4A Gila: Catalina Foothills
2020 record: 1-1 in season cut short because of COVID-19, the last of Darius Kelly’s two-year tenure at the school.
Head coach: Daniel Sainz, first year at Catalina Foothills and overall. Sainz was an offensive line coach at Sahuaro High School under Scott McKee for the previous nine seasons, became the new head coach at Catalina Foothills in April. Sainz was a senior center listed at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds at Santa Rita when Jeff Scurran coached the Eagles to the state championship game in 2008. Sainz replaces Kelly, a former Buena and Pima College standout, who accepted the head coaching job with the Sonoran Sidewinders team comprised of local junior college students. Sainz’s offensive lines at Sahuaro were productive in terms of helping to generate a very potent running game. In the Cougars’ last full season in 2019 — in 2020 they played only three games because of COVID-19 — they rushed for 3,310 yards and three of their running backs gained at least 700 yards. Before Sainz became the offensive line coach, he served one season as an apprentice on McKee’s staff.
- QB Connor Smith, 6-0, 202, Sr.
- RB Eden Bae, 6-0, 168, Jr.
- RB Samuel Delgado, 5-8, 160, Soph.
- TE Luis Perez, 6-2, 210, Sr.
- WR/CB Marcel Dixon, 6-1, 175, Sr.
- RB Yasuo Bean, 5-6, 152, Sr.
- Head coach/offensive coordinator: Daniel Sainz
- Defensive coordinator: Eric Dupree
- Offensive line: Dean Misenhimer
- Defensive line/offensive line: Zach Singer
- Defensive line: Greg Molina
- Defensive backs: Cole Stearns
- Wide receivers: Jason Adams
Notes: Sainz spends his days as a member of the Air National Guard and credits the military experience with the U.S. Air Force for instilling teamwork and discipline with his players. … The Falcons have a recent history of producing college tight ends with Will Parker (son of former Arizona lineman Glenn Parker) moving on to Colgate and Garrick Krautz now at Morehead State. Perez apparently will keep that trend going after this season. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, he is one of the more physically impressive players in Southern Arizona and the state. … Glenn Parker served as an offensive line coach with Jeff Scurran and Kelly, but is no longer at the school. Misenhimer, who has a history of being a softball coach in Tucson, most recently at Rincon/University, is the new offensive line coach. His son Blake played running back at Sahuaro when Sainz was the offensive line coach. Misenhimer was a standout offensive lineman who occasionally played at fullback for the Cougars under Howard Breinig despite being 6-foot-3 and 282 pounds. Misenhimer was part of Dennis Bene’s staff at Salpointe at the outset of his coaching career. … Smith, who has good size at 6-foot and 202 pounds, is an experienced quarterback although he has only 11 attempts in his varsity career. He only played in one game last season. He has also served as the team’s punter. … Bae and Bean provide Sainz two quality running backs. Bae had a 75-yard touchdown run last season. … Keep an eye on freshman offensive lineman Izaiah Reyes, 6-foot-1 and 299 pounds, who is already elevated to the varsity team. … Catalina Foothills is playing exclusively a Southern Arizona schedule starting with its season opener Friday at home against Sabino.
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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