Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 | 12:35 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports editors Ray Brewer and Case Keefer embark on their weekly discussion of all things high school football, covering a variety of topics ranging from Bishop Gorman's big win to the need for realignment.
The Gators had painted a car Silverado’s purple and teal, and were taking turns pounding on it with a sledgehammer as part of the homecoming festivities.
“When I saw that it just motivated me to come out here and prove that the car was the only thing that they are beating tonight,” said Silverado running back Keikiokalani Misipeka, “and that’s exactly what we did.”
Silverado’s vicious front seven hammered the Gators offense to the tune of three forced turnovers, two sacks, only 155 yards and no offensive touchdowns in the Skyhawks' 35-7 win.
Green Valley, who was averaging 31 points per game entering the contest, was unable to move the ball with any regularity.
“Our defense came out and did a great job tonight,” said Silverado coach Randall Cunningham. “We were blitzing and faking blitzes, and our defensive backs had to come up after the last game we played and they did.”
Through 14 minutes of play the teams were locked in a scoreless stalemate, with the Gators making a rare trip into Skyhawks territory.
Silverado linebacker Jordan Walker jumped a slant route and intercepted Kalyja Waialae’s pass.
“I did my basic fundamentals — dropping back and watching whoever comes into my zone — and I’m just grateful that it came to my hands and it turned the momentum for our team,” Walker said.
Seconds later, Misipeka beat Green Valley’s defense to the corner and ran 65 yards down the sideline to give the Skyhawks a 7-0 lead.
“In the first couple of series we didn’t move the ball too much and coach Randall told me that he was counting on me to pick up the intensity and get the team going, so I tried to take things into my hands,” Misipeka said.
Silverado’s defense kept the ball rolling on the following possession when Franco Rodriguez scooped up a fumble and took it 55 yards for the score.
“When Franco picked up that fumble, it was at the perfect time when the momentum had shifted our way,” Cunningham said. “I told him that we needed a big game out of him and he shut their guys down and then scooped that one up and took it to the house.”
Misipeka finished the game with 217 rushing yards and three touchdowns, putting him over 1,000 yards this season.
“He just does his thing,” Cunningham said. “He’s an amazing kid.”
As one of the best rushing teams in the city, Silverado surprisingly came out of the gates throwing the ball but with little success.
“That’s kind of something that I learned in the NFL,” Cunningham said. “We knew that we would have to score in the second half because we’ve been getting shut down in the second half. We would rather have a slow first quarter than a slow second half.”
Cunningham benched starting quarterback Christian Baltodano after starting the game 3-of-12 for only 24 yards and an interception in favor of junior Carson Loosbrock.
The Skyhawks ripped off 28 unanswered points after the switch.
“Carson manages the game,” Cunningham said. “I don’t expect him to do a whole lot right now. I told him to just go in there and manage the game and we will rely on our big boys.”
Loosbrock completed only one pass — a 17-yard touchdown to Cameron Wiley in the fourth quarter.
Silverado outrushed Green Valley 296-84, and the Gators’ only points came from a 95-yard kickoff return by Braxton Harms.
After losing last week to Basic, the win gets Silverado back on track and improves its record to 5-1 on the season.
“We are not a losing team,” Cunningham said. “These kids are not losers and they like to win, so it made a difference because we couldn’t drop two in a row.”