PASCO - A 12-yard TD pass from Andrew Daley to James Sanchez with under three and a half minutes to play, coupled with a 27-yard field goal by Israel Manzo with just 47 seconds left in the game rallied the Sunnyside Grizzlies to a 22-21 victory over the Pasco Bulldogs.
The unlikely win by the 3A Grizzly football team last Friday night spoiled 4A Pasco's homecoming festivities.
"We could have easily quit at the end of the game," said Sunnyside Coach Mark Marro. "It's a credit to our kids that they battled and came back to win it."
The victory was Sunnyside's first of the season, after opening with four consecutive losses. The 0-4 record the Grizzlies took into Pasco's Edgar Brown Stadium, however, may have caused the Bulldogs to overlook Sunnyside.
"We haven't exactly been playing slouches," said Marro, noting that one of his club's losses came against a 4A team ranked in the Top 10 in Washington state and another defeat was to 5A Lewiston, ranked in the Top 5 in Idaho.
Pasco, clinging to a two-point lead after three quarters of action, broke things open early on in the final period when Austin Wilborn scampered seven yards for a score. The ensuing PAT upped the Bulldogs' lead to 21-12.
Sunnyside then stitched together a nearly 70-yard drive that ate more than four and a half minutes off the clock, culminating with Daley's 12-yard TD toss to Sanchez. Manzo's extra-point kick got the Grizzlies back within two, at 21-19.
An onsides kick by the Grizzlies didn't pan out, giving Pasco good field position. The Bulldogs were unable to take advantage, though, as Sunnyside stiffened on the defensive side of the ball and held on downs. The Pasco punter then got off a kick that traveled less than 20 yards, giving the Grizzlies the ball near midfield with just over two minutes left in the CBBN contest.
With no timeouts, Sunnyside proceeded to move the ball into field goal territory. A 15-yard reverse by Manzo and a lengthy pass completion from Daley to Victor Rios were the key plays in the drive.
Manzo then lined up and drilled the game-winning field goal.
With 47 ticks on the clock, Pasco had four opportunities to air out the ball. On the final pass in an attempt to convert the fourth down play, Manzo came up with his second interception of the game to seal Pasco's fate.
The Bulldogs fell to 1-3 in the Columbia Division of the CBBN, 2-3 overall. Sunnyside is now at 1-2 in the Columbia Division, 1-4 overall.
Early on last Friday the Grizzlies stunned Pasco...the 4A State champs in 1998, 2000 and 2003...by forging a 6-0 first-quarter lead. Danny Almeida broke the ice for Sunnyside when he bulldozed his way into the end zone from three yards out.
For Almeida, it was one of 20 carries he had in the game. He finished as Sunnyside's second leading rusher, netting 81 yards on the ground. Manzo proved to be the top runner for the Grizzlies. He gained 87 yards on 11 totes.
The Grizzlies had the 6-0 shutout going until late in the second quarter. With just under four minutes until halftime, Pasco finally got on the scoreboard when Josh Morris lofted a 5-yard TD pass to Jacob Price. The PAT by E. Martinez gave the 'Dogs a 7-6 lead.
For Morris and Price, the second quarter, go-ahead hook-up was one of six times in the game the duo connected through the air.
Sunnyside coughed the ball up on its next possession and the Bulldogs made the Grizzlies pay just before intermission. DeVaunte Lamb, the leading rusher in the game with 112 yards on 16 carries, broke off a 39-yarder to pay dirt to give Pasco a 14-6 lead.
The Grizzlies fought back after halftime, however, closing the gap to 14-12 when Manzo hauled in a 13-yard scoring strike from Daley with 2:08 left in the third quarter.
Daley finished the night with 11-for-22 passing numbers. The 111 yards through the air also included two interceptions.
In trying to chain up the Bulldogs last Friday, Marro said the game plan was to try and contain the weapons Pasco has.
"We adapted pretty well defensively," he said, noting Pasco changed things up and ran three different types of offensive sets.
A host of Grizzlies stood out on defense, but there were five players who especially shined. Manzo, normally playing at cornerback, was switched to outside linebacker for much of the game and came through with two interceptions. Cornerback Leo Cueller also had a pick, which was his league-leading sixth interception of the season. Almeida, playing linebacker, was in on a team-high nine tackles last Friday, and nose tackle Jose Barajas had eight defensive stops. Adrian Ramirez also got in on seven tackles last Friday.
"It was a fun game. A lot of great things happened for us," said Marro.
In looking ahead to this coming Friday's homecoming game, Sunnyside will host the rebuilding and much-improved Davis Pirates.
"We know Davis is run-oriented, but they have a speedster, a wideout named Trimble, who is pretty hard to stop," said Marro.
RUSHING - (S'side) Andrew Daley 1- -8, Victor Rios 4-8, Israel Manzo 11-87, Danny Almeida 20-81. (Pasco) DeVaunte Lamb 16-112, Brandon Search 3-25, Austin Wilborn 3-15, Josh Morris 1- -8, Jacob Price 4-11, Bevin Whatby 4-11.
PASSING - (S'side) Andrew Daley 11-22-111-2. (Pasco) Josh Morris 17-28-180-2, Brandon Search 0-1-0-1.
RECEIVING - (S'side) Leo Cueller 1-1, James Sanchez 2-20, Victor Rios 4-58, Israel Manzo 2-20, Danny Almeida 2-13. (Pasco) DeVaunte Lamb 1- -2, Brandon Search 1-5, Austin Wilborn 5-70, Jacob Price 6-52, Marques Avery 3-5