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August 19, 2019

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kickoff 2016:

Faith Lutheran has flashes of good play, still soundly beaten by Houston school

Las Vegas Sun's HS Football Top 10

Christopher DeVargas

Members of the Faith Lutheran High football team pose for a photo at the Las Vegas Sun’s high school football media day July 20, 2016 at the South Point. They include, from left, Elijah Kothe, Jacob Searles, Christian Marshall, Joshua Hong, and Jalen Flowers

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The Faith Lutheran High football team surrendered a kickoff return for a touchdown Friday night on the first play of the season.

Later in the game, they fumbled the ball, had a pass intercepted and gave up some long passes. They missed a few tackles, too.

While a 42-10 defeat to open the season to visiting St. Pius X of Houston is surely an eyesore on paper, there were some positives the Crusaders can build on.

Take their offensive possession after giving up the 94-yard kickoff return.

Quarterback Christian Marshall led the Crusaders down the field in their hurry-up, read-option attack. On one play, Marshall would rush for double-digit yards. And on the next it was Saundre Spiller’s turn.

Faith Lutheran was moving so quickly that St. Pius X had to call a timeout to regroup. The drive ended in a 35-yard field goal from Brandon Hahn, trimming the deficit to 7-3.

“At the end of the day it’s about trying to find a lesson in it,” Faith Lutheran coach Vernon Fox said. “Figure out what you can learn and how you can get better.”

But the good play wasn’t consistent. That may be because Faith Lutheran was battling more than St. Pius X and its 6-foot-5 bluechip recruit quarterback, sophomore Grant Gunnell.

Play was stopped for nearly an hour midway through the second quarter because of lightning, and when the players resumed, the first-game excitement was missing. Faith Lutheran surrendered 35 unanswered points — a few touchdowns before the delay; a few after — to force the mercy rule of the running clock.

“That is a situation you never plan for,” Fox said of the delay. “We were already in the process of struggling as a team. You would hope that interference that takes time away from the game would help us settle in. But it didn’t seem to help. We came out and still struggled.”

To Faith Lutheran’s credit, it didn’t quit.

Second-string quarterback Sagan Gronauer had a 21-yard touchdown pass to Michael Peck late in the third quarter. Later in the game, Alec Netski intercepted Gunnell — the Houston QB has scholarship offers from Florida State and Oklahoma State.

“It’s a matter of trying to find a way to execute,” Fox said.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Faith Lutheran. Next week, it travels to Hawaii to face Kaimuki of Honolulu.

“I am always going to challenge us,” Fox said. “I am always going to put us in the position to play the best talent.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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