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2022 Southern Arizona high school football preview: Desert View Jaguars


5A Southern: Desert View Jaguars

2021 record: 10-2 overall, 4-1 5A Southern (second)

Head coach: Robert Bonillas,  45-70, 11th season at Desert View and 13th overall (coached two years at alma mater Nogales in 2003 and 2004, going 6-14 in those seasons). Bonillas, hired by Desert View in 2012, is a former Arizona football player who played under the late Dick Tomey, of whom he was close to. Bonillas is one year shy of reaching the longest tenure in Desert View history. Humberto Federico coached the Jaguars for 12 seasons from their inception in 1985 to 1996.

Sean Sierra Jr., with his dad Sean Sr. in the background, has the makings of one of the best players in Southern Arizona this season (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

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Key returners:

  • FB/LB Sean Sierra Jr., 5-10, 210, Sr.
  • RB/LB Richard Cunes III, 5-11, 165, Sr.
  • WR/DB Rudy Rodriguez, 6-1, 180, Sr.
  • FB/LB Hector Vallejo, 5-8, 165, Sr.
  • WR/CB Justin Bucio, 6-2, 190, Sr.
  • LB/WR Eric Salazar, 6-0, 184, Sr.
  • G/DT Elliot Torres, 6-3, 300, Jr.
  • QB/LB Anthony Estrella, Jr.

“We’re just taking it a year at a time. We always have our philosophy (of) day at a time, game at a time or week at a time. It’s exciting to have a good core of kids coming back. We’re excited to see if we can maintain it like we all want to see it.” – Bonillas

“We’re exciting. We’ve got new faces. We have a bunch of kids filling those spots. We’re excited to put new kids in new spots to see what they can do. I mean, sure, it is a loss losing those two (running backs Serge Gboweiah and Carlos Alvarez) along with a couple of other kids. But we’re going to be excited for this season, look forward to it.” — Cunes

“It’s a lot of responsibility, for sure. A lot of people look up to the senior group, me especially since I’ve been in the program for so long. I take a lot of accountability for the team and I make sure everything is running smoothly so we can look as best as possible and be as ready as possible.” — Sierra Jr.

“Honestly, I feel good about it. Makes me put in that extra work.” — Rodriguez on taking on a leadership role this year as a senior.

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach/offensive coordinator: Robert Bonillas
  • Defensive coordinator: Richard Cunes
  • Linebackers: Sean Sierra Sr.
  • Running backs: Clarence Harper
  • Secondary: Marcus Benjamin
  • Offensive/defensive lines: Serge Mendoza
  • Offensive/defensive lines: Jose Roman
  • Offensive/defensive lines: Mike Medrano
  • Wide receivers: Ben Minor
Robert Bonillas is entering his 13th season as a head coach, 11th at Desert View (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Notes: Gone is the Dynamic Duo of Serge Gboweiah and Carlos Alvarez in the backfield for the Jaguars. The two combined for 4,063 rushing yards in the 2019 and 2021 seasons (Desert View played only two games in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season). Gboweiah is at NAU and Alvarez is attending Arizona and is trying to walk on with the Wildcats. Richard Cunes III is a senior running back who is built similar to Gboweiah and Alvarez at 5-11 and 165 with athleticism. … Desert View’s 10-win season last year set a school record. That topped the 9-3 season under Humberto Federico in 1987. The Jaguars reached the state quarterfinals that year similar to last season when they beat Millennium in the first round then lost at Desert Edge. … Also graduated is QB Oscar Barraza, now at Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D. The new QB is slated to be junior Anthony Estrella, who played in only two games and did not throw a pass last season. Bonillas also mentioned undisclosed transfers may shore up the QB position in the sixth game when transfers become eligible. … Desert View opens its season Thursday playing Sunnyside at Kino North Stadium because its field is undergoing a renovation to install synthetic turf (Sunnyside is also undergoing that renovation). The Jaguars also have tough freedom games at Willow Canyon (7-3 last season), CDO (7-5) and Nogales (marking Bonillas’ return to his alma mater).

Keep an eye out for: WR/DB Rudy Rodriguez, who has the size (6-1, 180) and athleticism to play at the next level. Desert View should make it a priority to pass Rodriguez the ball and get him in the open field. He also has the height and leaping ability to outjump most cornerbacks. Also has the physical ability to take hits from linebackers and safeties.

DESERT VIEW (0-2, 0-0)

Jaguars compete in the 5A Southern. *Region game. +Game at Kino North Stadium. % Game at Tucson High. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
9/1Sunnyside+L, 16-60-10-0
9/9@ Willow CanyonCancelled
9/16@ CDOL, 38-70-20-0
9/30Flowing Wells%
10/7@ Nogales
10/14@ Ironwood Ridge*
10/21Tucson*
10/28Cienega*
11/4@ Buena*
11/11Mountain View*

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District

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