Blogs / Features
Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Desert Vista slips past Palo Verde in Sollenberger ClassicAug 18, 2012
It wasn't a carbon copy of Desert Vista's performance nearly nine months ago at University of Phoenix Stadium --- far from it in the miscue department -- but it turned out OK just the same.
Two strong touchdown drives in the third period along with shutdown defense paved the way for Desert Vista to rally past Las Vegas Palo Verde, 20-10, in the 7th annual Barry Sollenberger Classic. Turnovers-- four in the first half -- threatened to impair Desert Vista, but those disappeared in the second half.
(photo by Todd Shurtleff/MaxPreps.com)
A mix of pass and run and an impressive debut for Matt Young at quarterback made Desert Vista look the part of a team that will be among the contenders in Division I this season. Both schools were making their first appearance at the annual kickoff classic between top programs from Arizona and Nevada.
Young, a senior who played in the secondary and was the backup quarterback last year, completed 12-of-15 passes for 164 yards. He threw and interception on his first attempt then completed 12 passes in a row. The last two of those 12 came on the opening drive of the second half that ended in a DV touchdown and the Thunder taking the lead for good, 14-10 The TD was 47-yard strike to Austin Hicks with 10 minutes left in the third period.
"So far, that's 2-0 in this stadium," Young, who returned an interception for a touchdown the last time he played at the stadium in a 45-19 title-game win over Hamilton, said. ""I've been looking forward to playing quarterback after Cody Sokol and Hunter Rodriguez. did the last few years. We had a great game plan. Looked to throw some since they liked to stack the box. It was sloppy at times, but we were better the second half."
Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds thought Young would make an impression quickly as the new quarterback. The latter part of the second period and third proved it.
"Matt's a competitor, a competitive kid," Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds said. "He keeps his cool."
Desert Vista's defense, which was outstanding all night save one play, did its share in the third period. That unit limited Palo Verde to minus-1 yard while the Thunder offense racked up 115 yards in the quarter.
"Our defense played well," Hinds said. "Coach (Greg) Battle had them going tonight."
Palo Verde had three possessions in the third quarter, all resulting in three-and-outs. Desert Vista's ground game and two critical personal foul penalties combined for an insurance touchdown late in the third period. A 1-yard run by Zach Gonzalez capped the scoring for DV and for the game with 1:58 left in the third. Both teams were penalized a bunch. Palo Verde ended up with just over 100 yards in flags.
Desert Vista's fumble-itis (three lost fumbles in the second period) made the Thunder look sloppy. The last lost fumble led to a Palo Verde 23-yard field goal (Tom Randall) on the final play of the first half that boosted the Panthers to a 10-7 lead at intermission.
Desert Vista had scored first marching 72 yards in 12 plays from late in the opening period to early in the second. Running back Jarek Hilgers did the honors on a 9-yard to make it 7-0 with 10:36 left in the half.
Palo Verde, which had a solid game-opening drive stalled by an interception, answered right back. Three-year standout running back Lee Griggs used a a quick burst at the line of scrimmage and speed the rest of the way to complete a 71-yard scoring run at 10:16 of the second. Griggs rushed for 101 yards in the first half and finished with 114 yards."
"We had a lot of penalites, some from just being too excited," Palo Verde two-way starter Ryan Beaulieu, who had a 50-yard punt return for a TD nullified late in the fourth period by penalty, said. "They were a tough team. We knew they would be. They played better in the second half than we did."