Postgame more interesting than routine Valley Vista victory

Valley Vista junior quarterback Antonio Gomez tries to avoid the tackle of Shadow Ridge senior linebacker Fabian Suniga, while senior tailback Ray Baquero blocks senior Zachary Motlagh. [Elliott Glick/Special to West Valley Preps}

By Sam Ganczaruk
For West Valley Preps

The winless records didn’t matter when Surprise rivals Valley Vista and Shadow Ridge faced off Friday.

The intensity displayed on the field and afterwards only added to the rivalry as the host Monsoon overwhelmed the Stallions, 35-7, in a Dysart district matchup.

Following the victory, Shadow Ridge coach Bob Chappelle wasn’t too happy with Valley Vista’s Josh Sekoch after the Monsoon tacked on a late touchdown instead of taking a knee in the closing minute. The two coaches had to be restrained by their coaching staffs and athletic directors at midfield during the handshake.

“If that’s what they feel they have to do, I guess that is what they have to do,” Shadow Ridge coach Bob Chappelle said. “I wasn’t calling timeouts. I said the game was over.”

Sekoch defended the move — allowing running back Ray Baquero to scamper in from 9 yards out with 1.9 seconds left but also recognized why Chappelle was upset with him.

“It is the backup quarterback and he never practices going under center,” Sekoch said. “It wasn’t 50-0 and I thought there was more time than there was so that falls on me. We won’t do that kind of stuff again.”

Both teams were searching for its first victory and Valley Vista (1-2) used six Shadow Ridge (0-4) turnovers — three interceptions, three fumble recoveries — to get in the win column.

“In feels good to play well after a sloppy first quarter,” said Sekoch after his team committed six penalties in the first half.

Valley Vista quarterback Antonio Gomez, who spent last season playing wideout, engineered two second half scoring drives including a 32-yard run to ice the game, 28-7, with 2:23 left.

“I’m getting more confident and I’m able to connect and trust everybody,” said Gomez, who spent his freshman season at Shadow Ridge before transferring. “It was fun proving to them what we had.”

Gomez finished with 101 yards rushing and 99 yards passing, including a 32-yard TD pass to Dorian Singleton just before halftime.

“He’s a good runner and getting better as a passer,” Sekoch said. “It was good to see Tony get some success.”

Shadow Ridge’s lone score came just before halftime as Julian Toles broke a 28-yard TD run to cut the Valley Vista lead to 14-7. The Stallions other feature back Scotty Nixon finished with 117 yards on 14 carries.

“Our whole game plan was that somebody other than Scotty had to beat us,” Sekoch said.

Shadow Ridge had to platoon quarterbacks because senior Esteban Lopez was dealing with a bruised chest so junior Jordan McBeath-Navarro played the entire second half. McBeath-Navarro finished 7-of-15 for 74 yards but was intercepted twice.

Valley Vista also had a productive ground game as Baquero finished with 100 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries while Aiden Cunningham had 46 yards on five carries, including a 15-yard first quarter touchdown run.

Valley Vista junior linebacker Alexander Zacek (#44), junior cornerback Elijah Contreras (#1) and sophomore safety Makai Oregon (#17) case in on a Shadow Ridge player in the teams’ Sept. 8 game at Valley Vista. [Elliott Glick/For West Valley Preps]
SCORE BY QUARTERS

1   2    3    4       F

Shadow Ridge       0   7   0    0  –     7

Valley Vista            7   7    7  14 –   35

SCORING SUMMARY

VV – Aiden Cunningham 15 run (Isaiah Harris kick)

VV – Dorian Singleton 32 pass from Antonio Gomez (Harris kick)

SR – Julian Toles 28 run (Kyle Kerr kick)

VV – Ray Baquero 20 run (Harris kick)

VV – Gomez 32 run (Harris kick)

VV – Baquero 9 run (Harris kick)

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