The first time Sierra Vista’s football team kicked a ball Friday, it was a punt that went for minus-1 yard and led to a Spring Valley touchdown.
A bad omen for the Mountain Lions’ kicking game? Not a chance.
Host Sierra Vista took advantage of two huge special-teams plays in the first half and went on to a 37-27 victory over Spring Valley that created even more chaos in the Division I-A Sunset League.
The win inches the Mountain Lions (6-2, 4-2 Sunset League) closer to their first postseason berth since 2008 and creates a four-way tie atop the standings with Cheyenne, Faith Lutheran and Spring Valley.
“It’s a great program win because we haven’t beaten Spring Valley (since 2011),” Sierra Vista coach John Foss said. “They’re a very good team, they put up a good fight tonight. We were lucky to get some breaks, and the kids cashed in. They came together when they needed it.”
Oscar Aliaga threw three touchdown passes for Sierra Vista, while Maliek Broady and Daniel Godfrey each scored touchdowns rushing and receiving. Broady finished with a team-high 70 yards rushing.
The Mountain Lions started six drives in Spring Valley territory, and Sierra Vista’s average starting field position was its 47. That includes the Mountain Lions’ final drive that opened at their 15 after Spring Valley (5-3, 4-2) turned the ball over on downs with 35 seconds remaining.
Sierra Vista, which managed one first down and 10 yards of total offense in the first quarter, scored three touchdowns in a span of 2:59 early in the second quarter. After Aliaga hit Broady for a tying 57-yard touchdown, Colby Ceniza recovered a loose ball on the kickoff to set up Broady’s 24-yard touchdown run that put the Mountain Lions ahead 14-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, Joseph Butler recovered a fumble to set up Sierra Vista at the Grizzlies’ 19-yard line. Aliaga found Monquel Glasow three plays later for a 17-yard touchdown to boost the Mountain Lions’ lead to 21-7 with 7:15 left until halftime.
“It was real important to get those fumbles in the first (half). It kind of turned the momentum a little bit and got our kids a lot more positive,” Foss said. “Definitely with our offense, it gives us a great benefit when you have a short field.”
Godfrey had a 16-yard touchdown reception from Aliaga on a fourth-and-2 midway through the third quarter and tacked on a 13-yard touchdown run to put the Mountain Lions up 35-14 with 1:48 left in the third quarter.
Christian Tasi rushed for 93 yards and two touchdowns and finished 11-for-16 for 127 yards and a score for Spring Valley. Tasi scored on a 10-yard run 50 seconds into the fourth quarter and tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Vasquez to cut Sierra Vista’s lead to 37-27 with 2:46 remaining.
Michael Bianco finished with 76 yards rushing for the Grizzlies. He capped a five-play, 40-yard drive with an 11-yard TD run after Randal Grimes’ poor punt to put Spring Valley ahead 7-0 with 2:57 remaining in the first quarter.
Contact reporter David Schoen at email@example.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.