Dean Knuth / Arizona Daily Star

Not so fast: Juan Villarreal of Sunnyside grabs the jersey of Catalina's Zach Morales during their 4A Sonoran matchup Friday night.

Sunnyside cruises

Blue Devils rally after Catalina scores on opening drive 

By Chris Davis 

How about this for an eye-opener? 

Catalina drives 86 yards to start the game and takes a 3-0 lead on a 30-yard field goal by Shawn Inskeep. 

If football games lasted seven minutes, the Trojans would have been in good shape. 

But they do not. 

Sunnyside then answered the wake-up call, scoring 35 first-half points en route to a 55-6 rout at home. 

"We were able to work on our run game," said Sunnyside coach Richard Sanchez. "But we haven't been consistent and still don't have the lineup that we want going into the playoffs." 

The Blue Devils continued to experiment with their starters, because of injuries and to find a better combination on each side of the ball. 

The biggest change occurred at quarterback. 

With starter Jaime Cota nursing a knee injury, sophomore Anthony Duarte got his first start for Sunnyside. 

"I was really nervous," Duarte said. "It's hard, especially taking the place of Jaime, and I had to count on everyone else to help me out." 

Xavier Smith was a big help. 

The Arizona-bound running back rushed 14 times for 150 yards - 137 of which came in the first half. 

After growing accustomed to playing on both sides of the ball - Smith also plays linebacker - he only took handoffs Friday night. 

"We just wanted to see what he would do if he ran the ball when he was fresh," Sanchez said. 

Smith single-handedly carried Sunnyside on its first offensive series, rushing on all five plays to give his team the lead. 

"It felt pretty good," Smith said. "I was able to focus on just the offense." 

Catalina managed to catch Sunnyside off guard early in the game. 

Using the sweep and inside handoffs, the Trojans gained 98 yards on the ground during the first quarter. 

"They were cracking in on our inside guy," Sanchez said of Catalina's sweep. Our guy "wasn't going to the ball carrier. He was going toward the blocker." 

However, Sunnyside adjusted and held Catalina to just 25 rushing yards for the rest of the game. 

David FranCoeur led the Trojans with 115 yards on 13 carries. 

Duarte eventually worked himself into the flow of the game, completing 6 of 9 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns He also rushed for an 18-yard score. 

Despite Duarte's claim of being nervous, Sanchez said he appeared calm. 

"We kidded around with him all week, but you can't get him nervous or excited. That's just his personality," Sanchez said. 

Cota suffered his injury against Cholla, but said he was ready to play, if needed. 

"It hurt a little tonight, but I'm ready to go," the senior said.