Unbeaten Desert View’s 42-0 win over Nogales sets stage for showdown with Salpointe

Desert View’s Serge Gboweiah had 83 yards on four carries in the Jaguars’ 42-0 win over visiting Nogales on Thursday night (Andy Morales/AllSporsTucson.com)

Desert View’s coaching staff and players looked a few feet over at their coach Robert Bonillas in anticipation of his speech to them following a 42-0 win over Nogales on Homecoming Thursday night.

Bonillas, fiery during the game, stood with his family, including his wife and son and daughter, appearing at ease with a smile. Friends and acquaintances offered their congratulations.

No words were really needed to be spoken at that point.

Family matters. Family means everything. Family wins.

Knute Rockne could not have expressed it better than that image of Bonillas with his family.

“Our kids did what they were supposed to do and we have to focus on next week,” Bonillas, in his 10th season as Desert View’s coach, said before making his way to his team.

“Next week” is a historic game.

The Jaguars are at home to open the 5A Southern schedule against perennial power Salpointe in the first meeting of the programs.

Desert View, 5-0 for only the second time in the 37-year history of the program, will be ranked high in the state in 5A when the first power ratings from the AIA for 4A through 6A schools are released Tuesday. The Jaguars could also be one of the top eight teams ranked in the Open Division — the elite eight programs in the state from 4A to 6A.

“It feels great to be 5-0 — every coach would tell you that,” Bonillas said. “It’s just working. Now we have a big test next week, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Desert View coach Robert Bonillas’ program is on a six-game winning streak dating to last season (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The matchup with Salpointe, which is 3-1 heading into its home game Friday against Phoenix Pinnacle, will be the most significant regular season game in Desert View history considering the Lancers have earned a trip in consecutive years to the Open Division playoffs with senior Treyson Bourguet at quarterback.

The last time a game of this magnitude occurred in the regular season for Desert View was on Oct. 7, 2016, when Mountain View — in the midst of seven straight winning seasons under Bam McRae — traveled to Jaguar Stadium and won 60-37, giving Desert View its first loss after a school-record 6-0 start.

“We know that game will be the biggest game of our season, our toughest game, so we just have to get right and get ready for them,” senior running back Serge Gboweiah (pronounced BO-way) said about the game with the Lancers. “We can’t overlook them. Salpointe is Salpointe. We’ve got to go play our game.”

This is the equivalent of the late Dick Tomey preparing Bonillas and Arizona’s football team in the 12-1 season of 1998 for every game in the second half of that schedule to keep the historical run alive.

Believing in the unthinkable was renewed weekly.

“I’m not really letting the (5-0 start) get to us because I know that’s when the season actually starts,” Desert View quarterback Oscar Barraza said, referring to the start of 5A Southern play. “That’s what we’ll prove. That’s going to be the actual test.”

The Jaguars faced a different type of test against a Nogales program trying to find itself under alum Jake Teyechea after the Apaches were one of only three Southern Arizona teams that did not play a game last season because of COVID-19 protocols (Catalina and Baboquivari were the others).

Desert View’s Sean Sierra and Alvaro Chaparro close in on Nogales running back Benjamin Ley (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The Apaches are now 2-3 and on a three-game losing streak.

The test for Desert View on Thursday involved the Jaguars taking care of business after coming off the euphoria of winning at Marana 46-28 last Friday in a matchup of unbeaten teams.

Would the Jaguars play to expectations against Nogales or would they slip in the proverbial “sandwich game” between two touted opponents (Marana and Salpointe)?

Gboweiah had an immediate answer with a run of 25 yards followed by a 40-yard gain in the first two offensive plays of the game.

Justin Bucio scored on an end-around from 15 yards in the next play and Desert View suddenly led 7-0 with only 27 seconds off the clock from the start of the game.

Following an errant snap over the head of Nogales’ punter, resulting in a 1-yard punt after the punter frantically kicked the ball, Desert View gained possession at the Apache 25.

Barraza connected on a touchdown pass to Rudy Rodriguez on the next play.

Four offensive plays equaled two touchdowns with 9:57 still showing in the first quarter.

Carlos Alvarez (above) scored on a 23-yard touchdown run and Oscar Barraza had two touchdown passes for Desert View (photos by Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

“They executed their assignments, and in games like this, we always talk about staying focused,” Bonillas said. “They’re kids and it’s one of the first times we’ve been able to score 42 points with a running clock. It’s just trying to keep coaching them.”

Desert View would score on its first six possessions, resulting in the 42-0 lead with 9:42 left in the second quarter. The rolling clock started and never stopped the rest of the way.

The Jaguars outgained Nogales in total yards 289-25 in the first half and their defense allowed only one offensive first down (the Apaches had six first downs at that point but five occurred from penalties).

By halftime, the night was over for Gboweiah (83 yards on four carries and a touchdown), Carlos Alvarez (two rushes for 50 yards and a touchdown) and Barraza (4 of 6 passing for 128 yards and two touchdowns).

Alvarez, a safety, also had an interception as did linebacker Carlos Arvizu, and defensive end Alvaro Chapparo tallied two sacks, after recording four against Marana.

The only concern going into halftime was Gboweiah’s mild left ankle sprain that caused him to walk to the Desert View locker room with a slight limp after his teammates left the field.

“It’s cool. I should be fine. It should be ready (for Salpointe),” said Gboweiah, whose limp was not as noticeable on the sideline throughout the second half of the game.

When Bonillas joined Gboweiah and the Jaguars in the postgame huddle following his time with his family, he spent less than a minute talking to them about the work that lies ahead.

Not much needed to be said after this game.

The Salpointe game and their sense of family speaks for itself.


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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