Football: Sahuarita earns first win & Cholla picks up first loss

September 18, 2015 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365

Damion Hill (Andy Morales/

Sahuarita defeated Cholla 52-6 in a game a few pundits saw ending the other way. A Charger win may have been a safe and logical prediction considering the 3-0 record Cholla sported while the Mustangs came in winless at 0-3 but a closer look at the three losses was warranted.

Playing in Division IV, Sahuarita took on D-II powers Tucson Sahuaro and Tucson Salpointe to start the season and then followed that up with a trip to D-III power Nogales. The Mustangs were remarkably within a couple of plays of starting out 2-0 but the winless streak caused some to wonder if this was the same team that went 12-0 last year before losing to Mohave Valley River Valley in the semifinal round.

Well, it's not the same team. It just might be better.

Head coach David Rodriguez is now coaching in California and standout quarterback Calvin Jenkins (2,074 yards passing, 27 touchdowns) and running back Geovan Neuser (1,189 yards, 21 TDs) are playing for Pima Community College.

Longtime assistant Rodney Day is in his first year at the helm and senior Damion Hill (694 yards, 9 TDs) is under center. On average, Hill's numbers are slightly better than the ones Jenkins put up last year but much of that can be credited to his big win over Cholla.

Hill was almost perfect, hitting on 13 of 14 attempts for 247 yards and five touchdowns. He spread the field and hit five different receivers with Gabriel Hernandez pulling down three catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Allyn Williams had three catches for 71 yards and a touchdown and Dago Segundo added 57 yards and two scores on three catches.

The incompletion? It came on his first attempt but the Mustangs were already up 7-0 at the time thanks to a 48-yard run by Hernandez on the Mustangs first play of the game.

"The tough schedule helped us come together as a team," Hill explained. "We couldn't wait to start playing teams in our division. We had great blocking and I was almost never touched. I love my line and I guess they love me too."

Sahuarita led 21-0 in the first quarter and 42-0 at the half but, as you can see, it wasn't all offense.

Sahuarita picked up nine sacks in the game and 13 total negative plays, holding Cholla to 24 yards rushing on 25 attempts. Bobby Vega-Rodriguez had a difficult time in the backfield due to the constant pressure but he still managed 102 yards passing and he ran in an 8-yard score late in the game.

The Chargers' season gets even tougher with Oro Valley Pusch Ridge and Tucson Flowing Wells coming up next but the team has a realistic shot at least seven wins and a trip to the playoffs.

Unlike Division III where three losses puts a team on the edge of qualifying for the playoffs, three D-IV teams with a 5-5 record made the playoffs last year. Of course, all three lost in the first round by a combined score of 121-27.

But losing the weight of being undefeated may actually help the Chargers refocus on what they need to do.

"We are humbled and focuses now," head coach Virgil Henderson told his team after the game. "We have the undefeated stuff off our backs but we have seen our work. We know what we have to do as players and coaches. We thought we were here but we aren't ready yet."

Cholla running back Shawn David Fontenette finished the game with 19 yards rushing and 32 yards receiving. He has been key for the Chargers this year. In addition,  Hernandez hit on a 46-yard field goal for Sahuarita.

His kick is the sixth longest in Arizona this year but his personal best is 48.

The initial AIA/MaxPreps rankings will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 29.