With just under seven minutes left in the game Desert Vista had a slim 3-point lead and Tucson Mountain View was threatening inside the Thunder territory, it was vital for the Thunder to come up with a big play.
In stepped senior safety Jason King.
Mountain View senior quarterback Cody Rochon rolled out to the left and threw a corner route that King saw coming. King broke on the route, jumped in front of the Mountain View receiver and came down with the interception.
“We’ve been working that all week,” King said. “I knew the (route) was coming and as soon as I saw him booting I just ran to it and instinctively jumped the route.”
The pick sparked the Thunder offense drive down the field and eventual score to seal the 24-14 victory over the Mountain Lions on Friday.
“A guy like Jason King is a big-play guy and it's plays like that that spark a team,” Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds said. “We found out tonight that our teams feeds off of those kinds of plays. Great job by King.”
The offense definitely fed off the play by King.
Junior quarterback Cade van Raaphorst came out on the ensuing drive and ripped off a 58-yard run to bring the ball inside the Mountain View red zone. Then on the next play sophomore running back Johnny Johnson punched it in for a 17-yard touchdown run.
“You get a big play and you drive off that,” van Raaphorst said. “It thrives energy. It brings out the emotion of the team and that was the biggest thing we needed.”
With the way the offense played in the first half it needed a boost of energy.
After two quarters, Desert Vista (2-2) was only able to put up three points from a 34-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Connor Culp.
Van Raaphorst was frustrated with his play going into the locker room at halftime. He said senior linebacker Matt Trujillo said something to the offense to get them back on the right track.
“A lot of it was my fault,” Van Raaphorst said. “I wasn’t following our offense and I kind of got away from it. I had a wake-up call at halftime. Matt Trujillo came in and kind of helped us out and set the mind right so I think that helped a lot.”
After the touchdown by Johnson it was all up to the defense.
The Thunder front seven came onto the field still riding the momentum of the interception and touchdown. The first two plays of the drive the defense sacked Rochon.
But the Mountain View offense rallied and got the ball to the Desert Vista 20-yard line.
As time wound down the Thunder defense stopped the Mountain View drive because of solid coverage by King and the secondary to force incompletions.
“Greg Battle our defensive coordinator does a hell of a job with these guys and the kids played their hearts out tonight,” Hinds said.
The Thunder stay at home next week when they take on Cienega on Sept. 27.
Hubbard is a Tempe-based freelancer writer.
Desert Vista 24 Mountain View 14
DV 3 0 7 14 - 24
MV 0 7 0 7 – 14
DV: K Connor Culp 34-yard field goal (0:30)
MV: QB Cody Rochon 1-yard run (0:53)
DV: QB Cade Van Raaphorst 34-yard pass to WR Jason King (5:25)
MV: RB Garret Darmer 2-yard run (11:55)
DV: RB Cullen VanGosen 1-yard run (9:07)
DV: RB Johnny Johnson 17-yard run (6:29)
First downs: 9 14
Rushing: 32-259-2 38-166-2
Passing: 6-13-1-73 8-21-1-130
Penalties: 8-70 5-16
Fumbles-lost: 0-0 4-2
RB Richie Estrada
21 rushes, 113 yards
3 catches, 50 yards
QB Cody Rochon
8-21, 130 yards, 1 interception
12 rushes, 35 yards, 1 rush TD
QB Cade Van Raaphorst
6-13, 73 yards, 1 passing touchdown, 0 interceptions
13 rushes, 120 yards, 1 rushing touchdown
WR Jason King
3 catches, 50 yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 1 interception on defense