WENATCHEE - Take away Wenatchee's first six plays, and it could have been a different story.
Take away two extremely good defensive plays from the Panthers and it would have been a different game.
But this isn't the world of would'ves or could'ves and Wenatchee walked away from last Friday's hard-fought football game with an 18-6 victory over the Sunnyside Grizzlies.
Two long plays by the host Panthers gave them an early 12-0 lead in the first quarter. One was a 44-yard touchdown run by Tyce Thomas and then a long pass set up another Thomas touchdown to make it 12-0. After that, the Panthers would not be able to score again until the fourth quarter.
"They jumped on us real quick," Sunnyside Coach Mark Marro said. "They were real physical and quick."
Marro said he knew the Panthers were big, but admitted he had no idea how fast they turned out to be. Still, his Grizzlies played them tough and, if not for a few things going against Sunnyside, things might have been different.
Sunnyside closed the gap to within six points in the second quarter on a Nathan Cornelius 37-yard touchdown reception from Adrian Cantu.
Twice in the third quarter the Grizzlies were knocking at the Panther's door inside the 10-yard line. On fourth down-and-one a pass was knocked away and on the other series, a fade pass in the corner was tipped.
"Adrian (Cantu) threw the ball well," Marro said. "We played well, we just missed our shots."
The Panthers' last touchdown came after Sunnyside had actually intercepted the ball in the end zone but the Grizzly was called for interference. That set up Thomas' third score on a three-yard run.
Defensively, Cornelius and Gibby Briones each had interceptions in the end zone in the third quarter.
Marro said Cornelius, Briones and Eric Garza all played well in the defensive backfield.
"I was really impressed," he said. "Diego Burgueno flat out turned it up. He played great."
He pointed out Cantu's play on offense, noting the quarterback was under pressure most of the time, but still threw the ball well.
"We battled the entire game," he said. "It was very physical. We're going to mend ourselves and get ready for Davis next week.
Sunnyside (1-1) will next travel to Davis this Friday, Sept. 14, for a 7:30 p.m. game.
Sunnyside's Danny Alvarez rushed for 60 yards on 15 carries and Joseph Villanueva had 17 yards on five carries. Cantu completed 13 passes for 137 yards and one touchdown. Cornelius led all receivers with 65 yards on two catches, including a touchdown. Alvarez gained 25 yards on four catches and Gibby Briones had 22 yards on two catches.