WEST VALLEY - A steady downpour impacted kicking plays early in the game, as Sunnyside lost 35-6 this past Friday night to state-ranked West Valley in a Mid-Valley League contest.
The Rams scored after blocking a Sunnyside punt attempt to grab an early 7-0 lead. The Grizzlies responded with a drive to the West Valley-three. But a field goal attempt went nowhere when the ball slipped following the snap.
Yet another special teams struggle in the rain, a bobbled punt, put the Rams up 14-0 in the second quarter.
West Valley added another score in the second to go up 21-0 at halftime. The Rams then tacked on scores in the third and fourth stanzas to put the game away.
Sunnyside, which came up empty-handed on three other drives deep in West Valley territory, got on the scoreboard late in the game to prevent the shutout.
While the rain made it slippery going, Sunnyside's B.J. Miller was the game's leading rusher, toting the ball 35 times for 144 yards and the team's lone touchdown.
"It was a good effort by the kids," reflected Coach Mark Marro. "We're improving every game but our last two opponents (Prosser and West Valley) were both ranked schools."
The second half of the season gets interesting for Sunnyside (0-2, 0-5), which, as previously noted, has already played the league's best two teams. What's left are four teams - including the Grizzlies - vying for two additional playoff berths.
"Depending on how you look at it," Marro observed, "we've either had the good or bad luck to open league against Prosser and West Valley."
He added the next four games - beginning at home this Friday against Hanford - will provide the true measure of his team.
"This game (Hanford) is big for us because now we're competing for one of those two other playoff spots," Marro said.
Sunnyside - Sambrano 7-12-43, three int.
W. Valley - Jennings 1-4-7, Bush 3-5-15, one int.
Sunnyside - Miller 35-144, one touchdown; Villanueva 3-7; Sambrano 3- minus 15; Engel 2- minus 29; Graham 1-2.
W. Valley - Willden 12-101, one touchdown; Tanasse 8-129, three touchdowns.
Sunnyside - Coleman 3-27, Miller 2-6, Tyler 1-5.
W. Valley - Tanasse 2-13