Defense, Second Half Surge Propels Thunder

It’s safe to say Desert Vista head coach Dan Hines couldn’t have scripted the Thunder’s rollercoaster regular season which included a five-game win streak followed by a three-game losing streak.

Well, add another chapter after DV’s (7-4) nip-and-tuck 30-24 win over Red Mountain (4-7) Friday night at Thunder Stadium.

Hines got some timely throws from resilient senior quarterback Alex Farina and a key defensive stop with the game on the line to seal the win and punch their ticket to a quarterfinals showdown with top-ranked Chandler on the east side of I-10.

With the game tied at 17 starting the third quarter Desert Vista leaned on their outstanding special teams play to gain momentum they would never give up.

Sophomore speedster Keishaud White fielded a punt near midfield, weaved through traffic down the middle then sprinted untouched down the Thunder sideline for a 54-yard score.

Then it was Connor Culp’s turn for the highlight reel. The LSU commit stroked a 50-yard field goal which likely would have been good from 60.

The Lions marched into Desert Vista in the closing minutes but quarterback Kyle Buckles was stopped short on a quarterback draw on fourth-and-three. Moments later Farina took a knee as time expired and the student section streamed onto the field.

“I tell you what I’ve got the greatest defensive staff in the world,” Hines said afterwards. “They made some [in-game] adjustments…our kids were able to execute.”