Things were looking up for Sunnyside football.
The Blue Devils were well within striking distance of an upset at halftime at Sabino. They had played far from their best football but were facing just a 13-point deficit.
But Sunnyside turned the ball over on its first two second-half possessions - the second an interception returned for a touchdown by Sabino's Matt Brindley - and the Sabercats rolled to a 48-10 win.
The Blue Devils (2-2) have dropped back-to-back lopsided games, and Sabino has won four straight to open the season.
"We play real bad football in five-minute spurts … it's disgusting," Sunnyside coach Glenn Posey said. "They're a good team to take advantage of those. That's what championship football is all about.
"Life has ebbs and flows. They're on an upswing, and we're going the other way. They're feeling good, and we're getting kicked in the teeth."
But the Blue Devils faced a tall task - literally - even without a number of mistakes. Sabino tight end Matt Bushman outran and outleaped the Sunnyside defense on his way to 212 yards and a score on four catches - the shortest of which went for 34 yards.
The 6-foot-5-inch junior was a physical mismatch anywhere head coach Jay Campos put him on the field Friday.
"We know what he's capable of, but this has been his best chance to show it," Campos said.
Bushman said his basketball background helped him get position on a pair of long jump balls he caught in the first half - both of which aided early Sabino touchdown drives. He added an 84-yard catch-and-run for a score midway through the fourth.
"We're always talking about throwing the deep ball," Bushman said. "We just have so many weapons. Once a defense starts to cheat on those it opens things up for me."
The game was played in blustery conditions, and Sabino opened with the wind at its back, something Campos said helped the Sabercats get momentum early. Sabino punter Andres Lewis launched a 65-yard punt in the first quarter.
Sabino struck early after Sunnyside turned the ball over on the third play of the game, then the Sabercats took a 14-0 lead after Bushman's 49-yard catch on a halfback pass deep into Blue Devil territory. Sabercats quarterback Lee Holland scrambled for Sabino's first two touchdowns.
Sabino struck again in the final minute of the half when Sunthi Danh took a screen 22 yards for a score after making a pair of would-be tacklers miss at the line. Danh caught three passes for 28 yards, ran four times for 39 yards and completed a 49-yard pass to Bushman.
Sunnyside mustered just 224 yards of offense against a swarming Sabino defense.
"It was just everyone doing their job," Brindley said. "We had the right plays, and it worked out."
The teams combined for three turnovers in the first 2:09 of the second half, but Sunnyside committed two of the three deep in its territory.
Sabino, which played a nearly flawless game, was penalized seven times for 65 yards. Sunnyside quarterback Christian Oropeza completed 6 of 12 passes for 69 yards, and Holland completed 5 of 9 for 181 yards and two scores.
On StarNet: Follow all your favorite high school teams throughout the season at: azstarnet.com/high-school
On StarNet: See more photos from Friday's games at azstarnet.com/gallery