Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 | 1 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports editors Ray Brewer and Case Keefer recount games they attended on Friday before moving to this week's schedule of high school football action.
Side effects inflicted by the Faith Lutheran offense Friday night may have included dizziness and motion sickness. The Crusaders’ defense caused sudden blackouts.
Put the toxic combination together, and Shadow Ridge should suffer from recurring nightmares for the next several days following a game where everything went wrong. Faith Lutheran used a quick-strike offense and timely defensive stands to subdue Shadow Ridge 38-6 Friday night.
“I’m excited that late in the year, we were able to put a game together like that,” Faith Lutheran coach Vernon Fox said.
So was a packed crowd in what was scheduled as Faith Lutheran’s final home game of the season. The Crusaders may be back, though, as the victory put them in sole possession of second place with a 4-1 record in the Northwest division.
If Faith Lutheran wins on the road at Centennial next week, it’s guaranteed a home playoff game in its first season back playing in the upper level.
“It would make a statement to this whole valley,” senior running back Christian Marshall said. “For some reason, we still haven’t gotten respect. I think we deserve it, and we’re going to keep taking it from everyone we play.”
Marshall played like someone who felt owed something against Shadow Ridge, and his teammates gladly followed. On his third carry of the night, he saw a gaping hole form and exploded through it for a 72-yard touchdown run.
He repeated the same sequence a quarter later on a 38-yard score. Marshall finished with eight carries for 127 yards on a night when Faith Lutheran upped the dosage on his usual feverish pace.
“Our whole philosophy is go, go, go and tire teams out,” Marshall said. “It’s worked against every team this year because they don’t know how to practice against it. When teams can’t practice against it, they can’t compete against it. It’s absolutely huge for us.”
Both of Marshall’s scores came shortly after Faith Lutheran’s defense came up with interceptions. Sophomore defensive back Keagan Touchstone snagged the first one following Shadow Ridge’s longest play of the night — a 40-yard run from junior running back Elisha Young.
Then, sophomore linebacker Nate Meredith ruined a 75-yard Shadow Ridge drive with a pick at the 8-yard line. A long completion from sophomore quarterback Sagan Gronauer — who finished with 137 total yards and three touchdowns — to junior wide receiver Elijah Kothe set up Marshall’s second touchdown, which made the score 17-0.
The Mustangs drove all the way to the 2-yard line on their next possession, but Touchstone stuffed Young inches from crossing the plane of the goal line as the first-half time expired.
“I feel like that was the turning point in the game for us,” Fox said.
Faith Lutheran scored on its first possession of the second half, as Gronauer found junior Michael Peck in the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown. Two minutes later, sophomore defensive back Taimani McKenzie scooped a fumble and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to make the score 30-0.
The Crusaders fell on two more fumbles, junior linebacker John Thomson and senior linebacker Clayton Shipley came up with the recoveries, before the night was over as part of a smothering defensive performance. Keyed by a ton of tackles from senior linebacker Blake Giuliani, Faith Lutheran didn’t allow Shadow Ridge to look anything like the team that posted 61 points against Centennial last week.
Senior star Malik Lindsey did hang 152 rushing yards, but that was on 32 attempts.
“Our defense stepped up big time,” Marshall said. “It’s something we wanted to have done a couple weeks ago, but we’ve progressed so much.”