Sunnyside's Alex Leon (5) knocks the ball from Basha's Colby Denton.

  RENEE BRACAMONTE/Tucson Citizen

Sunnyside wins a 'dogfight'


75-yard drive ends in touchdown pass with 57 seconds left
By JESSIE VANDERSON
Tucson Citizen

Sunnyside High School got just what it needed: a tough, physical football game.

After dancing past their first two opponents this season, the Blue Devils had to slug it out for four quarters with a stout Chandler Basha team before posting a hard-fought 8-3 win Friday night at Sunnyside.

"That game was a dogfight," Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez said. "We told the team before the game the next three weeks are going to be dogfights, and they start tonight."

Trailing 3-2 midway through the fourth quarter, Sunnyside's vaunted defense stuffed a fake field goal attempt by the Bears at the Sunnyside 20-yard line.

Sunnyside took over the ball at its 25 and proceeded to drive 75 yards to score on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Sammy Olivas to wide receiver Alex Leon with 57 seconds left in the game.

"I told the quarterback to throw it to me and I would get it," Leon said. "This was for the game."

Sunnyside back Jovan Stevenson rushed for 118 yards on 27 attempts. Stevenson, a star cornerback on defense, helped the Blue Devils limit Basha to 179 yards in total offense.

"Our defense stepped up. We have a lot of pride and heart," Stevenson said.
The win improved the Blue Devils to 3-0 and set up a showdown Thursday night at Sabino between two of the city's best squads.

The Sabercats are 3-0 after defeating host Palo Verde 35-7 Friday. Host Sunnyside ripped Sabino 51-20 last year.

Against Basha, Sunnyside survived two interceptions, three fumbles and numerous penalties. The Blue Devils took a 2-0 lead in the third quarter after Bears quarterback Payton Lacivita was called for intentionally grounding while passing under intense pressure from Basha's end zone.

Basha went up 3-2 at the 8:33 mark of the fourth quarter when junior kicker Logan Myers made a 40-yard field goal.