Some coaches would tell you that what’s done is done; that past wins and losses no longer matter.
But Las Vegas High coach Chris Faircloth doesn’t mind telling you that last season’s 27-20 season-ending loss to Foothill in the first round of the Sunrise Region still stings.
The Wildcats (10-1) get their shot at redemption at 8 p.m. Thursday when they host the Falcons (10-1) in a Sunrise Region semifinal.
“There’s a lot of scar tissue,” Faircloth said. “You don’t talk about it during the season because you’ve got to play your season. But this one, it was just meant to be. We had to meet again.”
Last season’s loss ended Las Vegas’ streak of six consecutive Sunrise titles.
“That’s definitely inspiration, because they’re the ones that ended our season last year,” senior defensive back Dee Hall said. “So we just kind of have a little revenge in the back of our minds and want to do the same to them.”
Hall and his defensive teammates will face a unique challenge. The Falcons rely on the pass, and quarterback Parker Riggin has completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 2,236 yards and 21 touchdowns.
But unlike many passing clubs, the Falcons also look to control the clock.
“We want to be able to move the ball down the field,” Foothill coach Martin Redmond said. “If we do that and run our offense and execute well, we’ll be able to not only control the ball but score as well. If we don’t do that, we just put a lot of pressure on our defense.”
The Falcons often use short passes to move the ball down the field, so Hall said third down might be the key.
“We’ve got to be big on third downs and creating turnovers,” Hall said. “If we can get off the field on third down and get the ball back to our offense, that’ll be big.”
The Wildcats have been dangerous on offense with varied threats. Running back Farrell Victor has rushed for 1,207 yards and 13 TDs. Quarterback Hasaan Henderson has thrown for 1,930 yards and 25 TDs with just two interceptions. Receiver Cameron Rogers has 45 catches for 981 yards and 15 TDs.
“They are a much-improved team from a year ago,” Redmond said. “They’re extremely fast, and their scheme’s gotten more complicated. They do a great job of getting their athletes the ball in space. They have four or five guys that can score from absolutely anywhere on the field.”
Las Vegas has had five players score on plays of 75 or more yards this season, led by Rogers with four. But Faircloth said moving the ball against Foothill won’t be easy. The Falcons, led by senior Keegan Buck, who has 18½ sacks, have allowed an average of 13.8 points.
“They don’t get out of position, and they put a lot of pressure on you,” Faircloth said. “Keegan Buck is a phenomenal football player. ... And the rest of their guys, they just play hard.
“They’re not real big, but God are they active.”