Former UNLV and NFL star quarterback Randall Cunningham has always known how to keep his cool, even if he was scrambling out of the pocket, or firing downfield under defensive pressure.
This past week, though, as he prepared for his coaching debut with Silverado, he became a bit unnerved when some prognosticators picked against his team versus Shadow Ridge.
“That kind of got up under my skin,” he said.
And it fired him up, along with his coaching staff and team, which came away with a 23-14 road win behind running back Keikiokalani Misipeka.
“These kids are big on (social media) and they did see something, and they brought me an article about us being underdogs,” Cunningham said. “I guess we were supposed to lose this game. Normally I don’t care about that stuff, but it kind of lit a fire under us.”
Paced by Misipeka, who rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown, Silverado tallied 305 yards of offense.
Quarterback Micah Weber finished 6 of 15 passing for 126 yards and a touchdown.
“We just wanted to be the best we could possibly be, so we wanted to get a team win, first of all,” Weber said. “Our line did a great job this week, and we had a lot of second-team linemen step up for us in there.
The Skyhawks opened a 9-0 lead in the second quarter, after Weber hit ZaKee Washington on a 70-yard broken play with 9 minutes, 34 seconds left in the half. A high snap from the shotgun formation sent Weber scrambling, but after getting open in the flat, Washington caught the ball and darted down Shadow Ridge’s sideline for the score.
The Mustangs wasted no time answering, as Malik Jackson took the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown, cutting the gap to 9-6.
After a Silverado penalty on the first play of the second half, the Skyhawks’ Andrew Pappas picked off Shadow Ridge quarterback Kassius Swain and rumbled 27 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 16-6.
Dominick Wilson led Shadow Ridge’s offensive attack with 67 yards rushing on 15 attempts.
“I think it wasn’t necessarily what they did to us, as much as it was what we did to ourselves, and it was uncharacteristic,” Shadow Ridge coach Travis Foster said. “Yeah, they got a couple of real good defenders out there, but they’re certainly not the best that we’re going to see. We’re going to see the cream of the crop up here in the Northwest. And if we don’t improve it’s going to be a tough one for us.”
For the game, Silverado’s defense held the Mustangs to just 119 yards.
“I love what our defense did,” Cunningham said. “I mean, our defense is ridiculous. These guys love to hit, that’s what they do.”
Cunningham said he was impressed by the way his team fought all summer and zeroed in on the season opener.
“It was a blessing just to watch these kids work in a new regime,” he said. “The kids played ball. … These kids are resilient, they believe in the program and they love each other as a team.”