Sunnyside Blue Devils running back Jovan Stevenson runs with the football in first half against Mountain View High School.

Nick Oza/ The Arizona Republic

Mountain View QB makes Sunnyside pay for blitzing



Odeen Domingo
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 30, 2006 12:00 AM

It's relentless. Like thunder during a storm.

Tucson Sunnyside blitzes every chance it has, never letting the opposing offense breathe. That's how its defense has given up just 20 total points in its first four games.

But Sunnyside didn't account for something Friday night at Mesa Mountain View - senior quarterback Riley Nielsen. A blitzing defense's worst nightmare.

Nielsen was able to avoid the rush for much of the game, finding open holes and open receivers. He ran for one touchdown, threw for another and led his team down the field for the game winner in Mountain View's 21-14 win over visiting Sunnyside.

"When they bring that rush, if they're blitzing that many guys there's definitely somebody open," said Nielsen, whose team improves to 4-1.

Sunnyside (3-2) was able to get to Nielsen early, sacking him three times in the first four drives.

But Nielsen scored his first touchdown on a 9-yard scramble, eluding a sack and finding a seam down the left sideline late in the second quarter.

Sunnyside was game all night. On the ensuing kickoff, Alex Leon went 99 yards for the touchdown as Sunnyside tied the game at 7.

Mountain View took a 14-7 lead late in the third on a 65-yard touchdown pass when Nielsen again scrambled away from pressure and found Grant Scurr all alone downfield.

But Sunnyside tied the game again in the fourth when Jamie Valdez threw a 16-yard touchdown to favorite target Patrick Medina.

With 4:52 left in the game, Nielsen orchestrated a seven-play, 69-yard game-winning drive, which ended in Micah Yetter's 5-yard scoring run. Nielsen completed three straight passes on the drive, which also was helped by Sunnyside's fourth personal foul of the game.

Mountain View coach Tom Joseph said Sunnyside had the best defense his team has faced this season.

But he acknowledged that a blitzing defense like Sunnyside's will eventually give up big plays.

"It worked for a while for them," Joseph said.

"But you can't blitz and cover everybody."