Sierra Vista wasn’t having trouble moving the ball Friday night, but getting it into the end zone was another story.
So the team’s defense decided to make things easier.
The Mountain Lions forced a fumble and recovered inside the 5-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter, leading to the team’s only touchdown and a 10-7 road victory over Durango.
“To get the ball in that field position two weeks in a row, we’ve been pretty fortunate,” Sierra Vista coach John Foss said. “I think a lot of it is the kids work hard and we get lucky.”
Sierra Vista ate up most of the third quarter with a 17-play drive that stalled after consecutive penalties backed up the Mountain Lions. But Trevor Gentner’s punt was downed at the Durango 2-yard line, and Sierra Vista’s defense took advantage.
Durango running back Alhaji-Ibrahim Kamara fumbled, and Luis DeLaRosa recovered at the Trailblazers 3.
Two plays later, Lopaka Kolone scored on a 1-yard plunge to give Sierra Vista the 10-7 lead with 11:17 to play.
“We felt very good, confident that we could just score to win,” Kolone said of the fumble recovery. “Coach yelled out my name, and I just had to jump and hurdle.”
After the teams traded punts, Durango put together a final drive and appeared to be close to getting an opportunity to tie or take the lead.
Kaden Renshaw completed a 10-yard pass to Kevin O’Neill on fourth-and-8 to keep the drive alive, then hit Kamara with a 29-yard pass to move the ball to the Sierra Vista 25.
The Trailblazers faced third-and-5 at the 20 when Sierra Vista came with a blitz and linebacker Shane Alcantra got a sack for a 13-yard loss. Renshaw’s deep pass on fourth down sailed harmlessly to the turf, and Sierra Vista ran out the clock to move to 8-0.
“Coach called a blitz, and we just had to put pressure on the quarterback,” Alcantra said, “because he’s a good quarterback and he can run, but we just had to give him pressure.”
Sierra Vista’s defense kept Durango in check for most of the night. The Trailblazers (6-1, 3-1 Southwest League) never got their running game going and were limited to 9 yards on 24 carries.
“We just wanted it more,” said Kolone, who also recorded a sack.
Gentner’s 31-yard field goal gave Sierra Vista a 3-0 lead with 7:34 left in the first half. But Durango answered, with Renshaw hitting O’Neill with a 32-yard TD pass with 3:44 left in the second quarter to take a 7-3 advantage.
Renshaw completed 9 of 15 passes for 131 yards, and O’Neill had five catches for 90 yards.
Bryan LaGrange led Sierra Vista with 82 yards on 20 carries, as the Mountain Lions remained one of two undefeated Class 4A teams in the state. Sierra Vista (5-0 Southwest) has a bye next week and closes the season against the other undefeated team, Bishop Gorman, on Nov. 4. The Gaels are ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today.
“We’re just happy to be 8-0,” Foss said. “We never thought we’d be here, but it was kind of a goal of ours. Now that it’s come to fruition, we’re all very happy, and now we’ve got to get ready for Gorman.”
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at email@example.com or 702-380-458. Follow @DamonSeiters on Twitter.
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