Tucson Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez can’t recall how many times he has been to the playoffs in his 13 years as the Blue Devils’ coach.
But he won’t hesitate to talk about Sunnyside’s three trips to the state championship.
“That’s our concern,” he said before Friday’s first round of the 5A-II state tournament against No. 15 Mesa Desert Ridge. “Our goal every year is to get to that game and try to win it.”
The No. 2-seeded Devils began their annual quest with a convincing 54-14 blowout victory over the visiting Jaguars on Friday.
Sunnyside (9-2) was led by running back Manny Aguilar, who finished with 84 yards on 14 carries. However, he was escorted off the field after injuring his leg in the first half and did not return.
After a 28-yard field goal from Jesus Ortiz made it 10-0, Sunnyside caught the Jaguars off-guard on a third-and-one play when quarterback Sammy Olivas sailed the ball to wide receiver Patrick Medina down the left side for a 52-yard score.
Desert Ridge (4-7) did not score until the fourth quarter when quarterback Clay Busch hit Chris Heldore for a 14-yard touchdown and found Ryan Burchett for a 55-yard TD with 46 seconds left.