Coming into the game as huge underdogs, Desert Vista needed to play a near flawless game to upset Hamilton Huskies, the top-ranked Class 5A Division I Hamilton Huskies.
Throughout the first half, the Thunder offense was stagnant with no first downs in the first quarter in the 35-17 loss on Friday in a Class 5A Division I Fiesta Region game.
However, the Thunder defense was holding strong versus the high-powered Hamilton offense. Still very much in the game, down 14-0 late in the second quarter, the Thunder offense awoke.
They secured their first three first downs of the game in a late second-quarter drive and finally made it into Hamilton territory.
Then came a game-changer.
Inside of two minutes left in the second quarter, Desert Vista called a wide receiver pass that ended in disaster as wide receiver Shaw Loomer threw into double coverage and had it intercepted by Hamilton’s Malcolm Holland.
“I thought the safety would roll up, but he stayed,” Loomer said. “I shouldn’t have thrown it.”
To make matters worse, Hamilton’s ensuing drive lead to a touchdown for a 21-0 advantage at the half.
It might have been a much different game had the Thunder been able to produce some points on that drive or even kept it at 14-0 at the half considering Desert Vista opened the second half with its first score of the game to make 21-7.
A gadget play is great when it hits, but when it goes flat it can really change the momentum.
Overall, however, the Thunder remained in the game, closing with 21-14 and 28-17 – before falling short against the state’s top team.
“We are starting to believe,” Loomer said.