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October 22, 2014

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Cheyenne win sets up rematch with Gorman

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The Cheyenne Desert Shields rolled to a 32-7 victory over the Bonanza Bengals Friday night, setting up a rematch of last year's Sunrise Regional semifinal against Bishop Gorman.

However, the game was a lot closer than the score indicated, with Cheyenne tailback Marcus Sullivan contributing 106 yards and two touchdowns to a 20-point scoring blitz in the fourth quarter.

"I know a couple of our players are disappointed," Desert Shields linebacker Damien Proby said. "Even though it's a victory we didn't play our style, with the penalties and the errors, so we just have to practice working out all the little kinks for next week's game."

The Bengals had an opportunity to make a fourth-quarter comeback when senior tight end Aaron Simon took a Sterling Sprau pass for 49 yards and a touchdown, making the score 20-7 with 7:57 remaining in the game.

But, Cheyenne decisively put an end to any Bonanza resurgence when cornerback Khyriece Campbell recovered his own team's kickoff, following a 35-yard touchdown run by Sullivan.

Sullivan's touchdown was his second of two consecutive long touchdown-scoring runs in the fourth quarter; he took the ball 65 yards to the end zone on the carry preceding his 35-yarder.

"Give credit to Cheyenne, they came out and played well and we were right in there in the game with them," Bengals coach Shawn Dupris said. "We just had a problem as far as penalties are concerned and that killed us."

Bonanza reached the red zone on two long drives in the first half, only to be driven back by costly penalties. However, its defense kept the team in the game, holding Cheyenne to just six points in the first half.

The Desert Shields defense also had its share of big plays, sacking Sprau six times and putting up Cheyenne's last touchdown of the game: a 28-yard fumble return by linebacker Greg Lawson.

Now Cheyenne faces the prospect of playing a team that put up 44 points on Bonanza just one week ago in state champion Bishop Gorman.

When the two teams met in the semifinals last year the Desert Shields put up a 16-0 lead early in the game before eventually being trampled 43-16. But this year Cheyenne is hoping the experience gained since last year will give it an edge.

"Last year we were a team but we weren't really a team like we are this year," Proby said. "This year we are really connecting; we have faith in each other. It's a big rivalry between the two teams. It should be a good game."

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