SIERRA VISTA — Buena football is heading to the postseason for the first time in more than five years after the Colts finished the regular season Friday night with a triumphant 54-0 win over visiting Sunnyside High School to finish the regular season at 8-2.
The Arizona Interscholastic Associate (AIA) announced the final rankings and the first round postseason matchups Saturday morning and the Colts are the 9 seed, and will play at No. 8 Sunrise Mountain on Friday, Nov. 8 in Peoria.
“It’s a new season on Friday,” Buena head coach Joe Thomas said. “We’re practicing and preparing to win that first round game.
“I’m proud for the high school. I’m proud for these kids and the City of Sierra Vista.”
Buena struck first Friday night after the defense forced Sunnyside to punt on their opening drive of the game. Senior quarterback Jovoni Borbon connected with Keyon Taylor for a 48-yard pass play to put the Colts on the Blue Devils’ side of the field. Borbon capped the drive with a 4-yard rushing touchdown, and the Colts led 7-0 after the PAT.
The Colts capitalized on a short field, after the Blue Devils turned the ball over at their 25 yardline on downs, with 35-yard touchdown through the air from Borbon to Jesse Avina. Buena held a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
Although Buena was able to double their score in the second quarter, their offense hit a sloppy spot. The Colts surrendered three turnovers, an interception and two fumbles, in the 12-minute stretch.
Borbon scored his second touchdown of the game with 5:32 to play in the half on another 4-yard run. The touchdown was set up by a fumble recovery by Blake Yeagley on the doorstep of the Colts’ endzone. Late in the half the Colts capitalized off another Blue Devil turnover.
The Sunnyside punter fumbled the snap and a big hit by Avina pushed the ball into the endzone which was recovered by Oscar Villalobos in the endzone for six points. Cole Muller made the point after attempt to give the home team the 28-0 lead, which is how the teams went into the break.
Avina led Buena defensively with five tackles, three hurries and a blocked punt. Borbon, Stemler and Damien Brown each had four tackles.
The defense earned its third shutout in a row after keeping Ironwood Ridge and Nogales off the scoreboard in its two previous games.
“This is the first year I feel like we’re getting better collectively as the season progresses,” Thomas said. “It’s nice when your defense can put points on the board.”
Buena picked up where they left off in the second half, adding to their lead less than three minutes into the third quarter when Isaac Benoit ran into the endzone for a 12-yard score.
Muller made the extra point to put Buena ahead 35-0. Sunnysided couldn’t find an answer for Buena’s run game and with 2:19 left in the third frame Taylor scored Buena’s seventh touchdown on a 34-yard run.
The point after attempt was blocked but the Colts led 41-0 heading into the final quarter of their regular season.
Clea McCaa added to the Colts scoring with a 20-yard pick-six less than four minutes into the new quarter. Senior Jesse Marquez sealed the win with a 19-yard rushing touchdown with just over two minutes left in the game.
Borbon finished the night with 4 completions on 5 attempts for a total of 98 yards and 24 yards rushing. Junior Tory Walter led Buena with 113 yards on the ground on 10 carries.
Buena will use the week to prepare for the Mustangs, which finished with a 7-3 record. The Colts will have the momentum entering the game after a big win, while Sunrise Mountain was shutout 50-0 Friday night in its final match of the regular season.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Sunrise Mountain High School, 21200 N. 83rd Ave, in Peoria.