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Barraza-to-Santiago TD pass with 42 seconds left lifts Desert View over Sunnyside


Robert Bonillas was so caught up in the moment of topping neighborhood rival Sunnyside for the fourth time in five years that he forgot he still had his headset on well after the celebration started on the field.

The passing calls made from that headset rarely have been executed from Desert View’s offense.

No wonder he did not immediately toss it aside after the game, instead wearing it like a keepsake.

Desert View senior quarterback Oscar Barraza passed for 193 yards — which usually is close to the production of half a season for the Jaguars — highlighted by a 50-yard scoring connection with Richard Santiago with 42 seconds left in the 29-21 victory over rival Sunnyside.

“We’re not one-dimensional. We can run and we can throw,” said Bonillas, who rarely if ever has mentioned those words.

To wit: The 50-yard winning passing score, in what was a thrilling Duel in the District at Sunnyside’s packed stadium, was close to what the Jaguars averaged per game via the pass (57.9 yards) in their last full schedule of 10 games played in 2019.

Bonillas and his staff have touted the confidence and playmaking ability of Barraza during the preseason. Not the type to get caught up in hyperbole, Bonillas, a Dick Tomey protégé in his 12th year as a head coach with close to two decades of coaching experience overall, knows a talent when he sees one.

“I think he did a lot of things well,” Bonillas said of Barraza, a dual-threat southpaw quarterback at 6-foot and 180 pounds. “That’s a tribute to our coaching staff and our kids, going full speed at practice.”

Desert View coach Robert Bonillas gathers his team after the victory (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Desert View’s game-winning possession started with 2:15 remaining at its own 38 after fielding a Sunnyside punt.

Two tough runs by Carlos Alvarez — part of Desert View’s “Dynamic Duo” of running backs including Serge Gboweiah — gave the Jaguars a first down at the 48.

Barraza then rushed for a couple of yards to set up his game-winning pass to Santiago with 42 seconds left.

He took a two-step drop, found Santiago open over the middle, passed to him in stride and Santiago split two defenders and ran the last 30 yards to the end zone. Gboweiah capped the possession with a two-point conversion run to put the Jaguars ahead 29-21.

“Me and my boy Rick we practice that at practice, so whenever we see open field in the middle, that’s just our time to connect,” Barraza said.

Oscar Barraza had 193 yards passing in his first varsity start (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Santiago added of the winning highlight-reel play: “I was just reading the backers, me and my quarterback have that good connection. We have that little signal. He told me what to do and I took off for the 50-yard touchdown.”

Records are not readily available but Barraza’s 193 yards passing has to be the most at Desert View in years.

The Jaguars’ bread and butter — Gboweiah and Alvarez — did not have their typical output of close to 100 yards or more, but that was not necessary in this game. Gboweiah rushed 17 times for 74 yards and Alvarez added 46 yards on eight rushes.

Desert View as a team — with contributions from Barraza and end-around plays by Santiago — still rushed for 156 yards on 31 carries, an average of 5.0 yards per carry.

“The work really pays off,” said Gboweiah (pronounced BO-way). “We worked for this. Overall, my boys put out today. We came back. The first half was not our best game but we came back second half and we came out with the ‘dub’ (win).”

A 23-yard run by bruising fullback Roman Cañez and five carries for 17 yards by Brock McDaniel in Sunnyside’s second possession resulted in McDaniel’s 4-yard touchdown run with 1:54 left in the first quarter that put the Blue Devils ahead 6-0. The extra-point attempt was blocked.

Sunnyside’s second fumble of the game resulted in Desert View taking possession at the Blue Devil 30 with 8:01 left in the first half. After Barraza scrambled for 10 yards with another 10 yards tacked on from a late-hit call out of bounds, he completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Rudy Rodriguez with 7:44 remaining until halftime to put Desert View ahead 7-6.

Barraza completed passes to eight different receivers in the game.

“I just wanted to ball out,” he said. “It’s my senior year. I’ve got nothing to lose.”

His counterpart, junior Deion Conde, started to perform to his expectations in the second quarter. Conde completed four of five passes in Sunnyside’s possession after the Desert View touchdown, including a 22-yard scoring strike to big 6-foot-3 target Tre’von Armstrong with 4:39 left in the half.

Cañez followed with the two-point conversion run to give Sunnyside a 14-7 lead.

Mehki Gaskin quelled Desert View’s attempt to score right before halftime by intercepting a pass in the end zone with 4 seconds left.

Conde completed 7 of 8 passes for 96 yards in the first half. He finished 13 of 19 for 175 yards.

Desert View responded in the opening possession of the second half driving 80 yards on nine plays, capped by Alvarez’s 6-yard scoring run with 7:53 left in the third quarter. The extra-point attempt missed and Sunnyside clung to its 14-13 lead.

Desert View celebrates its victory (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Three plays into the next possession, Sunnyside scored on Conde’s 33-yard pass to Diego Arellano and the Blue Devils led 21-13 with 6:25 left in the third quarter. The play was set up by Cañez’s 41-yard run. Cañez finished with 99 yards on seven carries.

“I think the emotions got to our kids; we just have to learn how to play,” Bonillas said of falling behind. “That’s a well-coached team. Sunnyside played their hearts out. It was a good-fought game. Our boys actually stayed in the game. Focused. They ended up making a play at the end.”

A 28-yard pass from Barraza to Santiago and a 14-yard run by Gboweiah contributed to Desert View again driving 80 yards in nine plays for a score. Alvarez ran into the end zone from three yards with 3:14 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion attempt failed and Sunnyside clung to a 21-19 lead.

Deion Conde (8) takes direction from Sunnyside coach Glenn Posey and his big target Tre’von Armstrong also checks in with the sideline (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Sunnyside’s returner accidentally stepped out of bounds one foot in front of the end zone while fielding the ensuing kickoff. A safety resulted in an intentional grounding rule that occurred in the end zone and the game became tied at 21 with 1:03 left in the third quarter.

After Desert View’s next possession of 12 plays stalled at the Sunnyside 9 on a failed fourth-down attempt, the Jaguars’ winning drive with Barraza connecting with Santiago for the 50-yard touchdown happened on the following drive.

Sunnyside got as far as its 39-yard line in the last possession of the game.

Desert View’s win was complete, making the rivalry that was once dominated by Sunnyside, more balanced. The Blue Devils won 13 of the first 14 meetings between the southside schools but Desert View is 4-1 in the last five matchups.

“This means a lot,” Santiago said. “This is my last year. We’re senior-stacked. It feels good to beat our rival in our last year.”

Desert View hosts Buckeye Verrado on Friday while Sunnyside travels to Phoenix South Mountain, another team nicknamed Jaguars. South Mountain is coached by Arizona legendary linebacker Byron Evans.

DUEL IN THE DISTRICT

The series between Desert View and Sunnyside in football (home team in CAPS)
* Game at Kino North Stadium
YearWinnerScoreLoserScore
1985SUNNYSIDE51Desert View 0
1986Sunnyside 40DESERT VIEW7
1987SUNNYSIDE14Desert View13
1988SUNNYSIDE23Desert View 12
1989DESERT VIEW19Sunnyside 0
1990SUNNYSIDE21Desert View0
1991Sunnyside 14DESERT VIEW6
1992SUNNYSIDE18Desert VIew16
1993Sunnyside34DESERT VIEW0
1994SUNNYSIDE39Desert View0
2011SUNNYSIDE49Desert View0
2012Sunnyside42DESERT VIEW6
2013SUNNYSIDE34Desert View27
2014Sunnyside53DESERT VIEW0
2016DESERT VIEW42Sunnyside20
2017Desert View10SUNNYSIDE 7
2018*Sunnyside20Desert View13
2019DESERT VIEW 20Sunnyside 6
2021Desert View29SUNNYSIDE21


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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District

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