Behind a stifling defense and the relentless running of Mike Smith, the Blue Devils overcame a shaky 1st half that left them trailing 9-6 to the Mountain Lions. After a relatively quiet 1st half, Smith poured it on the Mt. View defense when he opened up the 3rd quarter with a 65 yard touchdown to put Sunnyside up for good and setting up a showdown with Tucson rival, Salpointe, for the region crown.
Carlos Encinas would put the Blue Devils on top midway through the opening quarter when he connected on the first of three field goals, this one from 25 yards out. Encinas would tack on three more early in the 2nd quarter when he hit from 35 yards out for a 6-0 lead. The Mountain Lions would get things rolling behind the versatile Joey Felix when he crashed in on QB sneak from a yard out, set up by an 18 yard Jared Hiller run. A bad snap cost Mt. View a PAT notching the score at 6.
Sunnyside would suffer a tough blow when QB Sammy Olivas was sacked at midfield, coughing the ball up to the Mt. Lions with just under a minute left in the half. Olivas was roughed up on the play and would sit out the remainder of the game. Felix would get Mt View in field goal range when he connected with Josh Morrow setting up a Stephen Mercer field goal as time expired in the 1st half to go up 9-6.
With Olivas out, Smith would have to carry the Blue Devils offense in the 2nd half and he answered on the first play from scrimmage with his 65 yard scamper and the 13-9 lead. Sunnyside continued to shutdown Mt View's bread and butter run game, forcing a punt only to have a bad snap give the Blue Devils possession at the Mt View 35. Sophomore QB Jamie Valdez made a tough throw to Alex Leon for 26 yards to get inside the 10, setting up Encinas' third FG of the night.
The Mountain Lions would only trail by a touchdown going into the 4th but they were their own worst enemy when back to back personal fouls set Sunnyside up inside the 10 this led to an 8 yard score from Smith. The Blue Devils would hold the Mt View offense in the game's closing minutes to seal the victory at 23-9.
Bottom Line: Mike Smith continues to be the work horse of the Blue Devils' offense with over 30 carries for the 3rd straight game but with Salpointe looming around the corner, Sunnyside will need to mix in the pass to keep the Lancers' D from keying on Smith. Backup QB Jamie Valdez looked sharp filling in for the injured Sammy Olivas, who may or may not be back for next weeks game, but both are young and will need to have a solid game to beat the Lancers.
Game Balls: Sunnyside: Mike Smith with 277 yards on 34 carries and 2 TDs. Backup QB Jamie Valdez showed good composure in a big region game especially with the Blue Devils trailing and made a few big completions under pressure to keep Sunnyside rolling.