Citizen Staff Writer
Sunnyside quarterback Jesus Vega summed up 48 minutes of intensity Friday night.
“No better feeling,” he said after the Blue Devils’ 27-24 win over visiting Ironwood Ridge.
Last season, the Blue Devils knocked Ironwood Ridge out of the Class 5A Division II playoffs. Both teams will go back again this year, although Sunnyside now sits in the driver’s seat for the 5A Southern-II region.
Vega, a senior who transferred from Cholla to join brother and teammate Manny Aguilar, threw two interceptions in the first half, stalling the Blue Devils offense.
But he and his brother carved up the Nighthawks defense in the second half in coming back from a 24-14 deficit.
Vega threw two touchdowns in the second half and for 267 yards for the game, while Aguilar rushed 18 times for 123 yards and the 4-yard winning touchdown scamper with 7:10 to play.
Ironwood Ridge had the intention of repaying the state game last November. Not that it mattered to Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez.
“I don’t read the newspaper much so I don’t know,” he said.
“They got behind us in the first half and completed some big passes. The second half, no deep balls against us.”
Instead, it was the Blue Devils who went deep and often. Sunnyside (7-2, 2-0) also got its run game going, including a 36-yard touchdown run by Alfred Leon in the third quarter to cut Ironwood Ridge’s lead to 17-14.
Later, Brandon Vaughn caught a 12-yard scoring pass from Vega to bring Sunnyside within 24-21, setting up Aguilar’s go-ahead run.
The Nighthawks couldn’t answer the physical challenge, and were outgained 451-267.
“They exploited some of our defensive weaknesses the second half,” said Ironwood Ridge coach Gary Minor, whose team fell to 7-2 overall and 1-1 in region play.