Phoenix jump out to half­time lead, hold on for vic­tory

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS SATURDAY - By Alex Far­rer

Sono­rav­ille looked like they were headed for an easy vic­tory af­ter rack­ing up a three­touch­down lead at the half on Fri­day in their sea­son opener against Model. But the Devils re­fused to go away qui­etly, forc­ing the Phoenix de­fense to make some cru­cial plays at the end to se­cure a 21-14 home vic­tory.

Model’s of­fense got on track in the sec­ond half and scored a touch­down apiece in the third and fourth quar­ter to cut the deficit to 21-14, and they had one more chance with the ball with less than five min­utes to play. But it was the Phoenix de­fense that rose to the oc­ca­sion to shut the door. Ju­nior line­backer Colton Richards came up with a sack on sec­ond down, de­fen­sive back Blade Bryant made a huge pass break-up deep down the field on third down and then Richard came up with an­other sack on fourth down to seal the game.

Richard was one of the key play­ers all night for Sono­rav­ille (1-0) on both sides of the ball as he came up with sev­eral big tackles, mul­ti­ple sacks and also re­cov­ered a Model fum­ble early in the third quar­ter. On of­fense, he ac­counted for three catches from his H-back po­si­tion for 43 yards.

Sono­rav­ille jumped on top late in the first quar­ter af­ter both teams traded pos­ses­sion a few times. Af­ter a long, clock-churn­ing drive, the Phoenix went up 7-0 on a Case Collins 10-yard touch­down run. Collins re­peated that twice in the sec­ond quar­ter as he scored on a six-yard run in early in the quar­ter and then added his third TD run of the night on a one-yard plunge with 5:47 left in the first half.

Collins was Sono­rav­ille’s lead­ing rusher on the night with 71 yards on 24 car­ries with his three touch­downs. The Phoenix of­fense was bal­anced out in the pass­ing game as sopho­more Cole God­frey had a good night in his first ca­reer var­sity start, throw­ing for 177 yards on 13-of-20 pass­ing. Kicker Tripp Mor­ri­son was a per­fect 3-for-3 on ex­tra points.

The Phoenix had one last chance be­fore the half to add to their lead, but a long field goal at­tempt was par­tially blocked and fell short of the goal posts.

Model (0-2) seemed to come to life af­ter the half­time break as they started to move the ball with their rush­heavy of­fense and do some dam­age against the Phoenix de­fense. The Devils dented the score­board first mid­way through the third quar­ter with Kwalic Dublin break­ing free for a 30-yard touch­down run to make it 21-7.

Af­ter the Devils’ de­fense stood strong to force a punt by Sono­rav­ille, the Model of­fense once again punc­tu­ated a drive with a 14-yard tou­chown run by Luke Holtzen­dorf to make it 21-14 with 9:05 to play in the game. Matthew Syver­son made both ex­tra points for Model.

Sono­rav­ille’s Trevor Easley came up with a fum­ble re­cov­ery for his team late in the third quar­ter, which was one of three for the Phoenix on the night.

God­frey spread out the wealth in the pass­ing game for Sono­rav­ille, com­plet­ing passes to five dif­fer­ent re­ceivers. Along with Richards’ solid night, Wes McCormick led the re­ceiv­ing stats with five catches for 47 yards. Ben Burns added three catches for 61 yards.

This was the sec­ond straight sea­son-open­ing win for Sono­rav­ille, and it gives them a one-game edge in the all-time se­ries against Model at 7-6.

The Phoenix will be on the road next Fri­day as they look to keep the early-sea­son mo­men­tum go­ing when they travel to Dar­ling­ton for an­other non-re­gion test at 7:30 p.m.

Pho­tos by LARRY GREESON / For the Cal­houn Times

( ABOVE) Sono­rav­ille’s Case Collins (12) tries to break away from two Model de­fend­ers dur­ing the first half on Fri­day. ( BE­LOW) Sono­rav­ille’s Rob­bie Hogg (29) and Colton Richards (26) com­bine to tackle Model’s Kidron Ford (6).

LARRY GREESON / For the Cal­houn Times

Sono­rav­ille quar­ter­back Cole God­frey scram­bles as he looks for a re­ceiver in the first half.

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