Sunnyside’s upset of #1 I-Ridge puts focus on Tucson

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                </div>  It took a Tucson-area school to beat a Tucson-area school – and keep the game of musical chairs alive in prep football’s Division II. Sunnyside High School, from Oro […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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It took a Tucson-area school to beat a Tucson-area school – and keep the game of musical chairs alive in prep football’s Division II.

Sunnyside High School, from Oro Valley, overwhelmed Marana’s Mountain View High School Friday night, posting what that program can legitimately call a ‘signature win’.

That loss will remove Mountain View from its spot at the top of the D-II rankings as the Nighthawks become the latest to step down from the throne.  Scottsdale’s Saguaro High began the season in the No. 1 position, but now has two losses and Mountain View moved from No. 2 to the top spot.

Now, Mesa’s Skline High School, which started at No., 3, will likely move up to take its turn at No. 1.  The Coyotes are still undefeated after three games, averaging 42 points a game.  One of those wins was in their opener against No. 4-ranked Westview High, so their record is legit.

Sunnyside didn’t just beat the top-ranked team in their division, they routed the previously-undefeated Nighthawks in a 46-20 victory that runs their record to 2-1 and positions them as a contender going down the road to the playoffs.

The Blue Devils stunned the visiting Nighthawks by scoring on their first drive, with senior running back Ruben Figueroa capping the effort with a two-yard run that was the beginning of a march to a 26-0 halftime lead.

Figueroa is not the team’s leading rusher, with just 27.5 yards a game, but he had a big night when it counted most.  In addition to getting the scoring started, his 67-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter helped keep the lid on Mountain View’s attempt to get back in the game after it began to pick up some momentum with Sebastian Spencer‘s 75-yard kickoff return to start the second half.  Figueroa finished the night just four yards shy of the 100-yard mark.

Sunnyside’s quarterback Nick O’Hagin also had a banner night.  The 5’9″ senior contributed more than 400 yards of offense, throwing for 296 yards and running for another 131.

The other Tucson school that was in the mix early on has also fallen from grace.  Salpointe Catholic, which had high expectations after being listed at No. 6 in The Arizona Republic‘s pre-season rankings, is now a .500 team with two losses.

They were beaten this week by Tucson’s Ironwood Ridge High School in a surprising 33-7 upset in an important game between a couple of the biggest rivals on that side of the state.  The Nighthawks shocked Salpointe early with a 65-yard catch-and-run TD by junior running back Daniel Peabody in their first series of the game and held on to the lead the rest of the way.

That win puts the I-Ridge record at 2-1 and, on the surface, would indicate they could be a contender this year. However, this team is dependent almost entirely on the run.  Their total offensive output averages an anemic 157 yards a game, and 116 of those yards come on the ground.

But it’s early yet and lots of high school games to be played.  And lots of opportunities for the southern schools to rise to the top.