Sunnyside quarterback Sammy Olivas dodges the Mountain View pressure during a passing situation Friday night. Olivas completed 6 of 13 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown against Mountain View.

mamta popat / Arizona Daily Star

Sunnyside defense steps up against Mtn. View

Devils cause five turnovers in triumph
By Chris Davis
Special to the
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 10.28.2006

This is the time of the year when Sunnyside's season truly begins.

For the Blue Devils, the regular season often seems to serve as a tuneup for what they have been working toward since the end of the previous season — the state playoffs.

After a businesslike 20-0 victory over Mountain View on Friday night, the Blue Devils now find themselves facing a showdown next week against Salpointe Catholic for the 5A Southern crown.

But win or lose against the Lancers, the Blue Devils know a berth in the state playoffs will follow.

Although Sunnyside remained unbeaten in the Southern Region, it did have a tough task Friday night against Mountain View, a squad that also finds itself in the thick of the postseason race.

And despite the final score, the Lions were a competitive match for the Blue Devils.

Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez said he expected a tight contest from Mountain View, and he got it.

"I expected them to come out and share the ball with all their (running) backs and try to run us over," Sanchez said.

Mountain View did just that, but the Sunnyside defense was ready for the challenge.

The Blue Devils' defense held Mountain View to three first downs in the game, and one of them came on a fourth-down penalty.

"Coach (Sanchez) tells us we have to prepare at the highest level to play at the highest level," said Sunnyside defensive back Marcus Laverty. "We think of how hard we work during the week, and then come out here and take it out."

Laverty was the ringleader of a group of Blue Devils who harassed Lions quarterback Ben Johnson, causing five turnovers.
Offensively, Sunnyside found it tough to run on an equally stingy Mountain View defense.

But quarterback Sammy Olivas picked apart the Mountain Lions just enough to keep them honest, opening holes for Jovan Stevenson and Manny Aguilar.

Stevenson rushed 25 times for 168 yards, including an 82-yard scoring effort in the second quarter.

"I played pretty well," Stevenson said. "I saw some holes and some reads, but my line did well, and I did what I do best."

Trailing 14-0, the Lions' best opportunity to get back into the game came at the start of the third quarter.

That's when Dan Moore returned the opening kickoff 84 yards to the Sunnyside 6.

But on the first play from scrimmage, Moore fumbled, and Sunnyside recovered.

The Lions never threatened again.

Sunnyside did struggle in one area. The Blue Devils were penalized 16 times for 120 yards.

"We just had far too many penalties, and we have to do a better job at eliminating our mistakes," Sanchez said.

With one game remaining in the regular season, though, Sanchez said his team is right where it needs to be.

"We've got a little more work to do, but I think we're going to be fine," Sanchez said. "Our quarterback looked good and our defense did a good job. So I think we'll be fine down the road."