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Liberty hopes early losses lead to later wins

The losses are piling up for Liberty, but that’s hardly a surprise to coach Rich Muraco.

His Patriots are 1-3, with all three losses to out-of-state schools, including Friday’s 45-8 defeat to Atascocita in Humble, Texas.

Before that, they were beaten 20-19 by Lone Peak (Utah) and 30-2 by Pittsburg (California).

Next up is Kamehameha Kapalama (Hawaii) on Friday at home as part of the Polynesian Football Classic.

“Any time you play nationally ranked teams, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose, so you can’t be afraid of losses,” Muraco said. “Do I feel we can be better? Absolutely. I’m not worried about the psychology of the team, because if anything it will make us better.”

This has been Muraco’s successful strategy in trying to prove that Bishop Gorman can be challenged for Southern Nevada supremacy. Liberty is the one team to interrupt the Gaels’ long reign, winning the Desert Region championship in 2019 on its way to the Class 4A state title.

As of now, Liberty can’t compete with Gorman, which should have beaten Mater Dei (California) and then smoked St. Louis (Hawaii) and Hamilton (Arizona).

But it’s not about now, and the 2019 season is a perfect example of the danger of reading too much into early-season results. That Liberty team began 0-5, and four of the losses were by at least two touchdowns and two by at least 34 points.

Yet those losses are easy to forget because of the success that ensued, and that’s why Muraco plays these difficult schedules.

“That’s the theory,” he said. “I’d rather find out our deficiencies now so we can correct them rather than have a false sense of security. We’ll see. We’re nowhere near ready to beat Gorman.”

It’s September and not late October or early November. That’s when Liberty’s season will be declared a success or disappointment.

Muraco and his team have plenty of work to do before then.

“We can analyze film and find we can improve in all kinds of areas,” he said.

Wrong class?

Silverado was in a league of its own last season when it crushed the competition to win the Class 4A state championship. Especially after the Skyhawks beat Shadow Ridge 61-27 in the title game, it was fair to question whether the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association made a mistake by not making Silverado a 5A team.

Quarterback Brandon Tunnell even welcomed the challenge of being a 5A team, saying after that game, “I’d like to see a challenge like that next year.”

But this isn’t European soccer, where teams are promoted or relegated based on performance, and the Skyhawks are back in 4A without an apparent worthy challenger.

Silverado is 3-0 and has outscored its opponents 160-21, including 61-7 over Sierra Vista on Friday. Sierra Vista was the only 4A opponent — the other two are in 5A — which makes it even scarier for Silverado’s opponents.

“We’re (d0n’t) rely on just one or two guys; we have multiple guys,” Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza said after Friday’s game.

Yeah, good luck with that, 4A.

Up next

This is the final week before most schools begin league play. Gorman welcomes Brookwood (Georgia), the last real chance keep alive its slim national championship hopes.

Class 2A begins league play this week. One game to keep an eye on is Democracy Prep at Lake Mead. Maxpreps ranks Lake Mead third among 2A schools, and Democracy Prep is fourth.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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