Sunnyside running back
Manny Aguilar steps away from Mesa Desert Ridge defensive
back Josh Tristan during the Blue Devils' lopsided victory
at Sunnyside High School.
greg bryan /
No. 2 Sunnyside dominates Desert Ridge
Devils' Aguilar runs for 84 yards in first half before injury
By Peter J. Stevenson
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.11.2006
Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez can't recall how many times he
has been to the playoffs in his 13 years as the Blue Devils'
But he won't hesitate to talk about Sunnyside's three trips to
the state championship game.
"That's our concern," he said before Friday's first round of
the 5A-II state tournament against No. 15 Mesa Desert Ridge.
"Our goal every year is to get to that game and try to win
The second-seeded Blue Devils began their annual quest with a
convincing 54-14 blowout victory over the visiting Jaguars on
Sunnyside (9-2) started off somewhat sluggish, punting the
ball away after three quick downs on its first possession.
The Blue Devils began to ignite halfway through the first
quarter when running back Manny Aguilar had runs of 10 and 20
yards on a 67-yard drive that set up a 1-yard quarterback
sneak by Sammy Olivas. It gave them a seven-point lead, and
they never let go.
finished with 14 carries for 84 yards. He was helped off the
field after injuring his leg in the first half and did not
In the second quarter, Sunnyside began to build some steam
when kicker Jesus Ortiz nailed a 28-yard field goal. The score
was set up after linebacker Zach Holmes squashed a drive by
Desert Ridge by recovering a fumble near midfield.
On Sunnyside's next possession Olivas caught the Jaguars'
defense off guard. On third-and-one at the Desert Ridge
48-yard line, Olivas passed to wide receiver Patrick Medina
down the left side for a 52-yard TD. He had four catches for
"I told my line, 'Give me some time and we'll get this play
off and score,' " said Olivas, who finished with 10
completions for 172 yards.
"My line stepped up to the challenge, and we pulled it out."
The score gave Sunnyside a 17-0 lead.
Desert Ridge (4-7) tried to answer with 1:45 left in the first
half when quarterback Clay Busch threw a 42-yard bomb to Ryan
Burchett that got his team to the Sunnyside 6-yard line.
But Holmes played spoiler yet again. He intercepted Busch's
pass in the end zone to secure his team's shutout heading into
In the third quarter, the Devils' Jovan Stevenson sliced
through the Jaguars' defense for TD runs of 25 yards and 19
yards. He had 8 carries for 72 yards.
Ortiz also added a 30-yard field goal that gave his team a
34-0 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.
The Jaguars finally scored in the fourth quarter when Busch
found Chris Heldore with a 14-yard scoring pass.
With 46 seconds left to play, Busch connected again with a
55-yard strike to Burchett down the right sideline for his
team's second score.
But at that point the outcome was decided.
Sunnyside racked up three more TDs in the fourth that secured
Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock said he is looking toward
the future despite his school's loss in its first playoff
"Nobody shut down our offense like that all year," he said.
"This year we tried to field a team … and now we're starting
to build a program."