Friday night’s 5A Southern matchup between No. 21 Cienega and No. 25 Desert View was a big night for Desert View High School. Not only was it homecoming, but the Jaguars’ new turf field was ready for play for the first time this season. Desert View has been playing all their games on the road to this point.
However, the Bobcats played spoiler and were able to walk away with a 36-26 victory.
The game started with two long scoring drives by both sides. Cienega took the opening drive the length of the field on an almost eight-minute drive, capping it off with a 43-yard pass from Evan Weber to Gavin Peterson.
Desert View responded with a long scoring drive of its own.
Jaguar running back Sean Sierra, the APS Digital Print/Frog and Firkin Player of the Week last week, took a toss play to the far sideline to the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown run. The point after attempt was unsuccessful, making the score 7-6.
A quick fumble recovery on the following Cienega drive by the Jaguars and a touchdown pass to Josiah Lugo completely flipped the game and the momentum for Desert View, which made it 12-7 following a failed two-point conversion attempt.
After forcing a Cienega punt, the Jaguars offense was driving with 3:54 left in the first half before an interception by River Ries thanks to pressure on Desert View quarterback Anthony Estrella brought a halt to the drive.
To end the half, Cienega running back Edgar Garcia would score from two yards out with nine seconds left in the half, and head coach Justin Argraves decided to go for two and was successful on a reception by Peterson to make the score 15-12 at halftime.
Argraves talked about what the senior running back, who had two touchdowns on the night, brings to this team, as well as the entire rushing attack from backup Jimmy McCormack and the offensive line.
“He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but I’ll tell you what, he is gonna give you everything he’s got and tonight he showed that,” he said. “Really proud of our running game and how our offensive line blocked as well.”
The second half was a back-and-forth battle that saw the game go from competitive to chippy on both sides.
Desert View received the second half kickoff, and quickly struck back on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Estrella to Justin Bucio that put the Jaguars up 20-15 after a successful two-point conversion.
These conversions would be a huge part of the third quarter, as the teams would trade touchdown drives and successful attempts.
The Bobcats responded with a 4-yard rushing touchdown by McCormack and successful two-point conversion to make it 23-20.
Desert View drove down and punched it in on another rushing touchdown by Sierra to make it 26-23. On the two-point attempt, the Jaguars were successful, but it was called back due to a holding penalty. Their second was unsuccessful, leaving the score 26-23.
During the third quarter, emotions that had been brewing since the beginning of the game started to boil over for both sides, and the quarter was plagued with unsportsmanlike conduct calls and referee warnings.
Argraves talked about the composure his team showed and how they were able to overcome the penalty yards.
“Composure, that was the big thing,” he said. “We know what we can do, we just cannot let our own mind become a roadblock. That is what I told them, keep your composure, keep doing what you are doing and stay true to what we are telling you to do.”
A quick Cienega drive ended in Garcia’s second touchdown of the night. Argraves elected to not go for two and attempt the PAT, however it was blocked and kept the score at 29-26 to start the fourth quarter.
Garcia was quick to credit his line for the success of the running game.
“The holes were opening up fast, the guards were pulling quick, getting to the second level, the holes were just there for me to get those yards. The line did a great job today,” he said.
The Bobcat defense held and was got the ball back to their offense, who took advantage and extended their lead on a Weber to Keron Watson touchdown pass to make it 36-26.
5A SOUTHERN STANDINGSThrough games of Nov. 10. *Region champion.
|23 Desert View||6-3||4-1||270||178||W2|
The Jaguars drove down the field with about three minutes left and were looking to answer back and get within striking distance, but a stop on fourth down effectively ended their night.
Argraves talked about Cienega’s “second season” (sectional play) which has been a theme all year for the team after a tough non-sectional schedule to begin the season.
“Our goal was to come in to this second half and kind of redeem ourselves from what happened in the first half and so far, sitting 3-0 in the region right now,” he said. “We’re gonna have a tough Mountain View well-coached team next week and then finish off with Tucson High.”
Cienega (4-4, 3-0 5A Southern) will travel to Mountain View (3-5, 2-1).
Desert View (4-3, 2-1) will head to Sierra Vista to take on Buena (6-2, 2-1).
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Harrison Moreno is a southern Arizona native who has watched Wildcat athletics since he was young kid. He recently is a graduate of The University of Arizona’s School of Journalism, with a focus in broadcast and audio journalism.