High school football
Desert View beats district rival Sunnyside for 1st time since 1989
Desert View running back Alex Courtemance and his teammates had heard more than enough about district rival Sunnyside being the premier program of the two.
Well, Courtemanche and the Jaguars won’t have to listen to that chatter anymore. Not after Friday night.
The senior Courtemanche plowed through the Blue Devils for a game-high 242 yards and rushed for three touchdowns to power Desert View to a 42-20 win on homecoming night, keeping the Jaguars unbeaten and giving them just their second-ever victory against Sunnyside.
Courtemanche drove his team down the field as the fourth quarter ran out, falling less than one yard short of scoring another touchdown in the final seconds. Once the time ran out, Desert View fans poured onto the field to celebrate as Courtemanche congratulated teammates and quietly soaked it all in.
“I’m not a big fan of Sunnyside myself so I wanted to punch the ball in another time just to make them feel that much worse,” Courtemanche said. “It wasn’t until after that final whistle blew and the clock stopped that it finally set in that we beat Sunnyside. We made history.”
History indeed. The only other time Desert View knocked off its district rival came in 1989, when the Jaguars won 19-0 on the road. Since then, Sunnyside has won nine straight meetings, capped off with a 53-0 drubbing in 2014. The two teams didn’t play between 1994 and 2011 but the Blue Devils grew into of the state’s elite programs in that span, while Desert View posted just three winning seasons and had one playoff appearance.
'Can't get cocky'
“We had to come out on top and show Sunnyside who is coming up,” said Omar Yusuff, a senior lineman. “This means that Desert View is changing, it’s changing. Now we’ve got to keep finishing, keep going. We can't get cocky, we can’t get big-headed, we’ve just got to keep going and stepping up.”
Now the Jaguars, who face Cholla next week, are one victory from securing their first winning season since finishing 5-4 in 2000. Furthermore, they’re in prime position to contend for the 5A Southern region crown, making the possibility of qualifying for the postseason a legitimate possibility.
“Our kids are just doing a better job of listening and following directions, their hard work is paying off,” said fourth-year coach Robert Bonillas. “We just need to take it one game at a time, go back through our film, do our preparation and just keep getting better.”
Desert View led 28-0 heading into fourth quarter on Friday night but Sunnyside was starting to gain some momentum after being held without a first down until there was 1:46 left in the third.
“It’s a great feeling coming out and beating them with all these great fans and my teammates having a good time on the field,” said junior Chris Aros, who rushed for a 71-yard touchdown on Desert View’s first possession of the second half.
Two quick touchdowns by the Blue Devils made things interesting with less than 9 minutes to play. But Courtemanche responded with a 52-yard touchdown run on third down to put Desert View ahead 35-14 with 6:46 remaining.
The knockout punch came a couple of minutes later, when senior Carlos Teran pulled in an interception. One play late, quarterback Cesar Olivas found fellow senior Alex Baca wide open for an 80-yard touchdown, sending Desert View’s packed bleachers into a frenzy.
Sunnyside (2-4) managed to score again once more after that but the Jaguars were able to run out the clock from there, securing one of their biggest wins in program history. But Cortemanche and his teammates are hoping for more to celebrate over the coming weeks.
“This is a step,” Courtemanche said. “We’re not done with the season yet. We’ve just got to keep moving forward.”