Sunnyside quarterback Jamie Valdez
scoots through the Mountain Pointe defense for a
touchdown and a 28-7 Blue Devils lead in the third
quarter. Valdez finished with a game-high 108 rushing
james s. wood /
arizona daily star
Sunnyside senior Valdez bedevils Pride
QB runs for two scores, passes for two more
By Chris Davis
Special to the Arizona
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.08.2007
For all the attention Phoenix Mountain Pointe paid to
Sunnyside's backfield on Friday night, one might have
thought they'd get to the quarterback.
However, in its pursuit of slowing Blue Devils standout
running back Jovan Stevenson, the Pride overlooked
Sunnyside's senior signal caller.
It cost them.
Jamie Valdez rushed for a game-high 108 yards and two
touchdowns in leading Sunnyside to a 35-14 victory.
"If (nobody's) open I'm going to run it," Valdez said.
"That's our philosophy."
Due to poor field conditions at Sunnyside, the Blue Devils
(2-0) played their "home" opener at Amphitheater and started
Missed tackles and a pair of interceptions plagued Sunnyside
through most of the first half. But with less than two
minutes before halftime, the Blue Devils marched 80 yards to
take a 14-7 lead.
A 13-yard run by Manny Aguilar on third-and-four from
Sunnyside's 26-yard line keyed the eight-play drive. Valdez
capped it by running over two Mountain Pointe defenders for
a 2-yard score.
"Offensively we're not doing a bad job. We're where we
should be," Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez said. "But
defensively, that's where we need to put in more work. We're
not making the tackles that previous Sunnyside teams have."
It was the defense that helped put the game away just before
the end of the first half.
With less than a minute remaining, Sunnyside's Hugo Blanco
forced a fumble deep in Mountain Pointe territory that the
Blue Devils recovered. One play later, Valdez found Adrian
Lucero for a 15-yard touchdown, and Sunnyside, up 21-7,
never looked back.
"We needed something like that," Blanco said of the
turnover. "The team needed to get going."
Despite limited action in the backfield during the second
half, Stevenson still had 97 yards on the ground. And he
found a number of other ways to contribute.
Lined up primarily at the receiver position in the third and
fourth quarters, he caught two passes for 103 yards,
including one for a 65-yard touchdown.
Sanchez said Stevenson's all-around play-making talent makes
the offense that much more dangerous.
"He's a threat out there, and they're going to have to cover
him," Sanchez said. "We've got a pretty good running game
and have a lot of threats on offense."
On top of his rushing performance, Valdez threw for 137
yards and two touchdowns.