Patrick Medina celebrates with Sunnyside teammates after
their 22-20 triumph over Salpointe clinched the Class 5A
Southern Region championship.
chris richards /
Devils rally, win title
Lancers' loss is their first of the season
By Patrick Finley
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.04.2006
It was the kind of play you see at the end of a football
movie. The flashy play that wraps up a game — and season — in
Sunnyside's version occurred with 7:31 left in Friday night's
game, rallying the Blue Devils from an 11-point halftime
deficit to snatch the 5A Southern Region title from Salpointe
Blue Devils were leading 16-14 when defensive back Marcus
Laverty intercepted a Max Fritz pass over the middle.
Taking over at the Salpointe 29-yard line, Sunnyside ran for
two yards and threw for eight, setting up first-and-10 at the
Sammy Olivas crawled under center and took the snap. He faked
a dive up the middle to running back Jovan Stevenson, who
finished with 118 yards on 24 carries. Laverty, who had run a
reverse earlier in the game, ran toward Olivas, who faked the
Olivas looked up the field and saw wide receiver Anthony
Aguilar on the right sideline.
Olivas — who finished 7 for 13 for 146 yards — threw a bullet
into the end zone for a touchdown.
"They weren't expecting that," Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez
Maybe the Lancers should have. Sunnyside ran a version of the
play last week.
"We've seen them overpursue so much and we wanted to go after
it," Olivas said. "It was open today and we ran it correctly."
Blue Devils, however, missed the extra point and led by only
Salpointe then rallied down the field on the next possession,
spurred by a 69-yard catch-and-run by wide receiver Jacob
Hauptman. Fritz, who struggled with the pass in the second
half, ran a planned quarterback dive up the middle for a
his two-point conversion failed when his pass to Hauptman fell
Sunnyside fans then stormed the field to celebrate the title
as time expired.
halftime, it was hard to fathom that the Blue Devils (8-2,
5-0) had a chance to break Salpointe's (9-1, 4-1) four-year
region winning streak. Sunnyside fumbled four times, losing
three, in the first half alone.
they trailed 14-3 with less than two minutes left in the half.
The play they made then saved the game.
Lancers were facing a first-and-goal at the 9 when Fritz
dropped back and looked for wide receiver Matt Ransom in the
end zone. But his throw was low and intercepted by Alex Leon.
had fumbled twice earlier in the game before missing the
second half with a foot injury.
they had scored, it would have been 21-3," Sanchez said. "That
was a great play."
Entering the game, Fritz had thrown 18 touchdown passes, the
most in Southern Arizona. He finished 8 of 17 for 147 yards
and two touchdowns.
Ransom finished with three catches for 43 yards and one
Sunnyside win meant more than playoff jockeying. It was a
chance for the Devils to get revenge. Last year, the Lancers
won the 5A Southern Region title with a 27-16 win over
Blue Devils trailed 21-2, but rallied to within five points
with less than five minutes left. But Salpointe's Levess Eafon
sacked Olivas to seal the win.
time, it was Olivas, who finished with three touchdowns, all
"That school was on my mind since last year, ever since they
took the region," Olivas said. "Our confidence is boosted
StarNet: Listen to a podcast of Friday night's Sunnyside-Salpointe
game at prepsports.azstarnet.com
Bryan Rosenbaum contributed to this story.