including a pair of scoring strikes to Tyler Morris in the third quarter, as the Falcons opened a 21-point advantage with 19 unanswered points.

“I was definitely a distraction for them,” Keplinger said. “We were able to run our stuff away from where I was and that was perfectly fine with me as long as we get the win.”

For the night, Doxtator completed 16 of 26 passes for 171 yards, and also scored on a 6-yard quarterback keeper. Just a sophomore, Doxtator has played like a seasoned veteran all year — especially when airing it out to Keplinger.

He got other receivers involved Thursday.

Doxtator’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Jake Winters with 47 seconds to play before halftime gave Foothill a 22-14 lead at the break. He found Morris for touchdowns of 18 and 45 yards in the third quarter to essentially seal the game.

“This team has a lot of playmakers and he isn’t afraid to use them,” Keplinger said.

Basic scored the game’s final 14 points to make things interesting, using a 66-yard touchdown run from Antrae Johnson and an 82-yard touchdown pass from Eddie Vega to DeVonte Boyd to the trim the deficit.

But Foothill’s defense wouldn’t be denied. The defense forced three turnovers, including Joe Wytheblocking a punt and Michael Gamboa returning it 39 yards for a touchdown in the first half for a 10-0 Foothill lead.

“It makes a big difference playing from on top. We can do what we want more a little bit defensively and offensively,” Foothill coach Marty Redmond said. “I thought our kids executed real well when they had to. They played tough.

“(Basic) has a lot of good athletes over there. (There are) a lot of big playmakers over there. For the most part, I felt like we held them most of the game.”

Foothill advances to next week’s Sunrise championship game against Liberty, which it lost to 49-41 earlier in the season.

Foothill, which opened in 1999, will be playing for its first regional title. It’s a school with a rich football tradition — a legacy Keplinger and Co. hopes includes a banner to hang in the gymnasium

“Our team definitely deserves this opportunity,” Keplinger said. “We knew everyone would underestimate us after losing the guys we had last year. We had some great players. But we didn’t want to be like last year’s team. We wanted to be better and we are proving it.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or ra

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