The Deer Valley High School football team climbed into the driver's seat in the Northwest Region title race Friday night. Deer Valley permitted a touchdown on Willow Canyon's opening drive, then erupted for 37 unanswered points en route to a 37-7 road win in Surprise. "I don't think a lot of teams out there give us much respect," said Deer Valley receiver Jimmy Goad, who caught a pair of touchdown passes. "The way we played tonight is the way we go about getting that respect." Deer Valley improved to 4-3 overall and 2-0 in region play. The victory also guaranteed the Skyhawks at least a share of first place going into next Friday's region showdown at Goldwater. Willow Canyon dropped to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in the region. "We knew this was a huge week going against Willow Canyon and it's going to be another huge week against Goldwater," said Sven Christianson, Deer Valley coach. "All we can do is take them one at a time." The Wildcats seemed to have everything going in their favor to start the game. Willow Canyon scored on its opening drive when Trey Clarida connected on a 45-yard touchdown pass to tight end K.C. Simmons. Daniel Torres followed with an interception of an overthrown pass by quarterback Pearce Swerdfeger on Deer Valley's first possession. That's when it all began to unravel for the Wildcats, who permitted 21 points in the next five minutes. A snap over the head of the Willow Canyon punter set up one Deer Valley touchdown and a botched quarterback exchange set up another score to give Deer Valley a 12-7 lead. Deer Valley tallied a safety when Willow Canyon fumbled the ensuing kickoff and scored on its next possession when Jamaul Armstrong raced 43 yards for a touchdown. "Usually we do a good job of holding onto the ball, but this was by far our worst game as far as making mistakes," said Mike Hudnutt, Willow Canyon coach. "We gave them 21 points off field position and making mistakes." Swerdfeger overcame his early interception with a three-touchdown performance. The junior completed 9 of 13 passes for 149 yards with scoring strikes of 11 and 7 yards to Goad. Swerdfeger's other tally went to Alfred Bowden, who turned a short pass into a 76-yard touchdown when the Willow Canyon defender slipped and Bowden ran untouched into the end zone. "The old adage is you have to run to set up the pass," Christianson said. "We pass to set up the run." Armstrong took advantage of numerous running lanes in the second half to gain 124 yards on 16 carries. The 5-foot-7, 160-pound Armstrong ripped off runs of 34 and 26 yards in the second half as Deer Valley put the game away.