High School Football

Desert View Runs to Impressive Win Over Previously Unbeaten Walden Grove

The calendar indicated it was a Monday night for a high school football game, not the customary Friday night. Desert View and its peers throughout Southern Arizona will take any night.

The Jaguars went from a cancellation at Ironwood Ridge on Friday because of a positive COVID-19 test involving the Nighthawks to a potential meeting with Walden Grove on Saturday.

After that game was canceled because a Desert View player had a positive test, it was soon discovered the test was a false positive. Desert View was off the hook and able to schedule the Red Wolves again. The proposal came early Monday.

A few hours after the Sunnyside School District cleared the Jaguars to play at Walden Grove, coach Robert Bonillas stood in front of a large circle of his players about a half-hour before kickoff and could be heard yelling, “Let’s have fun tonight.”

Bonillas, a fiery sort who played for Dick Tomey at Arizona, got through to his team. The Jaguars put themselves at ease by defeating Walden Grove 56-20.

Desert View coach Robert Bonillas, a former Arizona tight end, gives instruction to running back Serge Gboweiah (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)


“I thought they had fun out there,” Bonillas said of his team. “It was good to see the kids competed at such short notice. It’s been just a rollercoaster of emotions.

“If this was our last game, it was good to see how we competed on offense, defense and special teams.”

If this was our last game …

Once again, COVID-19 concerns could put a stop to high school football in Southern Arizona.

Pima County administrator C.H. Huckelberry about two hours before kickoff issued a memorandum to superintendent Dustin Williams requesting his “assistance in communicating with area public school district superintendents, as well as public charter and private schools, in asking they begin the process to immediately cease all Fall athletic events at public schools, including football practice and games.”

This was not a night of angst over COVID-19 for Desert View or Walden Grove. After so many cancellations and quarantines involving Southern Arizona high school football teams, Monday night was one for the Jaguars and Red Wolves to leave those troubles behind.

Walden Grove running back Stephen Brower (40) gained chunks of yards against Desert View’s stout defense (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

“We know that if we are not going to have a rest of the season we’re going to have to ball out every second,” said Desert View junior running back Serge Gboweiah (pronounced BOH-way), who sped to a touchdown run of 63 yards and had another 67-yard burst.

Gboweiah was clearly the fastest player on the field. He used that to his advantage after getting in open space, finishing with 209 yards on only 11 carries — an average of 19 yards per carry.

Walden Grove battering ram Stephen Brower, who is 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds, ran a different style for the Red Wolves pounding his way to 182 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns.

Desert View running back Serge Gboweiah had 209 yards rushing (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

He rushed seven times when Walden Grove opened the game with a scoring drive. After his 2-yard scoring run with 8:30 left in the first quarter put Walden Grove ahead 7-0, it appeared as if the Red Wolves would consistently move the ball against the Jaguars.

Bonillas said he was confident his team would respond.

“We’ve got good older kids who are actually now vested,” he said. “I know they will battle.”

Desert View scored on its next four possessions to start pulling away.

After Jacob Ramirez capped a 14-play, 80-yard drive with a 2-yard score, Desert View promptly scored again after recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff.

Carlos Alvarez’s 1-yard touchdown run with 10:55 remaining in the second quarter put Desert View ahead 14-7.

Desert View’s stand on Walden Grove’s fourth-and-3 play from the Red Wolves’ 27-yard line set up another Jaguars touchdown. Ramirez ran 15 yards for another score to increase the lead to 21-7 with 7:15 left in the second quarter.

Walden Grove answered with an 80-yard drive, capped by Brower’s 6-yard score with 2:42 left in the first half.

Three players later, Gboweiah bounced free past defenders on the perimeter and sprinted for his 63-yard score that increased the lead to 28-14 with 1:30 left in the first half.

Gboweiah, Alvarez and Ramirez, who call themselves the “Treacherous Trio,” combined for 323 of Desert View’s 371 yards rushing. Alvarez also had an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

“It’s crazy because we all bring the intensity because we’re all hoping to ball out,” Ramirez said. “When we get out there and we get tired, then the next one comes in and then the next one. When you give 100 percent the person behind you will go 100 percent.

“We’re lethal, man.”

Desert View took the opening drive of the second half 57 yards for a score, culminating on Ryan Corral’s 4-yard touchdown pass to David Hernandez with 8:27 left in the third quarter to take a 35-14 lead.

The Jaguars’ defense made a goal-line stand stopping Walden Grove at the 1 before Goboweiah’s 67-yard run set up Corral’s 4-yard quarterback keeper for the touchdown on the last play of the third quarter, increasing the lead to 42-14.

Again, the Desert View defense made a statement forcing the Red Wolves to turn the ball over on downs. Sacks by junior defensive end Alvaro Chaparro on consecutive plays essentially ended the Red Wolves’ hopes for a comeback.

“I was disappointed in my first half and I felt like I could have been way better,” Chaparro said. “I know I let my teammates down so I needed to make a big impact, a big play to show it. I think it couldn’t have come at a better time to turn the rhythm around.”

Desert View played only its second game after losing 21-20 to a formidable CDO team on Nov. 6. The Dorados are now 3-1. The Jaguars had injuries with their kickers and were forced to go for 2-point conversions following their three touchdowns in that game. They were successful only once, hence the 20 points.

“We were right there against CDO,” Bonillas said. “All the credit goes to the kids and their coaches. When they see their hard work pay off, I enjoy seeing their faces.”

Walden Grove is now 3-1 with a game looming at Sabino (2-0) on Saturday. The 36-point loss is the largest margin in a regular season game for Corey Noble’s program since Salpointe beat the Red Wolves 55-7 in 2017.

“Desert View is a hard-nosed smash-mouth football team,” Noble said. “They punched us in the face tonight and we didn’t respond.

“We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to get tougher. Our effort was not good enough tonight, all across the board.”


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.

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