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Roundup: Sagan Gronauer leads Faith Lutheran over Durango

Faith Lutheran’s offense through Durango like a buzz saw Friday night, with senior quarterback Sagan Gronauer playing the part of the expert logger.

Gronauer threw five touchdown passes in the first half – including four in the first quarter – to help the Crusaders earn a 42-6 victory over Durango in their Sunset Region quarterfinal playoff game.

With the victory, No. 5-ranked Faith Lutheran (6-3) earn a trip to Bishop Gorman to face the top-ranked Gaels in the Sunset semifinals Thursday.

Gronauer, who connected on 18 of 23 passes for 299 yards, made it look easy on offense, but said that was due to the teams’ hard work in practice all week.

“We put in the game plan that we thought was going to work. It worked efficiently,” he said. “Everyone prepared on this team prepared in a way they hadn’t prepared all week. “

Daulton Kinkade had seven receptions for 110 yards for Faith Lutheran, including two touchdown catches.

Kinkade hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass to cap the Crusaders’ seven-play, 65-yard drive to open the game. He also grabbed Gronauer’s final scoring toss of the night, this time from 15 yards with 3:08 left in the second quarter to make it 35-0 and induce running clock.

Peyton Thorton also had a pair of touchdown receptions — from 15 and 32 yards — for Faith Lutheran.

While the offense was running on all cylinders, the Crusaders’ defense was stifled Durango, holding the Trailblazers to 110 yards on offense, including just 20 in the second half.

“We knew we could match up with them athletically,” said Faith Lutheran linebacker John Thomson, who led the team with seven tackles, including a pair of sacks. “So we just put our athletes on the field and just went out and were the hardest hitting team. That is our mentality.”

Durango (6-4) finally got on the board when Jacob Botzenhardt scooped up a fumbled Crusader handoff and returned it 28 yards for a score with 3:30 left in the game.

The Crusaders have won six straight games after an 0-3 start.

“We were a little discouraged, but we just kept pushing through,” said Thomson. “I think without those losses in the beginning, we wouldn’t be having the games we are having now. It’s been a learning experience.”

Faith Lutheran’s next obstacle is eight-time defending state champion Gorman.

Thomson said the Crusaders will be ready.

“We are going to go in with nothing but respect for Gorman, just like every team we go against,” said Thomson. “But we know we have the potential to beat them, and we just going to go out there and give it our all and hopefully come out with a win.

“We are going to approaching like we do every week. We aren’t scared of anybody.”

Bishop Gorman 59, Palo Verde 0 — At Bishop Gorman, the Gaels’ dominance of the Nevada portion of their schedule continued into the postseason as they rolled to more than 600 yards of offense as they opened their playoff run with a victory over the Panthers.

Through seven in-state games, the Gaels (9-2) have yet to allow a point.

Gorman’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for four touchdowns on nine completions, with Brevin Jordan on the receiving end of two scores, including an 86-yard screen pass in the second quarter on third-and-40. The Gaels’ defense held the Panthers to 76 yards for the game.

“I thought we played really well, for the first round of the playoffs,” coach Kenny Sanchez said. “I think we rushed for more yards than we have all year, and I can’t say enough about the effort defensively, they’re just playing lights out right now.”

Amod Cianelli had a 74-yard touchdown drive by himself, taking four runs the length of the field, including a 59-yard score on the first play of the second quarter. Less than a minute later, JoJuan Clairborne returned a fumble for a score, and the rout was on with the Gaels up 28-0.

The best drive of the game for the Panthers (4-6) was its first of the second half, which featured a 21-yard reception by Daniel Bellinger, combined with a pass interference penalty on Gorman, to put the ball inside the Gaels’ 35-yard line. But a fumbled snap turned the ball over, and Thompson-Robinson’s fourth and final touchdown pass of the night went to Jimmy Telles on the ensuing drive.

Liberty 49, Eldorado 0 — At Liberty, quarterback Kenyon Oblad passed for 182 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter as the Patriots defeated the Sundevils in the first round of the Class 4A Sunrise Region playoffs.

The second-ranked Patriots (9-1) scored on their first four possessions and returned an interception for a touchdown in a 36-point first quarter.

Terris Hamilton got the Patriots off to a quick start with a 52-yard kickoff return to open the game. He then hauled in Oblad’s first pass and took it 38 yards to give Liberty a quick 7-0 lead.

Less than two minutes later, the high powered Patriot offense struck again on a 67-touchdown pass from Oblad to Cervontes White to take a 14-0 over the Sundevils (2-8).

Eldorado quarterback Jaime Rangel was intercepted by Octavion Bell on the Sundevils’ next possession, and Bell returned the interception for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 21-0 just three minutes into the game. Liberty’s defense harassed Rangel throughout the game holding him to three completions and sacking him three times. Liberty held Eldorado to 95 yards of offense.

Rangel led the Sundevils with 25 yards rushing and 58 yards passing in the contest.

Foothill 42, Las Vegas 14 — At Las Vegas High, Issac Oliva scored five touchdowns, and the Falcons’ defense shut down the Wildcats en route to a Class 4A Sunrise Region quarterfinal victory.

Oliva scored three times in the decisive second quarter for Foothill (8-2), which overturned an early 7-0 deficit to put up 28 unanswered points before halftime. The senior running back picked up his first two scores on passes from Koy Riggin, from 17 and 13 yards respectively, to put the Falcons ahead. He then scored three more times, all on 1-yard plunges, and finished with 55 yards rushing.

Las Vegas got off to a strong start, with Preston Williams bolting 68 yards on a pass from Zach Matlock after the Foothill defense thought the receiver was down and the play over. But that was all the Falcons would allow while the game was still in the balance.

On defense, the Falcons bottled up the Wildcats’ Elijah Hicks, holding him to just five rushing yards on 10 carries on the night, and recovered two Las Vegas fumbles.

Riggin threw for 218 yards and three touchdowns on the evening, with all but six of those yards coming in the first half. Foothill controlled the ball before halftime, running 41 plays to just 17 for the Wildcats. Braeden Wilson had the other touchdown for the Falcons, who move on to a semifinal date at Liberty next Friday.

Matlock threw for 198 yards and also ran for a touchdown for the Wildcats (3-7).

Sunrise Mountain 30, Moapa Valley 28 — At Overton, Trayvon Ward had 23 carries for 139 yards and two touchdowns to help the Miners upset the Pirates in the Class 3A state football playoffs.

It was the first playoff win in school history for the Miners (6-4), who trailed 14-7 at halftime.

Moapa Valley led 21-17 with 5 minutes, 29 seconds left in the third quarter when Logan Jackson scored on a 43-yard rushing touchdown. But Sunrise Mountain fought back, and scored the go-ahead touchdown on Tyree Hayes’ 62-yard touchdown throw to Te’andre Love with 2:35 to go in the third.

Hayes and Love also hooked up for a 55-yard scoring strike to open the fourth quarter to push the lead to 30-21.

Moapa Valley’s Derek Reese caught a 23-yard score from Luke Bennett for the final margin. The Pirates got the ball back with 1:40 left and drove 30 yards to midfield, but penalties thwarted hopes of a comeback and ultimately led to a turnover on downs.

Pirates coach Brent Lewis said the school hadn’t lost a home playoff game on their current field, which was built in 1993.

Hayes completed 12 of 27 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns — both to Love, who finished with 150 yards receiving. Dalwin Spates had a sack for the Miners to give him a new Class 3A-record 21.5 on the season.

Reese had five catches for 69 yards and two scores, and Jackson and Trystin Lehman each had a rushing TD for Moapa Valley (6-3).

Hayden Redd had 15 carries for 70 yards, and Luke Bennett was 10-for-22 passing for 117 yards.

Virgin Valley 43, Pahrump Valley 34 — At Mesquite, Jayden Perkins had 26 yards for 357 yards and five touchdowns, including one for 80 yards as the Bulldogs knocked off the Trojans in the Class 3A state playoffs.

Cresent Crandall had 86 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs (7-3).

The Trojans finished the year 4-6.

Lincoln County 34, Lake Mead 20 — At Panaca, Landen Smith returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown, ran in a 12-yard touchdown and had an interception as the Lynx rallied to beat the Eagles in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs.

Dean Ottley had a pair of touchdown runs for the Lynx (8-3), who came back from a 20-8 second-quarter deficit.

Jared Regan had a 45-yard rushing touchdown for the Eagles (6-3), and Madela Kaiaokumulani made field goals of 17 and 48 yards.

Needles 42, Democracy Prep 0 — At Needles, California, Gillman Jenkins had a touchdown catch and an interception in the Mustangs’ shutout of the Blue Knights in the Class 2A state playoffs.

Marcus Turner ran for 86 yards and two touchdowns for the Mustangs (10-0).

Democracy Prep ended its year 4-5.

Pahranagat Valley 44, Tonopah 0 — At Alamo, Preston Higbee threw for 111 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 101 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers blanked the Muckers in the first round of the Class 1A state tournament.

Brodey Maxwell and Stockton Maxwell both caught touchdown passes for the Panthers (10-0).

Tonopah ended its season 5-6.

Spring Mountain 60, Beatty 6 — At Spring Mountain, Dalwin Brown caught touchdown receptions of 22, 20 and 45 yards, and recorded a sack to lead the Golden Eagles over the Hornets in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs.

Shawn Shumpert threw five touchdown passes and ran in a score for the Golden Eagles (7-2), and Leshewn Jones, Makale Victorian and Treyvon Wesley each had a touchdown run.

Fabian Perez ran in the score for the Hornets (5-3).

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