PLAYOFF NOTEBOOK: Sunnyside wins despite four first downsby Geoff Grammer on Nov. 17, 2007, under Sports
Sunnyside loses stat sheet battle, wins on scoreboard
Sunnyside decided to give the chain gang at Ironwood Ridge High the night off.
The Blue Devils’ offense managed just one more first down (four) than touchdowns (three) in the Class 5A Division II quarterfinal game with Ironwood Ridge, but it was enough for a 21-14 win.
As advertised, Ironwood Ridge’s defense was as unforgiving. But Sunnyside turned three Ironwood Ridge miscues – two blown defensive coverages and a fumbled snap on a punt – into 21 points and watched its defense do enough down the stretch to avenge a regular-season loss (15-14) to the Nighthawks.
“We just try to take advantage of whatever they give us,” Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez said. “Sometimes, when these kids play with the heart like they did tonight, that’s all it takes.”
Ironwood Ridge couldn’t have played much better, dominating almost every statistic.
Sunnyside’s offense had only one drive last more than four plays and was outgained by Ironwood Ridge 332-188.
Three mistakes, 21 points. Jovan Stevenson got behind the Ironwood Ridge secondary twice (once for a 25-yard touchdown and once on a 72-yard touchdown). He also scored on a 1-yard touchdown after the Ironwood Ridge punter fumbled a snap and was tackled near the goal line.
“We know if we’re patient, we can bust a play eventually,” Sunnyside’s Jovan Stevenson said. “Coach asked us seniors at halftime, ‘What are you seniors going to do to make your season last more than 24 more minutes?’ We did whatever we could.”
That’s Dorados with a ‘D’
Canyon del Oro is usually known for winning big with its offense, but it was the other side of the ball that got it done for the Dorados in Friday night’s Class 4A Division I quarterfinal win over visiting Prescott.
No. 6 CDO stuffed the potent Prescott run game in an impressive 34-0 shutout.
“Well, we knew they were going to run the ball,” CDO coach Pat Nugent said. “Our defensive guys came up with a great game plan.”
Using a combination of speed and blitzes, the Dorados allowed just 68 rushing yards and 192 yards of offense.
Last week, the No. 14 seed Badgers rushed for over 200 yards to go along with five touchdown runs in a 34-28 upset of No. 3 Sabino last week.
“We haven’t played a lot of physical teams like we saw tonight, and we stepped up and showed we could play that kind of football,” Nugent said.
Prescott gained most of its yardage off of screen plays and reverses Friday night as the CDO front seven was able to successfully penetrate the backfield consistently throughout the night, forcing four turnovers.
De’Andre Penn forced two fumbles on two sacks of Prescott quarterback Joshua Chavez.
“We’re not the biggest, but we’re the fastest,” said Penn. “That’s our motto.”
Derek Matlock and Justin Kitchen each had an interception, with Kitchen making his pick in the Badger red zone.
– CHRISTOPHER VECK, firstname.lastname@example.org
Santa Rita’s speed proves too much for visitors
Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain did not underestimate the team speed of Santa Rita.
The Bears simply couldn’t keep up.
Despite a defensive game plan geared at stopping Santa Rita’s diminutive 1-2 punch of running back AuBura Taylor and J.J. Holliday, Bradshaw Mountain was rendered helpless against the speed of the Eagles’ offense in a 34-20 Santa Rita win in the 4A-II quarterfinals.
“(Santa Rita is) the fastest team we saw all year,” Bradshaw Mountain coach Chuck Apap said. “They are gonna give a lot of people trouble.”
Taylor and Holliday combined for three of the team’s five touchdowns, including consecutive drives capped by 30-plus yard Holiday touchdown receptions.
Taylor’s ability to break outside and down the sideline netted him 197 of Santa Rita’s 266 rush yards.
“(Taylor) would come inside-outside and just outran our guys,” Apap said. “We thought we were gonna be able to handle it, turned out we weren’t (able).”
Bradshaw Mountain (8-5) had its best record in its 4A history.
– TRAVIS ROEMHILD, email@example.com
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