Las Vegas Sun

May 20, 2019

Currently: 78° — Complete forecast

Late touchdown ends Liberty’s hopes of returning to state title game

Liberty Vesus Green Valley Playoff

L.E. Baskow

Liberty High School coach Rich Muraco shouts orders from the sidelines as his team battles Green Valley on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013.

Prep Sports Now

State of the rivalry

Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer assess the state of the Bishop Gorman vs. Palo Verde rivalry. With the Gaels outscoring the Panthers by 100 points combined in the last four meetings, is the game as relevant as it once was? Will Palo Verde keep it close? Listen for that discussion as well as a breakdown of Liberty's trip to Reed and a shoutout to Division 1A State Champion Faith Lutheran.

The Liberty Patriots football team's hopes for a repeat trip to the state championship game ended Saturday in the state semifinals with a heartbreaking 35-31 loss to Reed of Sparks in Reno.

"It's sad because I don't get to coach these seniors again," Liberty coach Rich Muraco said.

Reed scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute to play.

Liberty got the ball back with 30 seconds remaining, but a Tyler Newman pass was intercepted. Liberty finished the year 10-4.

Liberty led 31-28 with a little more than four minutes remaining after an Ethan Tuilagi 1-yard touchdown plunge. On the Reed's ensuing drive, Liberty intercepted a pass and drained a little bit of clock.

Then on fourth and 3 in their own territory, the Patriots opted to go for the win by going for the first down instead of punting.

Liberty tried drawing Reed offsides at first, then called a timeout. The Pats ran the play after the break, and the Raiders stood their ground to get the ball back.

"We get this first down, game over," Muraco said. "It backfired."

It was similar to the last time Liberty played up north when Muraco went for a 2-point conversation rather than try a field goal to tie the game.

"I'll always be aggressive," Muraco said. "Sometimes it blows up in your face."

The Patriots thought they had the game won after grabbing what looked to be their third interception of the game. But the officials came together and ruled the pass incomplete.

Reed scored on the next play.

Tuilagi scored two touchdowns in the losing effort.

Reed will play Bishop Gorman next Saturday in Las Vegas for the state title. Gorman advanced by beating Palo Verde, 45-7.

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

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy