MESA - After Desert Vista had two huge games on the big stage - the Cardinals’ University of Phoenix Stadium - a letdown might have been in the offing.
The Thunder did not look past Mesa on Friday as they came out firing on all cylinders and built a 41-0 lead before finishing off a 48-6 victory at Mesa.
"Coach said treat everybody the same and don't look down on opponents," Anthony Reeves, who scored a pair of touchdowns for Desert Vista, said.
"It was a pretty good team effort, I am proud of the guys coming out and ready to go," Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds said. "We had some good play from some juniors in Anthony Reeves and Jalen Jelks who turned in nice plays on defense for touchdowns.
“We have to continue to get better, but we had a chance to play the second and third strings tonight."
Before the dust cleared the Thunder stunned the Jackrabbits with a 41-6 cushion at halftime.
DV scored three times in the first half cashing in turnovers for touchdowns.
The Thunder held Mesa on three plays and then had a 55-yard, nine-play drive. Jarek Hilgers kept the drive alive with a first down run on fourth and one. Richard Heywood then did the scoring honors on a 3-yard run with 6:59 left in the opening quarter.
Forty seconds later Desert Vista struck again as Lorenzo Melvin blocked a punt and Richard Heywood's cousin, Keeyahn Heywood returned the punt 40 yards for a touchdown. Early in the second quarter, Hilgers had a 10-yard romp for a TD. Dylan Fisher then scooped up a Jackrabbits fumble to set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from Matt Young to Reeves.
Reeves then had his second of back to back touchdowns as he picked off a pass and weaved through traffic returning it 33 yards for a TD.
"I dropped back for coverage and saw the quarterback on a play action with his eyes locked on the receiver," Reeves said. "I made a play on the ball and took it to the house.”
Then just ten seconds later the big man Jelks picked up a fumble and he showed some speed for a big man taking it 37 yards for a TD as the Thunder had clicked off 41 straight points with 28 coming in the second quarter.
Mesa didn't pick up a first down until late in the first half did have a bright spot right before halftime. Quarterback Lucas Moen had a keeper for 44 yards and then on fourth and five he found Marquette Johnson to get the Jackrabbits on the scoreboard with 31 seconds left before intermission.
The only touchdown in the second half came from Richard Heywood as he reversed direction and scampered 60 yards with 9:01 left in the fourth quarter, which made a running clock for the rest of the game. Heywood scored the first and last touchdowns of the night.
"The great thing about playing a Desert Vista first game is you find out where you are at fast, they are well oiled already," Mesa coach Kelley Moore said. "I respect Desert Vista for not piling it on and playing the kids on the bench."
Zipsie is a freelance writer in Phoenix.