Desert Vista, after winning the Division l state championship in 2011, is not sneaking up on anybody this year.
But the Thunder continue to roll along as they put themselves in a position to defend the title. Desert Vista turned in maybe their best overall game of the season as they shut out visiting Corona del Sol 48-0 Friday.
The Thunder cashed in on three lost Aztecs fumbles, turning them into touchdowns. The defense was stingy, backing up Corona and setting up great field position that led to a trio of second quarter touchdowns.
"It's the first week we actually feel good about great execution in that first half," Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds said. "The kids were really getting after it on defense. Our defensive line has been tough, now the back of the house is improving and that should make us a solid defense as we play the big games."
The Thunder defense shined and the offense was clicking on all cylinders. The trio of quarterback Matt Young and the running backs Jarek Hilgers and Zach Gonzales sat out after the first drive of the second half. Young was 9 of 16 for 119 yards passing and two touchdowns. Hilgers gained 82 yards on only nine carries and scored three TDs. Gonzales had two touchdowns, one each as a runner and as a receiver, he ended with 42 yards on just four rushes and hauled in three passes for 40 yards.
"We don't take anybody lightly and now that we have this one under our belt we can look foward to Saguaro (a big clash at Desert Vista Friday)," Gonzales said. "They are a big physical team and it should be a good game. Tonight our defense was amazing and our offensive line gave Matt time to throw and our backs holes to run."
The Thunder set the tone for the game early as they forced a fumble on the Aztecs drive after the opening kickoff. Desert Vista's Lorenzo Melvin scooped up the fumble at the Corona 20-yard line. On the first play, Hilgers raced 20 yards for the score just 1:54 into the game. The Aztecs drove to the Thunder 23 yard line before Aaron Green forced a fumble and Nick Farina pounced on the football. DV then marched 77 yards in nine plays as Hilgers did the scoring honors on an eight-yard run.
The Thunder then went to work on defense creating a short field for the offense to work with and they took advantage. Young found Aaron Valdez in the corner of the end zone but the 15 yard pass was brought back on a holding call. However, the next play Gonzales dashed 15 yards for a TD to lead 21-0.
The Thunder defense held again and the Aztecs shanked a 4-yard punt. On fourth-and-10 Young found Gonzales for a first down with a 15-yard pass. Young then hit Gonzales on a screen pass that he turned into a seven-yard touchdown.
"That was fun, Matt was right on key," Gonzales said.
Young then hooked up with Cullen VanGosen for a 10-yard touchdown strike with 24 seconds left in the half to build a 35-0 cushion at intermission. The Thunder took the second half kickoff and had a crisp drive with Young's passing that set up a Hilgers 11-yard run.
Corona Del Sol did threaten to get on the scoreboard, driving to the Desert Vista 21 before another costly fumble as Adam Otrega recovered it for the Thunder. With a running clock, DV added a final score in the fourth quarter on a Kyle Tippit three yard run.
"We made mistakes, but they are a good football team," said Corona del Sol coach Tom Joseph, whose team fell to 2-3. "All we can do is to play hard and keep fighting the rest of the season."
Score by quarters
Corona del Sol 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Desert Vista 14 21 7 6 -- 48
DV - Hilgers 20 run (Beasley kick)
DV - Hilgers 8 run (Beasley kick)
DV - Gonzales 15 run (kick failed)
DV - Gonzales 7 pass from Young (Hilgers run)
DV - VanGosen 10 pass from Young (Beasley kick)
DV - Hilgers 11 run (Beasley kick)
DV - Tippit 3 run (kick failed)
First Downs CdS 10, DV 10.
Rushes-Yards CdS 37-128, DV 27-195
Passing Yards CdS 34, DV 134
Com-Att-Int CdS 4-10-0, DV 11-19-0
Fumbles-Lost CdS 4-3, DV 0-0
Penalties-Yards CdS 10-75, DV 10-65