RICHLAND - The Sunnyside High School football team got on the winning track in the Mid-Valley League this past Friday night with a 24-6 thumping of Hanford.
"I was really pleased," said Sunnyside Coach Mark Marro. "We controlled the ball the entire game. I thought we played a total game."
A lot of the success for Friday night's victory can be attributed to the offensive line of Sunnyside, which opened the running game of the Grizzlies. Sunnyside's offensive line allowed Greg Gilleland and Joe Schwartz to run all over Hanford's defense. Gilleland had a very impressive night for Sunnyside, racking up 211 yards on 26 totes and two rushing touchdowns, while Schwartz had 155 yards on 21 carries.
"They ran the ball well," said Marro of his two backs. "I am real happy with how they performed."
Sunnyside scored in the opening quarter when Gilleland scampered in for a touchdown from seven yards out. The Falcons also got on the board in the first quarter when a Grizzly fumble gave Hanford a short field to work with for a touchdown. Sunnyside was able to block the extra point attempt by the Falcons to lead 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Gilleland had his second touchdown of the night in the second quarter when he scored on a 15-yard run.
The Grizzlies took a 14-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half opened with a quiet third quarter as neither team could find the back of the end zone.
Sunnyside, though, exploded for 10 points in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Grizzly kicker Pete Marquez nailed a 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Sunnyside's final score came off a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown by Gilleland.
The Grizzlies didn't put the ball in the air very much Friday night as quarterback Tony Cantu completed only 3-of-5 passes for 20 yards. Marro said Sunnyside didn't throw the ball much because the ground game was working so well.
"We were getting five to 20 yards a run," said Marro.
Marro said what was key for the Grizzlies on Friday night was they were able to control the line of scrimmage, which he said dictated the pace of the game.
Marro also gave credit to Sunnyside's defense for its efforts on Friday night in shutting down the Falcons.
The Grizzlies (1-2, 3-3) will be hosting Wapato this coming Friday in Sunnyside's Homecoming game.
Marro said despite Wapato's less than stellar record, he isn't going into the game underestimating the Wolfpack.
"They have nothing to lose," said Marro. "I am hoping for a good game. We are not taking anything for granted."