Smith (25) was just getting started when he scored on this 80-yard
kickoff return. The running back added 238 yards rushing and four more
touchdowns in Sunnyside's 51-20 win over
Mr. Smith goes to the end zone: RB's 5 TDs carry Sunnyside over Sabino
What many observers thought could have been Sabino's coming-out party turned into a Sunnyside shindig.
The Blue Devils, with a huge performance from Mike
Smith, stunned their highly rated visitors and finished with a 51-20
rout in the Tucson Citizen's Spotlight Game of the Week.
"We won the game against a quality program. They're a
good team," said Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez. "I'm happy for the
kids. They've worked so hard for so long, and those other games, we've
let them slip. Tonight we were determined not to let it slip."
Class 5A-II Sunnyside came into the game with a 1-2
record, with both losses coming after leads were blown in the second
half. Sabino, now 3-1, entered ranked as the No. 2 Class 4A-I team in
the state and was looking for a big win to make a statement against a
But the Blue Devils (2-2) quickly made it clear that
unblemished records and high rankings don't mean diddly squat.
The first snap of the game went over Sabino
quarterback Justin Randall's head and ended up as a safety for a 2-0
Blue Devils lead.
Sunnyside's Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a score.
And Sabino's second drive didn't go any smoother, as
Blue Devil Marques Laverty sacked Randall, then intercepted him on the
next play and returned it 30 yards for a score.
The quick succession of big plays gave Sunnyside a
16-0 lead with fewer than three minutes gone in the game. And the Blue
Devils' offense had yet to take the field.
"You give a team 16 points before your defense even
takes the field and you're not going to win many football games," said
Sabino coach Jay Campos. "That's on us. Sunnyside came out hard, and
they played hard early on, and we made a lot of mistakes.
"If a football team wants a chance to win, you've got to come out ready to win."
Smith didn't make it any easier on Sabino. The senior
running back outshined Sabino's touted duo of Glyndon Bolasky and Brooks
Reed. In addition to his kickoff return for a score, Smith ran for 238
yards and four touchdowns. Bolasky finished with 89 yards and a
touchdown, and Reed had 126 yards and a touchdown.
Sabino's Codi Harshman tries to corral a pass as
Sunnyside's Jovan Stevenson defends in Sunnyside's 51-20 victory.
"We came out here, and everybody doubted us, and coach
pushed us hard," Smith said. "We've just got to keep pushing ourselves
and get better."
Smith added touchdown runs of 47 and 7 yards to make it 30-0 midway through the second quarter.
Sabino got on the board with 2:30 left before the half
with a 15-yard pass to Jakob Stallings, but Sunnyside quarterback Sammy
Olivas hit Patrick Medina for a 36-yard touchdown less than two minutes
later to make it 37-7 at intermission.
Bolasky and Reed scored in the second half with runs of 31 and 15 yards, respectively.
But it didn't matter much, because Smith also found the end zone twice after the break.
"(Smith has) played big in all four games, It's just
nobody has recognized it because of the losses," Sanchez said. "But he's
a good player. He's a good running back, he runs hard and plays with a
lot of heart."
Despite the big lead, Sanchez wasn't about to rest until the game's end.
"I still wasn't feeling too good until the end of the
fourth quarter. I started looking up and seeing how many times we had to
score," he said. "I was still hoping we would have had a stronger
finish than we did."
Sunnyside will have its hands full next week when it
hosts power Mesa Mountain View. The game will be aired live on Cox