YAKIMA - Playing for their coach, the Sunnyside Grizzlies turned a 14-6 halftime lead into a 42-6 football blowout last Friday night in Yakima.
Sunnyside Coach Mark Marro received news his father had passed away hours before kick-off. He didn't want the news to be a distraction to his kids so he kept silent about his loss.
Still, word trickled down to the Grizzlies and they responded with a brilliant display on both offense and defense, totally dominating the Davis Pirates in front of the Pirates' home crowd.
"We played well," Marro said. "We moved the ball well, they (the Pirates) couldn't stop us."
The only thing that seemed to stop the Grizzlies was themselves, stalling three times inside the Davis 10-yard line three times in the first half.
"I felt they had some unfair pressure on them," Marro said, explaining the mistakes Sunnyside made in the first half. "In the second half, we calmed down."
Sunnyside scored late in the first quarter on a 19-yard Adrian Cantu pass to Gibby Briones. Later on in the second quarter, Sunnyside's Jesse Montelongo punched the ball in on a five-yard run to put Sunnyside up 14-0.
Davis was able to score on a mishandled punt attempt in the end zone. The Pirates were able to recover the fumble for a touchdown late in the first half, but missed the point after attempt and Sunnyside went to halftime with a 14-6 lead.
Sunnyside scored once in the third quarter and then opened it up in the fourth, scoring three times, including two touchdowns by Danny Alvarez.
"We threw the ball well," Marro said. "We had a few drops in the first half, but that was mostly nerves. We knew what we wanted to do and scheme-wise, we executed well."
Alvarez ran the trap well, piling up 167 yards on 19 carries. Cantu passed for 222 yards on just 12 completions. Villanueva led the Grizzlies in receiving with 73 yards on four catches.
Marro said his defense was exceptional.
"Coach Miller had a great plan going in to the game," Marro said of his defensive coordinator, Tyler Miller.
Diego Burgueno and Jose Barrajas led the Grizzlies' defense and Barrajas recovered a fumble. Andrew Rios, Montelongo and Kyle Pearson also performed will for Sunnyside on defense.
The win puts Sunnyside at 2-1 and the Grizzlies will open league play Saturday, Sept. 22 against the Kennewick Lions at 7:30 p.m.
After three games, Sunnyside has the number one offense and the number two defense in the Columbia Basin League. Cantu is the leading passer in the CBL and Alvarez leads the league in rushing.
"The next two weeks will be huge tests for us," Marro said. After Kennewick, Sunnyside will host Kamiakin High School Friday, Sept. 23. Kamiakin has the number two offense and the number one defense.