In a game that featured 99 combined points and 1,026 yards of total offense the number that mattered the most to the Deer Valley Skyhawks was a big zero.
That zero is still sitting in the No. 6 Skyhawks’ loss column after they outlasted the No. 9 Millennium Tigers 53-46 Friday night at Deer Valley in a Division II, Section I shootout to go to 5-0 this season.
“Anytime you play a team with explosive athletes like that it’s going to be tough.” Skyhawks Head Coach Joe Kersting said, “Millennium has a lot of explosive athletes and luckily we have some big playmakers on our side.”
The game was in doubt until the final thirty seconds. That was when Deer Valley senior quarterback Auston Hillman scored the game-winning touchdown on a naked bootleg from two yards out.
“It took an offensive team effort,” Hillman said, “We came out an executed as a group.”
Deer Valley senior running back Trae Armstrong had a superb night scoring three touchdowns and gaining 239 yards on 28 carries.
“It all started up front with our linemen. We came together as an offense and worked hard,” Armstrong said, “I give all the credit to the offensive line. They made all the holes.”
Armstrong’s breakaway speed is part of what makes him so deadly to the opposition.
“Armstrong is so fast and explosive that when he gets in the secondary, it’s usually going all the way,” Kersting said.
Deer Valley opened the scoring on the game’s first drive when Hillman connected with junior Luke Doyle on an 11-yard touchdown pass. The Skyhawks extended their lead to 13-0 on Hillman’s second touchdown pass of the opening quarter. Hillman found senior Jaques Bruce streaking down the seam behind a pair of defenders and he made an over-the-shoulder catch for a 36-yard touchdown. The extra point was no good and Deer Valley took a 13-0 lead after the first quarter.
Millennium responded on its next drive with a Frank Hernandez two-yard touchdown run. Hernandez bowled his way over the left side of the Skyhawks line to make it 13-7 with 11:15 to go in the first half.
Armstrong got into the act with a 63-yard touchdown run to put Deer Valley ahead 19-7 early in the second quarter. Armstrong started up the middle and broke a pair of tackles. He cut right and broke another pair of tacklers before beating the last defender to the end zone. The two-point conversion pass failed.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jerrell Green fielded the bouncing kick at the ten-yard line and raced back 90 yards for a touchdown to make it 19-14.
Senior Chris Landrum responded with an 18-yard touchdown run to put Deer Valley up 25-14 midway through the second quarter but Millennium drew to within 25-21 when Green reeled in a 9-yard touchdown pass with 54 seconds left in the first half.
Millennium took its first lead at 28-25 on an 80-yard bomb from Chad Hons to Green. The lead lasted one play as Armstrong broke away from the pack and ran an 80-yard touchdown for Deer Valley.
Jacob Newsome hit a 29-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 32-31 edge late in the third quarter but it wouldn’t last. Hillman took off on an 81-yard touchdown scamper on the second play of the fourth quarter to give the SkyHawks the lead.
The Tigers (3-2) tied the game at 39-39 on a 60-yard touchdown catch by Manny Anzar and a two-point conversion.
Armstrong pounded his way in from five yards out to give Deer Valley a 46-39 lead but it was erased with 2:02 left in the game on Lavonte Hatcher’s 21-yard touchdown run.
“It’s great to be 5-0 but I’d rather be 10-0 at the end of the year and see where we’re going from there,” Hillman said.