On a Roll: Sunnyvale rides winning streak into football playoffs
Since its inaugural season in 2010, Sunnyvale has enjoyed its share of success on the gridiron.
The Raiders have posted a winning record in every season since, had made six consecutive playoff appearances and on four occasions they ran the table undefeated during the regular season, including last year.
But heading into a bye week in the middle of October, Sunnyvale found itself in an unusual position. The Raiders were coming off a 44-38 loss to Caddo Mills in their district opener and were staring a 1-4 record in the face.
For those that might have thought Sunnyvale was trending down, it has answered that question emphatically since, outscoring its opponents by a combined score of 155-33 during a three-game winning streak, including a 60-7 rout of Farmersville last week.
They will look for that momentum to carry over into the Class 4A Division II playoffs, when they meet Ferris in a bi-district game at 7 p.m. Thursday at Raider Stadium.
Sunnyvale hit the 60-point mark for the second straight week and it nearly did it in one half.
The Raiders wasted little time getting started on their opening drive, as Max McAda hit Joey Bruszer on a 57-yard touchdown pass and then found Brent Winfree for the two-point conversion for a quick 8-0 lead.
The defense then forced a fumble that was recovered by Hudson Smith and McAda was off to the races on a 41-yard scoring run to make it 15-0.
Sunnyvale continued to dominate on both sides of the ball.
Obi Arinze picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown, Smith’s second fumble recovery set up a 26-yard scoring pass from McAda to Noah McDill and an interception by Brenden Gomez led to a 40-yard run to the end zone from Alex Luna to push it to 36-0 at the end of one quarter.
The Farmersville turnover barrage continued as McDill picked off a pass and McAda hooked up with Landry Laird on a 26-yard touchdown.
After a turnover on downs, Luna had a 32-yard scoring run and Arinze broke free for a 62-yard score as the lead swelled to 57-0 at halftime and they put it in cruise control from there.
Sunnyvale now turns its attention to the playoffs and Ferris in the first round.
The Yellow Jackets have made the playoffs in 10 of the last 11 years, but it has not always been pretty, as they did so last year after going 2-8 during the regular season.
Ferris is 5-4 this year and coming off a 35-8 loss to Glen Rose.
Quarterback Nate Aguinaga is averaging only eight pass attempts per game, but is far more dangerous on the ground, where he has rushed for 986 yards and 10 touchdowns, and the Raiders will also have to be aware of Kayden Barnes, who has 568 yards and four scores on the ground.
If common opponents are a denominator, that is not necessarily a good thing for Ferris, who had to work hard for a 17-10 win over the same Farmersville team the Raiders destroyed a week ago.