By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
SEBASTOPOL — Playing with playoff precision, Analy pounced on Maria Carrillo and looked every bit an Empire powerhouse Friday.
Slicing through what was expected to be a strong Pumas defense, the Tigers found a rhythm churning out first downs and striking for big plays in the 63-6 rout.
First-year varsity quarterback Darin Newman threw four touchdown passes to a pair of the region’s top receivers, Aaron Maher and Dylan Mathias. Despite playing on a gimpy ankle, Kyle Lewis topped 100 yards rushing including a score — he followed on the next play with an interception return for a touchdown.
“We expected to come out strong,” Newman said. “It’s a good start, a confidence builder.”
Avoiding a shutout was little solace for Maria Carrillo. Stunned by the lopsided loss, Pumas players are eager to push the restart button on the young season.
“We’ve got to put in work next week,” said Sage Ritchie, a top tailback and linebacker. “We’ve really got to come together again as a team.”
For a quarter the contest was close.
Despite moving the ball on their first three drives, the Pumas couldn’t find the end zone.
Analy’s first scoring drive revealed how dangerous the Tigers offense could be this season. Passing on seven of nine downs, the Tigers went 89 yards as Newman connected with four different receivers. A 15-yard pass to Maher in the corner of the end zone couldn’t be defended.
The only stop for Maria Carrillo came on Analy’s next possession, a three down and out series.
Following with their best drive of the night, Maria Carrillo mixed in some passing with the Pumas multi-back running game. Evan Bluestone was at quarterback for the injured Julian Gonzalez.
A fourth down solo stop by Analy linebacker Zavi Ginella gave the Tigers the ball back at their 15-yard line.
Analy needed little time to score thanks to a 62-yard Lewis scamper through a hole and up the right sideline. Newman hit Mathias from six yards out for the score.
The knockout blow came with Analy holding a three-touchdown lead deep in the second quarter.
Starting on Maria Carrillo’s side of the field, Analy went six plays to score with Lewis going around the right side from 3 yards out for the touchdown.
On the next play from scrimmage, Lewis picked off a deep pass and ran untouched with blockers to spare for a 55-yard pick six.
“Our defense flew around to the plays. We know the potential of our defense,” said Mathias, a defensive back when not catching passes on offense.
Another interception and a pair of sacks added up to a big night on both sides of the ball for the Tigers.
For the Pumas, playing an early nonleague game provides time to regroup after a disappointing performance.
Games played Friday and today are the earliest dates prep teams can start the season.
Playing so-called zero week contests gives those squads an open bye week during the season.
Maria Carrillo has two weeks until the Pumas’ next game.
“I guess it’s timely to allow us an opportunity to regroup,” said Maria Carrillo coach Jay Higgins. “We definitely did not expect this.”
By contrast, Analy wants to get back on the field. A tough contest awaits at San Marin next Saturday.
“That was a great way to start the year,” Analy coach Dan Bourdon told his players. “Let’s keep it going.”
You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.