High School Football

Cienega dominates Sunnyside for fourth straight win

Cienega head coach Justin Argraves talks to the Bobcats after beating Sunnyside 34-0 on the road Friday night to pick up their fourth consecutive win of the season. (All Sports Tucson)

Cienega, the no. 11-ranked team in 5A, shut out the no. 22-ranked ranked team in 5A, Sunnyside on the road 34-0 on Friday night to bolster their playoff resume and likely close the door on the Blue Devils’ playoff hopes.

After going up 28-0 in the first half and recovering an onside kick from the Blue Devils to open the third quarter, a 44-yard rushing touchdown from Cienega senior running back Cole Mcfarland a few plays later put to rest any hope of a comeback from Sunnyside.

“Offensively, they (Cienega) did a tremendous job coming out fast in the first half going up 28 going into halftime,” said Cienega head coach Justin Argraves. “Then, defensively, I was very proud of how they played. They swarmed the football, played the physical, aggressive style of defense we’ve been preaching to them. The quarterback over there at Sunnyside (Deion Conde) he’s pretty good. 

“He’s very elusive and can get around, so to hold them to zero points, kudos to the defense; tremendous job.”

Cienega’s defense pitched a shutout on Friday night, stifling Sunnyside’s offense led by versatile quarterback Deion Conde all game. (All Sports Tucson)

In a sign of how the game would play out, Cienega’s standout senior two-way player Ritchie Mccormack intercepted a pass from Conde on the second play, and senior running Mcfarland scored on a long rushing touchdown a few plays later to put the Bobcats up 7-0.

“The running back came out and blocked me, and I took on the running back,” Mccormack said. “The next thing I knew, the running back wasn’t on me anymore, so I flipped my head and saw the running back out in the flats, turned around, and got the pick.”

Later in the first quarter, Cienega pinned Sunnyside deep in their own territory, blocked a punt, and recovered it in the end zone to go up 14-0.

After Cienega junior quarterback Brayden Cherry marched the Bobcats down the field on two consecutive touchdown drives in the second quarter ending with a Mccormack 4-yard rushing touchdown and a touchdown on a sweep from senior wide receiver to CJ Hangartner from two yards out, the Bobcats found themselves up 28-0.

The Sunnyside defense didn’t have any answers for the Cienega offense led by quarterback Brayden Cherry. (All Sports Tucson)

After the win on Friday, Cienega finds themselves firmly in playoff contention going into a huge 5A Sonoran matchup with major playoff implications against no. 10- ranked Marana next week.

“We just got to continue doing what we’re doing,” Argraves said. “We’re putting a good product out on offense, defense, and special teams. The growth that we’ve seen from the coaching staff to these guys has been great. They’re having fun, they’re doing well in practice, and they’re doing well in the weight room, and they know that our task is each week whoever we’re playing.

“Whether it’s Sunnyside, whether it’s Mountain View, now next week it’s Marana, be where our feet are, and let’s work to that.”

Cienega, the no. 11-ranked team in 5A (5-3, 3-0) plays next at Marana, the no.10-ranked team in 5A (7-1, 3-0) on Friday.

Sunnyside (4-4, 0-3) plays at home against Rincon/University (1-7, 0-3) on Friday.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. for both games.

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood.  He is currently attending Pima Community College where he writes for the Aztec Press. Next semester he will be attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he will work towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies.

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