Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Oct. 10, 2014 | 11:42 p.m.
Sunrise Mountain coach Chris Sawyers has lined up Damon Heard at quarterback in recent weeks as the Miners cope with an injury-affected depth chart under center.
Sawyers felt that trying Heard at quarterback would give the Miners a chance to get the ball in one of their best athlete’s hands every play.
Heard continued to blossom tonight, throwing a pair of touchdown passes to Jamilo Whitten, and the Miners held on for a 21-20 road victory over Rancho in a battle of teams looking for their first wins on the season. The victory snapped a 12-game losing streak and gave Sunrise Mountain (1-6) its first win since a 25-6 victory at Western on Sept. 12, 2013.
“To get a win is huge for our program right now,” Sawyers said. “I’m excited for our kids. I’d really like to see us play better than we did, but I was proud of our kids.”
Heard, a senior who also plays receiver and defensive back, connected with Whitten on TD strikes of more than 70 yards and another in the red zone, Sawyers said.
Sunrise Mountain also got a long touchdown run from Wanya Calahan, Sawyers said.
The Miners built a 21-6 lead before independent-schedule Rancho (0-7) used a pair of late touchdowns along with an onside-kick recovery to turn the game into a thriller.
It was a reverse of fortunes from last week for the Miners, who dropped a 49-48 overtime heartbreaker to Boulder City in a locally televised game.
“The way we played last week, to not get the victory was a bummer,” Sawyers said. “Any kind of win is a big deal, and hopefully it’s a stepping stone for our program to move in the right direction.”
Sawyers said Heard has thrown four TD passes in the past two games.
“Damon is throwing the ball well. I’m proud of him,” Sawyers said. “He’s come a long way; he’s a good leader for our kids.”