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Brittany Bowyer: Wyatt and Hunter Ogle lead Santa Cruz plus Notre Dame at Mountain Ridge preview

Wyatt Ogle (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

Special to AllSportsTucson from Brittany Bowyer

Brittany Bowyer is a freelance journalist who started her career as an intern for a small sports website back in 2015. Since then, she’s obtained her master’s degree in Sports Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU and is in her fourth year of covering various levels of sports across a broad range of platforms in Arizona. You can follow her on twitter @bbowyer07

Santa Cruz Valley’s Ogle brothers shine in Dust Devils’ demolition of Heritage Academy

The Santa Cruz Valley Dust Devils tore up the field on Thursday night in their 61-15 stomping of the Heritage Academy Heroes. Brothers Wyatt and Hunter Ogle, two-way incredible versatile players, were crucial to the Dust Devils’ success tonight on the field. Not only did they set the tone early tonight for the offense, they also stepped up and helped out immensely on defense. 

Santa Cruz Valley’s defense created a storm on the field early on for Heritage, forcing them to punt quickly. An electrifying special team play from Santa Cruz Valley’s David Avilez put the Dust Devils just ten yards out from the goal, allowing for senior running back Hunter Ogle to hurdle over defenders and take it in to score with 9:13 remaining in the first. 

It was a quick turnaround, though, as senior linebacker Dylan Hukill snagged an interception on the second snap of the drive. Once again, it took the Ogle’s and the offense just four snaps to get the ball into the end zone once again, putting them on top 14-0 halfway through the first. 

Another touchdown from Hunter with less than a minute left in the first put Santa Cruz Valley on top 21-8. Despite coming out of the gate hot and taking an early lead, the Dust Devils still weren’t content with how they played in the beginning.

 “We started off pretty slow,” Hunter said. “I guess it was pretty good, but it still could have been better.”

Early in the second, Wyatt was able to connect with Avilez in the end zone to tack on another touchdown before Hunter punched in two more touchdowns of his own on the first snap of both following drives. 

After forcing a quick three and out for Heritage, Santa Cruz Valley got the ball back with just under five minutes remaining at the Heritage 49 yard line. Wyatt was able to connect with Avilez for a bomb down the field into the end zone, making it 48-8 before the extra point, and followed it up with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Orlando Davis Jr. The Dust Devils were on top 55-8 going into the half holding Heritage to negative rushing yards and allowing only 78 passing yards while forcing three interceptions. 

Coach Rishard Davis put backups in after halftime, where there was a running clock on the field as the Heroes tried their best to fight back. Sophomore Max Rodriguez came in to play quarterback, where he attempted only two passes in the entire second half, but one of them was caught by freshman Julian Armenia for another touchdown. 

Latrell Beck was able to answer with a touchdown pass of his own to Omar Hernandez, but it was too late. The Dust Devils had already essentially stamped a W in the books. 

Hunter Ogle accounted for 149 of Santa Cruz Valley’s 234 first-half rushing yards, with Wyatt snagging 62 of them. Wyatt also was seven for 10 for 89 yards, including a two-point convention pass, with no interceptions and three touchdowns. 

When asked about what it’s like to get to not only share the field, but excel together as their own duo, Hunter said, “It’s fun playing next to my brother. You know, it’s always been a dream of ours.” Hunter said. 

Wyatt just smiled and said, “I just like playing with Hunter, like he said, it’s fun. “It’s great, getting to watch him go and score. It’s awesome.”

Santa Cruz Valley, now 3-0, will look to keep the win streak alive when they host the Antelope Union Rams next Friday, October 23rd. 

Rishard Davis (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15

2A Eloy Santa Cruz 61, Heritage Academy Laveen 15

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16

3A Thatcher (1-1) at 3A Pusch Ridge (1-1), 7 p.m.
2A Benson (2-0) at 2A Pima (0-1)
2A Morenci (2-0) at 2A Bisbee (0-2), 7 p.m.
2A Willcox (0-0) at 2A Tombstone (0-2), 7 p.m.
1A Duncan (0-2) at 1A St. David (2-0) at
1A Ft. Thomas (0-2) at 1A San Manuel (1-0), 6 p.m.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17

1A Elfrida Valley Union (0-2) at Bullhead City Mohave Accelerated (0-2), 3 p.m.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23

5A Buena at 5A Salpointe (1-0), 7 p.m.
3A Pusch Ridge at 3A Safford, 7 p.m.
2A Bisbee at 2A Benson, 7 p.m.
2A Tombstone at 2A Morenci, 7 p.m.
2A Pima at 2A Willcox, 7 p.m.
2A Wellton Antelope at 2A Santa Cruz (3-0), 7 p.m.
1A Scottsdale Cicero Prep at 1A St. David, 6 p.m.
1A San Manuel at 1A Valley Union, 6 p.m.

A LOOK AHEAD: MOUNTAIN RIDGE VISITS SALPOINTE NOV. 6

The Mountain Ridge Mountain Lions will host the Notre Dame Prep Saints in week three of the AIA’s Valley football season tonight. The match will likely tell a lot about the future of the season for both teams, as well as a preview of what the Salpointe Catholic Lancers likely will be up against this season. The Saints will look to remain undefeated while the Mountain Lions will look to avoid back-to-back losses. 

Mountain Ridge, a program currently looking to find a new identity by, “Restoring the Ridge,” will travel to Salpointe Catholic on November 6. The game against Mountain Ridge will be Salpointe Catholic’s only game against a 6A school, at this point, during the regular season unless they pick up an additional game or re-schedule with Pinnacle, the team Salpointe Catholic was originally set to face this week. 

Meanwhile, Notre Dame Prep consistently produces some of the top talent in the state despite having an enrollment of less than 1,000 students. The Saints frequently make it deep into the postseason and have the likelihood of running into Salpointe Catholic in either the Open Division Finals or the 5A Playoffs. 

The Mountain Lions are in their second year under new head coach Mike Madowski. His hire came as part of their efforts to “Restore the Ridge”, by re-establishing the culture of the program and working to keep student-athletes in the school’s boundaries from transferring to a neighboring powerhouse such as Liberty, Sunrise Mountain or Peoria. 

In his first year as head coach, he took a program that was winless in 2018 and helped them go 5-6 in his first year at the helm. However, in a year where there are fewer games, more cancellations and a lot more rust, it’s tough to say what exactly can be expected of the so-called Ridge Army this year. After securing a win over a struggling Skyline program, Mountain Ridge struggled against Desert Ridge, falling to the Jaguars 34-14.

The critical difference maker in this game is going to be how well the offensive line does, allowing sophomore quarterback Brendan Anderson to perform well against a sturdy defensive team. Mountain Ridge also has three sophomore receivers in Terrance Hall, Deric English and Shannon Coulter, along with sophomore running back Jacob Kelley, who all had outstanding performances in week one against Skyline. 

The Saints are hungry this season for vengeance, and this is where Mountain Ridge’s defense, led by players like senior Derek Leverage, will really have to come ready and prepared.

Last season, the Saints narrowly missed the cut for the elite Arizona Open Division and were eliminated from the 5A playoffs in the semifinals following a shocking 20-17 upset by Campo Verde. As a program with numerous state championship appearances, anything less than that seems like a letdown.

The situation seems a little more cut and dry for Notre Dame Prep, as the offense has been able to put up 28 points in both wins so far over Brophy and Valley Vista, while the defense has allowed only 16 points total throughout the first two games. 

Offensively for the Saints, expect to see senior running back Luke Nash lead the team with the most carries in the game and junior Gavin Smith to lead the team in receptions. Defensively, it’s likely that senior Brody Blessing is going to be the difference maker for the Saints, who leads the team in sacks. 

Despite the current change Mountain Ridge is currently working to implement, there’s going to be very small margins for error if they want to secure a victory over the Saints. Expect to see Notre Dame Prep make a subtle reminder to the state not to sleep on them. 

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