Del Sol coach Preston Goroff has a goal to get at least three plays of 25 yards or more from his offense each game.
Evan Weinstock took care of that himself by halftime Friday.
The senior wide receiver made touchdown catches of 79 and 40 yards in the second quarter to go with a 26-yard score on a reverse to help the Dragons to a 42-13 home victory over Liberty in the Sunrise Region semifinals.
“I just ran my routes. It’s the quarterback throwing good passes,” Weinstock said. “I always look for one-on-one coverages, and it just worked out.”
Weinstock caught five passes for 148 yards. He also intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve hit that goal every game, so we have been a big-play team this year,” Goroff said. “We knew (Liberty was) going to focus on the run, so we knew we were going to have to throw the ball a little bit. They gave us a lot of one-on-one matchups, and we took advantage of that.”
Troy Miller added a 75-yard touchdown pass to Ashton Cacho in the third quarter and finished with 253 yards passing and three touchdowns.
“Everyone knows that every play in the playoffs can be our last, so everyone’s going as hard as they can,” Miller said.
The victory sets up a rematch with Basic for the Sunrise championship next week. The Dragons won the regular-season meeting 21-19 when Jason Meuir blocked a field-goal attempt in the closing seconds.
“They’re going to come out looking for us. They think they could have won that game last time, and they very well could have,” Weinstock said. “We just need to play a good four quarters again, like today, and hopefully we can make it to the state championship.”
Even with the big plays, it was defense that turned the game in favor of Del Sol (12-1) late in the first quarter.
Tied at 7, Liberty (8-5) faced fourth-and-1 at the Del Sol 2. The Dragons’ defense held, and four plays later Weinstock caught the first of his touchdown passes to give Del Sol the lead for good.
“That was bigger than anything,” Miller said of the goal-line stand. “Our defense is really good. They always manage to make a stop when we need one. Our offense just played off that intensity.”
Dezerick Reed ran for 59 yards on 19 carries for the Dragons, scoring two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. He fumbled on the first play of the game to set up a score that gave Liberty a 7-0 lead, but Reed made up for the blunder by scoring on the next drive.
“We’ve been through a lot of adversity all year,” Goroff said. “We’ve been in a lot of bad situations. We don’t let one play or one series affect our game.”
Ty Byrd rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown for Liberty, but the Patriots’ passing game couldn’t get going. Samuel Tai and Tyler Knepp combined to complete 2 of 19 attempts for 52 yards and two interceptions.
Liberty was stopped on four fourth-down attempts, including two inside the Del Sol 20.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@ reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509.In-depth high school sports coverage