FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson Citizen

Sunnyside's Mike Quiroz (4) dives to make a catch in the end zone but can't hold on. The Blue Devils still topped Santa Rita 44-6. 

4A SONORAN CHAMPIONSHIP: SUNNYSIDE UP, WAY UP


Tough Blue Devils stop Santa Rita, head to state tourney




With the consistency and tenacity that have become its staples, Sunnyside High claimed another Class 4A Sonoran Region football championship.

The Blue Devils had no problem handling host Santa Rita last night, winning 44-6.

Sunnyside (8-2, 7-0) approached the contest as it does every week: with a vengeance.

"This is expected," Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez said. "Every week we go out and expect to dominate."

Sunnyside will host a state tournament game next week, despite starting out 0-2.

Santa Rita, which came in No. 12 in power points, will have to wait until today to see whether it qualified for the state playoffs.

FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson Citizen

Santa Rita's Tim Bazua (56) makes a diving attempt at David Morales (28) in the 2nd half in the game that Sunnyside won the 4a Sonoran Championship 44-6.

The Eagles (7-3, 5-2) had some factors in their favor last night.

They had the top running back in the city, Paul Stewart, and experienced quarterback Bryan Tubaugh.

Neither proved to be enough.

Tubaugh ran for his life much of the game, getting sacked five times. He completed six of 11 passes for 76 yards.

Stewart rushed for 129 yards on 24 attempts, but 71 yards came on one play in the first half.

"We knew they liked to go to the outside, so we got our linebackers out there," Sanchez said.

Sunnyside's Xavier Smith was as tough as Stewart.

Spearheading a Blue Devils' rushing attack that had 291 yards, Smith ran for 154 yards and two touchdowns, one for 52 yards.

"Defensively, we were like a sieve," Santa Rita coach Louis Nightingale said. "Paul ran the ball fairly well, but we were just playing a better team."

Down 20-6 late in the second quarter, the Eagles were driving when Tubaugh fumbled and ended a chance to get the deficit under double figures.

With barely a minute to play, Sunnyside quarterback Jaime Cota completed five consecutive passes for 65 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown to Mike Quiroz that made it 27-6 at the half.