During the past seven days, Deer Valley football has experienced both sides of the arc.
The Skyhawks were on a high after taking apart rival Mountain Ridge last week 30-3. However, this week they hit low, losing a 14-3 home contest to Boulder Creek (4-3, 3-1). The loss drops Deer Valley (3-4, 2-2) to third in the 5A-II Northwest region, a game back of the Jaguars and two behind first place Sandra Day O’Connor with three to play.
The Jaguars’ pass rush had Skyhawk quarterback Austin Hillman on the run all game. They sacked the sophomore four times and had two interceptions, with the first pick setting up Boulder Creek’s second touchdown.
A trio of Jaguar defenders chased Hillman out of the pocket. Rather than taking the sack, the Deer Valley quarterback threw the ball down field where senior defensive back Garrett Parenteau snagged the errant pass. On the next play, Boulder Creek quarterback Trevor Bonifasi found Joe Kupiszewski one-on-one in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead in the third quarter.
”(Boulder Creek) has a great defense,” said Deer Valley Head Coach Sven Christianson. “I have to give them a lot of credit, they kept pressuring us and we couldn’t handle it. Our quarterback and run game couldn’t get anything cooking unlike last week.”
But not all of the Skyhawks offensive woes Friday night could be attributed to the Jaguars, some were self inflicted – namely a pair of delay of game penalties that halted two drives.
The first came on a third-and-five on their own 46 early in the second quarter. Hillman threw the next pass away while in the grasp of linebacker Zack Brown, leading to a punt.
Then, at the buzzer the Jaguars were called for pass interference inside their own 15 yard line. The officials placed the ball at the 11 and the Skyhawks were given one play to finish the half. However, Deer Valley couldn’t get the play off before the play clock expired for another delay of game call, which ended the half.
”We had a ton of penalties,” Christianson said. “Delay of game calls killed us at crucial situations, plus hands to the face, holding - 10 yards here 10 yards there really hurts.”
The lone bright spot for the Skyhawks was their defense.
After giving up a 1-yard touchdown run to Bonifasi, Deer Valley allowed just one first down and blocked a field goal in the first and nearly came away with another in the third. The Skyhawks also held the Jaguars top runner, junior Mike Contreras, to 21 yards on 11 carries in the second half.
Christianson was pleased with the defensive effort and said the unit just had to exhale after playing a timid first half when Contreras racked up 121 yards on the ground.
”We weren’t aggressive to start,” said senior linebacker Deandre Daniels. “So we decided to come out (of halftime) and fly around and have fun. Once we came out with that in our mind things worked better. All we wanted to do was get our offense the ball.”
Deer Valley jumped on the board first when senior Jacob Doyle kicked a 19-yard field goal early in the first quarter.
Up next for the Skyhawks will be a home test against Kingman.