COUNTY — Two weeks after leaving the field in an ambulance with what many thought was a season ending injury, Jacob Sonke, running back for the Valley Union Blue Devils, had a game he will remember forever as he ran for 532 yards on 34 carries and scored all seven of Valley Union’s touchdowns in a wild 48-44 win over the Mohave Accelerated Patriots out of Bullhead City Saturday.
The non-conference game that was scheduled after Hayden cancelled its season, was played at a neutral site in Chandler.
The win was Valley Union’s first of the season and also the first for the new coaching staff who had been working diligently all summer trying to get the players ready for the upcoming season.
“We’re extremely proud of these kids,” the Valley Union coaches all stated after the game. “The heart and determination they showed today is that Blue Devil pride we have been talking about since day one. Even the first two games of the season that we lost these kids never quit. Today all that hard work paid off. They played their hearts out to the final whistle.”
Sonke, a senior, had touchdown runs of five and 50-yards in the first quarter and a two-point conversion carry that gave the Blue Devils a 14-8 first quarter lead.
His 47-yard touchdown in the second quarter gave Valley Union a 20-14 lead at the half.
In the third quarter the two teams scored a combined 36 points as Sonke had touchdown runs of 90-, 10- and 43-yards giving the Blue Devils a 40-30 lead going into the fourth quarter.
His final touchdown of the game came on a 43-yard run which he followed up with the two-point conversion.
Valley Union had no yards passing but did run for 621 as Leo Parra had 11 carries for 76 yards, freshman Kohan Evans two for nine and quarterback J.J. Valenzuela five for eight.
Defensively, Sonke was in on 13 tackles, eight of which were solo. Senior Luis Guzman had eight solo and assisted tackles; sophomore Luke Essary had four solo to go with his five assisted tackles; Parra had an interception and four solo tackles. Freshman Luis Enriquez also had an interception to go with his four solo and assisted tackles. Levi Lawson had five solo and assisted tackles to go with a fumble recovery.
Valley Union, 1-2, will host 2-0 San Manuel this Friday night at 6 p.m. in Elfrida.
San Manuel dropped down to eight-man football this year and has beaten both Duncan and Fort Thomas by a combined score of 88-16 the first two games.
Friday will also be homecoming and senior night for the Blue Devils. School officials have announced that due to COVID-19 there will be no bonfire, halftime float parade or homecoming dance. The seniors and their parents will be recognized prior to the start of the game.
“We hope to give our hometown crowd a heck of a show for homecoming against San Manuel,” Brandon Gilbreth said.