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Sierra Vista avenges regular season loss, ousts Gators

Sierra Vista’s football team had something to prove Friday, at least to itself.

The Mountain Lions accomplished that feat by exacting a bit of revenge in their Desert Region quarterfinal football matchup — a convincing 30-6 victory over visiting Green Valley.

“They are a really explosive team,” Sierra Vista coach John Foss said. “To hold them to six points is quite an accomplishment.”

The victory propels Sierra Vista (7-4) into the regional semifinals at Liberty next Friday.

It also avenged a loss to Green Valley (6-5) early in the season, when the Gators stormed back from a 21-0 halftime deficit.

“We wanted redemption for ourselves,” Mountain Lions quarterback Jordan Solomon said. “Right now, we’re going to cherish this celebration, cherish this win.”

On Friday, the Mountain Lions roared to a 17-0 lead with 2 minutes, 40 seconds left in the first half. Only a surprise play kept it from being another first-half shutout for Sierra Vista against the Gators.

On second and 26 from its own 25-yard line and just more than a minute to play in the half, Green Valley struck. Garrett Castro found Charles Milana streaking down the right hash behind the Mountain Lions’ defense for a 75-yard touchdown.

After a penalty, Green Valley missed the extra point that left the score 17-6 at the half.

Green Valley had 78 total yards before the touchdown pass. The Gators added another 52-yard connection that did not lead to points at the end of the half to finish with 205 total yards and an 11-point deficit.

Meanwhile, Sierra Vista managed only 93 total yards of offense in the first half.

But the Mountain Lions were aided by a 44-yard punt return for a touchdown from D’Andre Washington, a blocked field goal that was returned to the Green Valley 3 and eventually led to a touchdown pass from Jordan Solomon to Tavaris Andrews, and a fumble from Castro at his own 1 that turned into a Daunte Washington 18-yard field goal.

“We knew we could find some stuff open if we kept probing it,” Foss said.

Unlike the first time around again the Gators, Sierra Vista did find some offense in the second half. Solomon ended up throwing for 204 yards, completing 14 of 27 passes, and connecting for two touchdowns.

Washington showed his speed again with time running down, breaking free and going 53 yards for the game’s final touchdown with 1:37 to play.

Sierra Vista had mostly put this one away with the opening drive of the third quarter, though. The Mountain Lions needed just three plays, including a 59-yard scoring pass from Solomon to his freshman brother Jett Solomon, to extend the lead to 23-6.

In that loss early in the year, the Lions were outscored 26-0 in the second half.

“That was one we thought got away from us,” Foss said. “We wanted to try and get ‘em the second time around.”

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