October 18, 2019 - 11:38 pm
When Aginae Cunningham has a big game, the Silverado football team generally follows suit.
The junior running back had a huge night Friday.
Cunningham rushed 21 times for 210 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Skyhawks to a 51-20 home victory over Southwest League rival Clark.
“Anytime he touches the ball, he has the ability to go the distance,” Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza said. “I’ve had some big-time backs here at Silverado, but nothing as explosive as him. He just has the ability to get away from everybody.”
Cunningham did just that on the game’s second play, scoring on a 40-yard sprint to put the Skyhawks (6-2, 4-1 Southwest) up 8-0.
Jacob Mendez made it 14-0 less than a minute later with a 49-yard TD reception from Brandon Tunnell.
The Chargers (5-3, 2-2) battled in the first half and cut the deficit to 14-7 when D’on Williams scored on a 3-yard pass from My’Quel Johnson with 6:59 left in the first quarter.
But Silverado’s offensive line dominated throughout, enabling Tunnell to connect with brother Bryson Tunnell for a 33-yard TD before Cunningham scored again by breaking several tackles while weaving his way to a 65-yard TD run to put Silverado ahead 27-7 early in the second quarter.
Ostolaza gave much of the credit to Mendez, a running back who had several big blocks while diverting Clark’s defensive attention with 120 yards on 11 carries.
Johnson connected with Kenneth Cason for a 32-yard scoring pass midway through the second quarter, but Silverado answered two plays later with a 28-yard TD pass from Tunnell to Jeremy Alipio to give Silverado a 34-13 halftime lead.
Aside from a 65-yard TD pass from Johnson to Deaundra Talton midway through the third quarter, the Skyhawks dominated the second half. Ostolaza said he wasn’t surprised.
“We made some offensive adjustments at halftime,” he said. “And we’ve just been better in the second half. It’s been that way all year.”
Cunningham ran for two more touchdowns in the second half, and Michael Darin nailed a 52-yard field goal on the last play of the third quarter to make it 51-20.
Ostolza said the win was significant for his team, as the game was a battle for second place.
“Today we clinched a playoff spot,” he said. “That will probably give us the No. 2 seed, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Tunnell completed 7 of 8 passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns for Silverado. Johnson completed 10 of 23 passes for 218 yards and two TDs for Clark.