Citizen Staff Writer
Playing great defense and controlling the clock, the Sunnyside High football team was too much for Salpointe Catholic to handle in the Tucson Citizen Spotlight Game.
The Blue Devils (4-0), who were coming off a shutout win last week, put the clamps on another offense in a 17-0 win over the host Lancers (1-3) in front of more than 5,000 fans.
The Blue Devils put together a clinic in the first quarter that set the tone for the game. Sunnyside went on a 17-play drive that consumed almost the entire period.
The Blue Devils were held to a 40-yard field goal on the first possession by Hector Solis for the only points they would need.
“We came out to play, and they came out to play. It was a total dogfight,” said Sunnyside’s Manny Aguilar, who finished with 48 yards on eight carries. “Everyone knows what they have to do. It gives us full momentum into the region.”
Sunnyside quarterback Jamie Valdez was difficult to stop. He rushed for 31 yards and connecting on 11 of 16 passes for 166 yards.
Valdez connected with Marc Villacaña for a 19-yard touchdown pass with four seconds left before halftime to put the Blue Devils up 17-0.
Sunnyside back Jovan Stevenson had put his team up 10-0 with a 55-yard touchdown run in the first half. He finished with 146 yards on 11 carries.
“I think the kids played well tonight,” Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez said.
Salpointe (1-3) is in unfamiliar territory with the loss. The last time it started 1-3 was in 1999, when the Lancers finished 6-4.
Backup running back Chris Miller was a bright spot for the sputtering Lancers’ offense. He rushed 22 times for 115 yards.
“Miller did a nice job for us. We tried to change the tempo,” Salpointe coach Dennis Bene said. “We’re just not a potent offense right now.”
Miller had back-to-back 12-yard runs during the Lancers’ opening drive, which put Salpointe in a position to tie the game.
But the snap was mishandled, leaving Salpointe down three.
The Lancers finished with 189 total yards, while Sunnyside rolled up 381.