Overcoming a slow start in the first half, the Mode Blue Devils came out in the second half of Friday’s game with a renewed effort against visiting Sonoraville.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, the Phoenix had already built up a lead that was too much to overcome, while mistakes and penalties hampered Model’s offense from putting points on the board.
In their second straight contest against an opponent from a higher classification, the Blue Devils came up short, this time losing 18-10 to Class 3A Sonoraville at Model’s Woodard-Tuggle Stadium.
The Blue Devils’ defense held Sonoraville scoreless in the second half after both teams scored touchdowns in the opening two minutes of the game.
“I’m proud of our efforts in the second half,” Model head coach Jeff Hunnicutt said. “We challenged our guys at halftime. I didn’t think our head and heart were in it again. It was evident in the way we came out flat — from the sidelines to the 11 guys that were on the field. We played extremely flat in the first half.”
Sonoraville capitalized on a Model turnover early in the game when Tyler Capps scored on a 6-yard touchdown run after Austin Arnold intercepted Model quarterback Jabari Burge.
Tripp Morrison missed the extra-point attempt allowing Model to take the lead on its next possession when Burge broke loose for a 53-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. David Veillon’s kick gave Model a 7-6 lead with 10:24 left in the first quarter.
Burge finished 3-for-11 for 55 yards passing, and A.J. Woods had 48 yards on 15 carries.
Sonoraville (1-0) scored two more times in the first half. Brady Lackey gave The Phoenix the lead back on a 2-yard touchdown run for a 12-7 score, and hit Ben Burge on a 53-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds left in the second quarter for an 18-7 halftime score.
Lackey was 10-for-21 for 110 yards, and Colton Whitehead had 70 yards on 10 carries.
A 30-yard field goal from Veillon in the third quarter was the only score of the second half.
Hunnicutt said his team has to maintain a level of excitement for an entire game for them to be successful.
“These guys have got to have some reasons to be excited,” Hunnicutt said. “We’ve got a full packed house, and we’ve got to put on a show. We’re a team. These defensive guys have got to get behind our offense even when we are struggling. That’s going to happen from time to time.”
Turnovers proved to be costly for Model as the team had five in the non-region contest. The Blue Devils lost two fumbles and gave up three interceptions.
Model (0-2) put together a drive from their own 23-yard line late in the third quarter to get down to the Phoenix 11, highlighted by a 26-yard run by Joseph Wallace. The series was halted when Model fumbled the ball inside the 5-yard line, ending a chance for the Blue Devils to tie the game.
Both teams struggled with penalties with Model totaling 10 on the night and Sonoraville amassing 11.
“Right now, we’ve got to do a little soul searching,” Hunnicutt said. “There are a lot of corrections we’re going to take from this and hopefully build from it. We played well in all facets of the game in at least some part of it. Offensively, we’re hurting ourselves some with holding penalties.”
The Blue Devils will face a third straight opponent from a higher classification when they travel to face Class 3A North Murray next Friday, while Sonoraville hosts Darlington.