Silverado hadn’t been tested all season, rolling through its first three opponents, the closest call a three-touchdown victory Aug. 27 over Shadow Ridge.
The Skyhawks finally were tested Friday night by visiting Coronado, but the end result was largely the same, with Silverado scoring the final 22 points to win 32-14.
The game ended nonleague play for Silverado, which went 4-0 and sent a strong message that it was the team to beat in Class 4A.
“This was the first time we’ve ever been down this season,” Skyhawks coach Andy Ostolaza said. “We responded well, and it showed a lot about our kids. They made some mental errors, but down the stretch, our line kind of wore them down on both sides of the ball.”
Silverado was especially effective running, totaling 258 yards. Quarterback Brandon Tunnell passed for 171 yards and rushed for 46, accounting for two touchdowns.
“They’re probably one of the hardest teams we’re going to face all season,” Tunnell said. “It shows us that we’re up there if we work hard. If we focus and execute, we can beat basically anybody.”
Coronado (1-2) was coming off a 35-14 loss to Class 5A Green Valley, but the Cougars let it be known they weren’t going to be pushed around. And they weren’t, at least for the first three quarters.
“We just have to learn how to be in a fight,” Coronado coach Fred Biletnikoff Jr. said.
Both teams exchanged quarterback sneaks for touchdowns in the second quarter, and it appeared they would head into halftime 7-7. But then Tunnell completed a 39-yard pass to Marcus Council with two seconds left to set up Tunnell’s 36-yard field goal and 10-7 lead.
Silverado nearly built on that lead, but its drive stalled at Coronado’s 8-yard line early in the second half. That was a little bit of a theme for the Skyhawks, who had a pass intercepted in the end zone and another drive end in downs at Coronado’s 13.
On this missed opportunity by Silverado, Coronado didn’t waste its chance. Joshua Andrade completed a 92-yard touchdown pass to a streaking Jaylen Garrison to take a 14-10 lead with 5:13 left in the third quarter.
But the Skyhawks answered, with Tunnell completing a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jaden Thrower for a 17-14 lead as time expired in the third.
Silverado never trailed again, adding two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the score more one-sided than how the game played out.