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Silverado looking for 2nd consecutive perfect football season

Silverado football coach Andy Ostolaza knows it will be emotional Monday night when the Skyhawks play for the Class 4A state championship against Shadow Ridge at Allegiant Stadium.

Regardless of the result, it will be the final game for a senior class that has propelled Silverado to back-to-back dominant seasons.

“They’re ultra-talented,” Ostolaza said of the group. “Some of these guys have been here since freshman year playing varsity.”

Silverado has won 23 consecutive games. It started its run last year with a 12-0 season and capped it off with a 4A state title.

This year the Skyhawks came back even better. They’ve outscored opponents 624-38 while going 11-0. Their run of seven consecutive shutouts was snapped last week in a 57-17 win over Coronado in the 4A state semifinals.

“We made history here with the school’s first football state championship,” senior running back Caden Harris said. “We want to go back-to-back and bring another one here. And end on a good note because of the seniors that are leaving.”

Several of Silverado’s current group of seniors got a taste of playoff football during their freshman year in 2019. Starters Brandon Tunnell, his brother Bryson, Donavyn Pellot, Chris Federico and Jamal Boyd were all on the 2019 team that went 7-3.

But their season ended with a 20-7 loss to Foothill in the first round of the 4A Desert Region playoffs. Ostolaza believes the loss was the turning point for his players to want more.

“That drove them to want to get better,” Ostolaza said. “They saw that they don’t want to have an early exit and it’s carried over.”

When high school football came back in 2021 after the pandemic, starting quarterback Brandon Tunnell knew the Skyhawks had a good team. But they didn’t expect to become the top team in the newly classified 4A.

“It was about halfway through last season when we realized could beat some teams,” Tunnell said. “There was no doubt we were going to the championship.”

They did and won it convincingly with a 61-27 win over Shadow Ridge. Silverado’s lone goal this season was to get back to Allegiant Stadium for the state championship game.

Harris believes the confidence from winning last season has been a big factor in Silverado’s dominance this year.

“We did it last year, so we know we’re capable of doing it again,” Harris said. “We fought hard all season and we’re back here again.”

Harris said the players have taken time to reflect on their current run. Both he and Tunnell pointed to the team’s strong bond that has helped them succeed at its current level.

“It’s really grown into something even stronger than a brotherhood and stronger than most football teams,” Tunnell said.

Ostolaza, in his 27th year of coaching, is looking forward to seeing the current underclassmen continue the standard the seniors have established. But on Monday night, he admitted walking off the field one last time with his seniors will be a hard thing to do.

The same is true for Tunnell, who has played with some of his teammates since he was 8-years-old. He said Monday night will be “bittersweet,” but is looking forward to trying to finish off another perfect season.

“I love this team,” Tunnell said. “Every single one of them. It’s a big part of me as a person, my past, present and future. It’s been an amazing time. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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