High school football teams better take advantage of their scoring
opportunities against Sunnyside.
Cottonwood Mingus didn't, and as a result it left town with a 55-7
loss to the host Blue Devils last night in a Class 4A state football
Sunnyside (10-2) will move on to face recent nemesis Scottsdale
Chaparral (12-0) in the state semifinals next week. The game will be
played at a "neutral" location in the Phoenix area.
The Blue Devils have lost three straight times to the Firebirds,
including the 2000 state championship game and last year's state
Mingus, coming off a 21-20 win at Sabino last week, had a chance to
stay in the game against Sunnyside. But early missed opportunities
cost the Marauders.
Mingus took the opening kickoff and drove 58 yards, but came up empty
handed when a 21-yard field goal attempt missed.
(center) looks for some running room
in the first half of last night's 4A playoff game against
"We came back on our next drive and did the same thing,"
said Mingus senior quarterback Jon Wixom of his team's failure to
score early. "We just could not put it in."
Sunnyside (10-2) did not have a problem scoring. After the first
missed field goal, the Blue Devils marched 80 yards, capped by Xavier
Smith's 4-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0.
"They had a lot of speed. we just could not do much,"
said Mingus' sophomore defensive end Dalton Newell. "We had speed
to the outside, but then they started punching it up the middle."
Sunnyside led 28-7 at halftime - before turning the game into a
Smith led a Sunnyside ground attack that romped for 366 yards. The
junior raced for 174 yards and three scores on only 15 attempts.
His third score, a thrilling 50-yard run up the sideline, broke the
spirit of Mingus. It gave the Blue Devils a commanding 35-7 lead.
"We knew the team had to pick it up in the third
quarter," Smith said. "We wanted to make sure they did not
get any confidence."
Junior halfback David Morales scored on runs of 17 and 19 yards
while sophomore Mike Smith, Xavier's younger brother, got to the end
zone on a 59-yard dash in the fourth quarter.