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May 22, 2019

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high school football:

Defense turns up pressure for Las Vegas in win against Legacy

2014 High School Football

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

From left, Las Vegas High School football players Mark Gil Gacutan, Elias Miller, Trevor Swenson, Jacob Littlefield and Mark Anthony Gacutan on July 21, 2014.

Maybe the Las Vegas High football team is the real deal. Its defense definitely was Friday night.

The Wildcats limited host Legacy to about 100 yards of offense and forced six turnovers, including a three-interception game from Kode Mwirigi, in a 28-6 victory.

The game was essentially over after the first quarter with Las Vegas holding a 20-0 advantage. That’s what happens when your defense gives you great field position.

“Our defense is physical. They are great,” said Elias Miller, Las Vegas’ senior running back who led all rushers with about 100 yards and had a touchdown reception. “We just came out fired up. We came out ready to play with intensity.”

The Wildcats are ranked No. 5 in the Sun’s preseason rankings, opening the season last week with a mercy-rule victory against Rancho. But, since Rancho hasn’t won since 2011, the verdict was still out on this year’s edition of the Wildcats.

Friday, against a more seasoned opponent, Las Vegas showed it’s worthy of the hype.

“Every team on our schedule, we are going to come play hard and show them what we are about,” Miller said.

Trevor Swenson passed for four touchdowns and hooked up with Sam Blackburn on two scoring strikes within three minutes of each other in the first quarter. He also connected with Miller and freshman Elijah Hicks.

“We knew they were going to be better than Rancho, and that this would be a step up in competition and a good team for us,” Las Vegas coach James Thurman said. “The kids responded well.”

While the first half left Las Vegas feeling good about itself, the second half didn’t go exactly as planned. Instead of pushing to put the game away, Las Vegas simply went through the motions and fell into the trap of turnovers. Swenson had a pair of interceptions.

Against a better team, such as Palo Verde next week or Liberty in Northeast League play, any comfortable lead would have been erased. That’s the message Thurman delivered to players after the game. They have to be able to put away an opponent.

“We can’t throw snaps away and we probably threw some snaps away tonight,” Thurman said.

Legacy (0-2) scored with about five minutes remaining courtesy of a Tanoa Alapati run.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at

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