Updated November 21, 2022 - 10:16 pm
For the first time all season, Silverado faced a challenge.
The Skyhawks were pushed to their limits against Shadow Ridge in Monday’s Class 4A state championship game at Allegiant Stadium.
Just like it’s done all season, Silverado relied on its senior stars to make a play. And they did just that.
On third-and-13, facing heaving pressure, Silverado senior quarterback Brandon Tunnell connected with Donavyn Pellot for a 22-yard touchdown pass that sealed a 51-27 win for the Skyhawks.
It’s the second consecutive 4A state title and 24th straight win for Silverado (12-0).
“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Silverado coach Andy Ostolaza said. “To have two years like this, with these kids, some who have been with us since freshman year, and have built this program, it’s a great feeling for everybody.”
The touchdown pass to Pellot, which gave the Skyhawks a 44-27 lead, wasn’t the only impressive play from Tunnell on the drive. Earlier, facing a third-and-13 and a rowdy Shadow Ridge crowed, Tunnell couldn’t find an open receiver. He tucked the ball and scrambled for 14 yards to keep the drive alive.
Senior running back Caden Harris also had a key 22-yard run and slid in-bounds to keep the fourth quarter clock winding. Harris added a 38-yard touchdown later in the quarter as one of his two rushing scores. He also had a receiving touchdown.
Silverado needed a little luck, too. With the game tied at 21 early in the third quarter, Harris took a handoff from Tunnell and appeared to have an easy 12-yard touchdown.
But Harris was hit just short of the goal line and fumbled the ball. Fortunately for Silverado, one of its linemen fell on top of the ball in the end zone, and the Skyhawks retook the lead.
On the ensuing Shadow Ridge drive, Silverado sacked Mustangs quarterback Coen Coloma on third down. Backed up at its own 12-yard line, ready to punt, the snap sailed out of the end zone for a safety.
Silverado made quick work of the short field. With Pellot and Harris getting touches, the Skyhawks started to run through a tired Mustangs defense. Tunnell finished off the drive with a quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line for a 37-21 lead.
“Brandon came up with the biggest game of his life tonight,” Ostolaza said of his quarterback, who had three passing touchdowns.
Shadow Ridge gave Silverado fits in the first half with its running game. The Mustangs ran early and often, riding their workhorse senior running back JaQuieze Holland, But he suffered an apparent injury midway through the first quarter and did not play the rest of the game.
Junior running back Evan Cannon filled in and rushed for 76 yards in the first half and a touchdown, his first of three on the night.
But while Silverado had trouble stopping Cannon, it made a pair of fourth-down stops in the first half that the Skyhawks turned into touchdowns on the other end.
“I have to credit our offensive line,” Ostolaza said. “They came out in the second half and controlled the line of scrimmage. That’s what made the difference in the second half.”