Desert Vista didn't get greedy Friday night.
The Thunder used a surgical passing game that produced three Hunter Rodriguez touchdown passes as visiting Desert Vista knocked out Phoenix Pinnacle 28-7 in 5A nonregion play.
"I knew where I was going to go and made my reads," Rodriguez said.
The Desert Vista quarterback completed eight straight passes in the second quarter and finished with 263 yards through the air on 18-of-26 passing, including touchdown strikes of 31, 44 and 32 yards.
"I was looking for the secondary dropping because we were doing a bunch of underneath routes," Rodriguez said. "It was impossible for them to stop."
After falling behind 7-0 early, the Thunder quarterback was patient and continued to take the short connections underneath the Pioneers' cover 4 defense, which eventually led to a Conner Fandino 31-yard strike with 3:27 left in the first half.
"Hunter (Rodriguez) really stepped up tonight," said Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds after his team improved to 2-0. "He was really leading our offense like a quarterback should."
Pinnacle (1-2) tried to counter-punch and drove to the Desert Vista 15-yard line, but Thunder defensive lineman Jalon Bibbs recovered a fumble.
Rodriguez then completed five-straight throws to four different Desert Vista receivers before stopping the clock with an incompletion with 22.4 seconds left in the half at the Pinnacle 18 yard line. Four plays later, Aaron Smith rumbled in from 4-yards out.
"That was huge. That is great momentum going into half," Hinds said. "I was really proud of our kids on the long drive, (they) didn't make a lot of mistakes (and) we were able to use the clock well."
The second half was more of the same. Desert Vista marched down the field on the opening drive and Rodriguez again found Fandino for 44-yard touchdown pass to put the Thunder up 21-7.
"(Fandino) was just doing a little drag and no one picked him up because he was going through the line of scrimmage," Rodriguez said. "That play just worked really well for us."
The Desert Vista defense then went to work.
The Thunder didn't allow a second half Pinnacle first down until 10:53 left in fourth quarter and that drive was ended when Mike Ingrassia intercepted a pass.
Rodriguez then found Ingrassia for a 32-yard scoring pass with 4:52 left in the game. Ingrassia caught five passes for 60 yards while Fandino caught two for 75 yards.
"This was the first time we put this (offense) together," Rodriguez said.
For good measure, Jordan Pogue would intercept the next Pinnacle pass to seal the victory.
Pinnacle did strike first as quarterback Jackson Harley found Neil Walters for an 11-yard pass on the game's opening drive. Harley finished with 80 yards passing on 7 of 18 but had two interceptions.
The Pioneers ground game featured an option look as Harley had 47 yards on 11 carries and Cody Gibson had 63 yards on 21 carries.
Desert Vista 28, Pinnacle 7
First downs 22 12
Rushes-yards 33-129 35-108
Passing yards 263 80
Comp-Att-Int 18-26-1 7-20-3
Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties 8-80 5-30
Desert Vista 0 14 7 7—28
Pinnacle 7 0 0 7—7
P - Walters 11 pass from Harley (Smith kick)
DV - Fandino 31 pass from Rodriguez (Goldfein kick)
DV - Smith 4 run (Goldfein kick)
DV - Fandino 44 pass from Rodriguez (Goldfein kick)
DV - Ingrassia 32 pass from Rodriguez (Goldfein kick)