Sabino defenders, including
Travis Graham (2), converge on Sunnyside wide receiver
Alex Leon in Thursday night's game at Sabino.
Greg Bryan /
Arizona Daily Star
Second-half TDs help Sabino end Sunnyside's streak
By Sarah Trotto
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.22.2006
Chris Lundgren couldn't remember exactly what happened on his
first touchdown run — or his second touchdown run, the
game-winner, for that matter.
"I got hit pretty hard," the Sabino High School senior running
back said with his hoarse voice.
Oh, but he'll remember this game for sure.
The Sabercats handed 5A Sunnyside its first loss to a local 4A
team since Sept. 12, 1997, with their 14-7 nonconference
triumph at home Thursday night.
"It's real big," said Lundgren, who rushed for a game-high 164
yards on 26 carries and scored both of Sabino's touchdowns in
the second half. "There are no power points involved, but it's
Sabino's victory also avenges a 51-20 loss to the Blue Devils
"It's huge," said Sabercats senior defensive back Travis
Graham, who intercepted a pass in the end zone with 9:37 left
in the game. "It's huge for our confidence and proving to
ourselves and everyone else that we can do it."
The Sabercats (4-0) made big defensive plays all night. They
prevented the Blue Devils (3-1) from scoring from the Sabino
10-yard line on third and fourth down at the end of the second
Junior Mark Dragosolovich intercepted a pass by Jamie Valdez
1:49 left to all but end the game.
"The difference in the game was their players made plays and
ours didn't," Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez said. "They
smacked our kids in the face and our kids didn't respond to
Sunnyside cut Sabino's lead to 14-7 with 4:41 left on backup
quarterback Jamie Valdez's 63-yard touchdown heave to Anthony
Aguilar on third-and-7. Sanchez said he inserted Valdez in
place of starter Sammy Olivas for the second half to "try
Valdez went 4 for 8 for 104 yards. Olivas was 4 for 10 for 38
Sabino took a 14-0 lead with 6:20 left on Lundgren's 6-yard
run following Graham's interception of Valdez in the end zone.
Graham made a diving catch in front of a receiver to rob the
Blue Devils on first-and-10 at the Sabino 11.
"I just knew they were trying to pass because our guys in the
middle were stuffing them and they had nothing," Graham said.
"He tried to run a slant on me, but I just got in position and
made the play."
The Sabercats scored eight plays later on Lundgren's 6-yard
run. A 36-yard catch by Sam Sharawara set up the touchdown.
Sabino scored on Lundgren's 4-yard run on its first drive of
the second half. Lundgren kept the 70-yard drive alive with a
14-yard run from the Sunnyside 25 on third-and-3.
After a broken play and a 5-yard run by Lundgren, Justin
Randall attempted a pass to Sharawara in the end zone, but a
pass interference call on Sunnyside brought the Sabercats to
the 4-yard line with a first down. Lundgren then muscled his
way through to score, and the extra point kick gave Sabino a
7-0 lead with 6:08 left in the third quarter.
"We opened up our offense a little bit," Sabino coach Jay
Campos said of the second half. "In the first half, we don't
want to do anything we're uncomfortable with. We just waited
and opened things up with more play action."
The teams played to a scoreless tie at halftime. The game
figured to be a defensive struggle. Sabino was giving up 4.7
points per game. Sunnyside was allowing two points per game.
"It was where we wanted to be," Campos said. "We wanted to
stay in the game in the fourth quarter."
Sabino prevented Sunnyside from scoring from the Sabercats'
10-yard line at the end of the second quarter. Alex Leon
caught a 9-yard pass from Olivas to bring the Blue Devils to
the Sabino 13 and a Jovan Stevenson 4-yard run brought the
Blue Devils to the 9 on first-and-10.
But the Sabercats' tackled Stevenson for a loss of 1 yard on
the next play. Patrick Medina could not hold onto a pass in
the back of the end zone on third down.
After a timeout, Sunnyside opted not to kick a field goal on
fourth down. Olivas took his time looking for an open
receiver, but Sabino's Travis Graham and Zack Green were
covering Medina so he couldn't make the catch with 2:22
remaining before halftime.
Leon returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown that was called
back because of a blocking penalty to start the second
Sabino's Bobby Bird missed a 37-yard field goal with 2:52 left
in the first quarter. After Randall was sacked for a loss of 9
yards, Lundgren got the Sabercats into field goal position
with a 13-yard run on third-and 19.
Randall completed 5 of 8 passes for 103 yards. Stevenson
rushed for 87 yards on 20 carries.
Most 4A and 5A games in the state were played Thursday to
allow players to observe Rosh Hashana today.