Sunnyside's Oscar Grijalva (3) helps teammate Adrian Carrillo bring down Mountain View's Benson Brooks. Sunnyside won the matchup of 5A powers 23-18.

DEAN KNUTH / ARIZONA DAILY STAR

2nd-half explosion


Blue Devils get over sluggish start, beat perennial 5A power
By Sarah Trotto
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.18.2009

By halftime, Sunnyside had turned the ball over three times, committed numerous costly penalties and scored no points.

The poor performance made for a simple halftime speech.

"I just told them we stunk the place up, and we were only three points down or six points down. I forget what it was," Blue Devils coach Richard Sanchez said. "I just told them if we came out and played a little bit, we could win the game."

Host Sunnyside retook the field and played sure enough, scoring 23 second-half points to overcome a six-point halftime deficit to prevail 23-18 over perennial 5A power Mesa Mountain View on Thursday night.

Blue Devils senior back Kevin Harrigan rushed for 87 of his game-high 110 yards after halftime. He scored on a 7-yard run to give Sunnyside (3-0) its first lead, 10-6 with 7:08 left in the third quarter, and on a 10-yard run for a 17-6 lead with 3:40 remaining in the period.

"Our passing game wasn't working," Harrigan said. "We needed to keep running the ball."

The Blue Devils rushed for 210 yards overall, sending Mesa Mountain View (1-2) to its second consecutive loss. The Toros, last season's No. 1 seed in the 5A-1 playoffs, were coming off a 42-10 loss to Scottsdale Chaparral.

"We made too many mistakes, too many mental mistakes, and that's what got us beat," Toros coach Tom Joseph said.

Mountain View cut the lead to 17-12 with 10:34 remaining in the game on quarterback Brad Heap's 20-yard run up the middle. But the two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Toros were forced to punt on their next possession with 6:15 left.

The Blue Devils then pulled ahead 23-12 on Perry Shazier's 24-yard touchdown pass to Chris Howard with 3:41 left. The extra-point attempt missed. Howard finished with nine catches for 101 yards.

Mountain View scored with 43 seconds remaining on a 7-yard touchdown pass, but its two-point conversion attempt failed.

"We know we definitely have a shot at state. That's our main goal," Harrigan said.

Last season, Mountain View reached the semifinals of the 5A-I playoffs.

"We were playing Mountain View. We were playing the tradition," Sanchez said. "We just had to get our kids to believe they could beat a program like that."

Toros fullback Jacom Brimhall, who rushed for more than 1,600 yards last season, finished with 67 yards on 17 carries.

Sanchez said his team played its nickel defense in the first half before switching to its base defense with four linemen, which was more effective.

Mountain View led 6-0 at halftime after scoring on Brimhall's 13-yard run with 6:14 left in the second quarter. The Toros' two-point conversion attempt on a throw failed.

An apparent 35-yard touchdown pass for Sunnyside with 55 seconds left in the first half was negated by a holding penalty. Sunnyside turned over the ball three times — all on interceptions — in the first half.

The Blue Devils finally scored on Hector Solis' 49-yard field goal a little over a minute into the third quarter.

"I know they had a few guys banged up," Sanchez said. "Our kids did a good job of getting on them and staying on them."