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Apollos hit the accelerator

Sunset's offense comes alive in its 49-36 victory at Sandy on Friday night
by: JAIME VALDEZ, HE’S IN — Sunset senior quarterback Kyle Harper outruns Sandy’s Jake Fenwick to set up a touchdown during his team’s 49-36 win at Sandy High School on Friday night.

SANDY - Sunset expected a defensive struggle.

What the Apollos got was anything but.

After scoring 16 points total in its first two games, Sunset hooked up in a shootout, answering Sandy's every threat to its lead with touchdowns of its own to win 49-36 on Friday at Sandy High School.

Sunset's bulldozing back Tim Molloy led the way, plowing through the Pioneers for 132 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries to pace an Apollos' offense that gained 409 total yards, including 244 on the ground.

'That was quite a shootout,' Sunset coach Mike Mitchell said. 'We expected the opposite. I thought the way our defense was playing, this would be a defensive struggle.'

Sunset blanked Mountain View 16-0 in its previous game, but any thought of two straight shutouts quickly vanished when Sandy quarterback AJ Schnell hit a streaking Jake Fenwick for a 56-yard touchdown pass on the Pioneers' first drive to set the game's tone.

The Apollos answered with 21 straight points, but Sunset couldn't shake Sandy, which piled up 200-plus yards on the ground and 200-plus more through the air for 418 total yards.

'They played hard the whole game,' Molloy said. 'They didn't give up. The game was kind of back and forth. Luckily, we were able to score on most of our possessions.'

Sunset scored on all but its opening drive in the first half to take a 28-16 halftime lead, then repeated the feat in the second half.

'I thought our offense clicked a lot better this week,' Mitchell said. 'It's nice to get on that roll.'

Molloy's 1-yard touchdown run put the Apollos ahead 35-22 lead with 7:12 left in the game.

The Pioneers quickly responded when Schnell, who was 12-of-22 for 217 yards, hit receiver Blake Bithell in stride on a fly pattern along the Sandy sideline for a 48-yard touchdown.

But Molloy and the Apollos would not be stopped. On the first play of Sunset's ensuing possession, Molloy looked to be halted at the line. But the 6-foot, 197-pound Molloy churned his legs and burst through into an empty defensive backfield, lumbering into the end zone for a 48-yard touchdown.

'I kind of hit a couple guys, spun and kept going,' Molloy said. 'Once I broke through, there was no one there.'

Kyle Harper's extra point gave Sunset a 42-29 lead with 5:52 remaining.

Sandy returned the kickoff past midfield but the drive ended after just one play when Apollo defensive back Ronald Coulam leapt for an interception.

After five straight runs, Harper's 22-yard pass to Sam Wilson along the sideline set up Molloy's fourth touchdown of the game (and third of the fourth quarter). He ran off right tackle and through a hole for a four-yard touchdown and 49-29 lead after Harper's seventh PAT of the game.

'I give the offensive line props,' Molloy said. 'They did a great job all night. That last touchdown, the hole was eight feet wide, at least. My grandma could've ran through it.'

The victory improved Sunset's record to 2-1 heading into Friday's home game against South Medford.

'We've got some momentum going here,' senior running back Kevin Petermeyer said. 'I think people are understanding we're a good football team. We have great talent and chemistry.'

Fenwick's long touchdown reception gave Sandy the early momentum last Friday, but it didn't last long. Sunset countered with a 14-play, 69-yard drive capped when Molloy bulled his way up the gut for a 4-yard touchdown run. The Apollos converted two fourth downs on the drive and Harper began a run of eight straight completions. The senior quarterback finished 9 of 13 for 165 yards.

'He's really done a great job of leading, ' said Mitchell of Harper. 'He's definitely earned the respect of his teammates.'

Sandy's ensuing drive ended with its only punt of the game. After senior running back Kerry Degman popped off runs of 17 and 8 yards, Petermeyer beat his defender and hauled in a perfect pass from Harper for a 42-yard touchdown.

The game featured just two turnovers (both Sandy interceptions), but the first was costly for the Pioneers. Molloy rushed Schnell, flushing him out of the pocket and forcing a quick pass that was straight at Sunset's Matt Frutiger, who made the pick and sprinted through a clear path to the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown on the interception return.

After a Sandy touchdown, Petermeyer scored for the second time when he ran right and cut through a seam for a six-yard touchdown to give Sunset a 28-13 lead late in the first half.

Sandy cut into the lead with a field goal and opened the second half with a 14-play drive that took eight minutes off the clock. But the drive ended with a missed field goal. After an Apollo punt, the Pioneers closed within six points when Schnell's keeper up the middle went for a six-yard touchdown to make it 28-22 Sunset.