Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2019

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high school football:

Faith Lutheran’s comeback win against Palo Verde one for the ages

Las Vegas Sun HS Football Media Day 2017

Christopher DeVargas

Members of the Faith Lutheran High School football team, from left, John Thomson, Josh Hong, Saundre Spiller, John Schulte, Sagan Gronauer and Elijah Kothe pose for a portrait at the Las Vegas Sun’s high school football media day August 2, 2017, at the South Point.

The Faith Lutheran High football team trailed Palo Verde by 17-0 in the fourth quarter today, and its chances of winning seemed slim because quarterback Sagan Gronauer was out with an injury.

But the Crusaders closed the game with 20 unanswered points for their first win of the season, an emotional 20-17 victory in the “Battle of Summerlin.”

Faith Lutheran assistant coach Jake Kothe, who has been with the program for more than 20 years, labeled the rally as the biggest comeback he’s been part of.

“We didn’t play our brand of football for the first three quarters,” Faith Lutheran coach Vernon Fox said. “A lot of things happened where (our team) could have tanked. My hats off to them for staying together.”

Backup quarterback Conor Paravia was solid in relief, passing for 76 yards and a touchdown and rushing for another score. Saundre Spiller carried the ball 10 times for 101 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown for the winning points with about four minutes to play.

Faith Lutheran improves to 1-3 on the season. In the other three games, it had leads in the second half but couldn’t win. That wasn’t the case this afternoon as they finished strong to down Palo Verde. The schools are a few miles apart in Summerlin.

“That type of win builds character,” Fox said. “It proves to a lot of these guys, whether they know it or not, that they can finish.”

Elijah Kothe, Jake’s son, has five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown.

The comeback overshadowed one of the best rushing performances of the season in Southern Nevada by Palo Verde's Chamere Thomas, who rushed for 240 yards and two touchdowns.

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