Las Vegas High’s football team managed just 90 rushing yards in its regular-season finale against Canyon Springs.
So the Wildcats decided to air things out to start the playoffs.
Trevor Swenson threw for 459 yards and seven touchdowns Friday as the Wildcats rolled to a 63-24 road win over Basic in the Sunrise Region quarterfinals.
“It was a lot of passing tonight,” Swenson said. “Our scheme was to pass the ball. We couldn’t run it last week, so we had to throw it around a little bit tonight.”
Swenson was 34-for-53, completing passes to seven receivers. Aaron Zanin-Banks led the way with nine catches for 179 yards and four TDs, but four other receivers had at least three catches.
“Zanin’s had a pretty good season for us, obviously, but if you’re going to cover him, there’s another guy and another guy,” Las Vegas coach James Thurman said. “Trevor did a good job of finding the open guy, which is part of the offense.”
Las Vegas had to punt on its first possession, but that was one of the few times the Wildcats didn’t simply roll down the field. Las Vegas scored on its second possession, going 72 yards on nine plays in just 1 minute, 39 seconds. Swenson capped the drive by tossing one of his four TD passes to Zanin-Banks, a 9-yarder, to put the Wildcats up 7-0.
He had a 23-yard TD pass to Karel Byars and a 7-yard scoring strike to Zanin-Banks before halftime as Las Vegas took a 28-12 lead at the break.
The Wildcats scored three third-quarter touchdowns to pull away. The three scoring drive took a total of 3:54, as Las Vegas pushed the pace with its no-huddle offense.
“We did not use our tempo very well last week,” Thurman said of the 21-14 loss to Canyon Springs. “We were sluggish and lethargic on offense. That was a point of emphasis, getting back to playing as fast as we can play. I think we got them tired in the second and probably there in the third quarter, and it paid off for us.”
Swenson had a 42-yard TD pass to Andrew Moreland on a screen with blockers in front, and added TD tosses of 2 and 79 yards to Zanin-Banks in the third quarter.
The long pass to Zanin-Banks was about a 10-yard toss, and the receiver raced untouched for the score to put the Wildcats up 49-18 with 2:30 to go in the third quarter.
“Our receivers worked really hard to get open for me,” Swenson said. “I found them, put the ball where it needed to be and they did the rest from there.”
The Wildcats did a solid job defensively against Basic star Antraye Johnson. Johnson finished with 132 yards on 22 carries, including TD runs of 53 and 8 yards. He also passed for 132 yards and a touchdown and caught a 38-yard pass. But Las Vegas also sacked him twice, forced him to fumble and Johnson was called for a pair of intentional grounding penalties when under heavy pressure.
“God, he’s a special kid,” Thurman said. “We told our kids that he’s going to get some yards, we’ve just got to try to limit the damage. He is a special, special football player.”
Swenson had a 12-yard TD pass to Kyle Christensen with 11:23 to go in the game to make it 56-18, and Thurman turned to the second unit.
Las Vegas (6-4) plays at Green Valley (8-2) in the region semifinals next Friday. The Gators nipped Las Vegas 39-38 during the regular season.
“We left there with a bad taste in our mouth, so we get a second shot,” Thurman said. “A lot of times, you don’t get a second shot.”
Added Swenson: “It’s awesome. We’ve wanted Green Valley. We’re ready to play them, so they better be ready.”
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at (702) 380-4587 or email@example.com. Follow @DamonSeiters on Twitter.