SUNNYSIDE — The Grizzlies made Senior Night one to remember as the defense came up big against Big 9 conference rival Eastmont with a blocked 23-yard field goal at the end of the game to preserve a 29-28 victory Friday night at Clem Senn Field.
Facing a fourth down and about five yards to go for a first down at the Wildcats 13-yard line, Sunnyside coach John Lobbestael called upon his sophomore Jovany Macias to kick home a 28-yard field to give the Grizzlies their first lead in the second half with 2:31 remaining.
After senior Adam Sanchez fielded the solid snap from center and made a good hold, Macias struck the ball strong through the uprights and the Grizzly sideline roared with excitement as they outscored the Wildcats 17-7 in the final half to earn the victory.
“I couldn’t believe it! The kick just got up and went in,” Macias exclaimed after celebrating the win with fans and teammates on the field. “I’m lost for words.”
Coach Lobbestael revealed he had faith in his kicker but was reluctant to call for the field goal because he didn’t want to put that type of pressure on the young man.
“I thank Jesus we did it because now he can have confidence from now on. It doesn’t get any more clutch than that,” coach proudly stated.
SHS senior running back Devontay Hererra plunged into the endzone for the game’s first touchdown with 2:35 remaining in the first quarter. On the extra point attempt, the snap and hold were not in sync which resulted in a kick below the crossbar. After the unsuccessful PAT, Sunnyside led 6-0.
Following the kickoff, Eastmont’s offense started at their own 37-yard line. Senior running back Carson Talley took the first down hand off and burst through a hole on the left side and sprinted 67 yards for a Wildcat’s touchdown. The PAT was good and just like that, the Grizzlies trailed 7-6.
Sunnyside’s ground attack was carried out by senior Arturo Fernandez and he scored on a 5-yard run with 6:15 left in the second quarter. The two-point conversion was no good and the Grizzlies reclaimed the lead, 12-7.
Fernandez rushed 47 times for 247 yards and one touchdown. Hererra chipped in with 12 yards and two touchdowns.
Eastmont’s offense answered 2:34 later as sophomore Corbin Keys scampered 36 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was good, and the Wildcats went back on top, 14-12.
On the Grizzlies ensuing drive, sophomore quarterback Logan Rodriguez threw a pick six interception that was returned by Eastmont junior defensive back Chance Garcia for 69 yards. Following the successful PAT, the Grizzlies were down 21-12 at halftime.
3:35 into the third quarter, the Grizzlies capped off a well-balanced drive with a one-yard touchdown by Hererra. The extra point was good, and Sunnyside trimmed the lead to 21-19.
Rodriguez threw for 224 yards, completing 30 of 21 passing attempts with one touchdown. Senior wide receiver standout Mike Rivera caught 10 passes for 110 yards while Jonathan Sanchez added six catches for 72 yards.
Eastmont pushed across their final touchdown with 4:15 remaining on senior quarterback Carson Everhart’s sneak into the end zone. The PAT was good, and the Wildcats were back on top, 28-19.
“It’s trembling going down to the last second. But I feel like they’re a good team, and we’re even a better team,” Rivera excitedly exclaimed. “That’s the games we’re going to have, and we just came out on top because we’re the better team.”
Sunnyside (3-0 Big 9, 5-2 overall) moved into second place in league behind Wenatchee (4-0, 6-1) with the win over Eastmont (2-1, 6-1).
The Grizzlies will travel to Wenatchee for a Friday night, Oct.25, for a 7 p.m. showdown at the Apple Bowl, 1600 Russel St.