Model quarterback Landon Cantrell vs. Sonoraville

Model senior quarterback Landon Cantrell surveys the field during the Blue Devils’ season opener against the Phoenix on Friday at Woodard-Tuggle Stadium. His offense would be shut out by a tough Sonoraville squad.

The Model Blue Devils opened the 2021 season on Friday night with a home game against Region 6-AAA foe Sonoraville. A young Blue Devils squad found themselves outmatched in the opener, as they fell to the visiting Phoenix 21-0.

The game, itself, was evidence of how the conditions were throughout the night – sloppy. Both teams turned the ball over multiple times and struggled finishing drives. However, it felt like the Phoenix had control of the game from the opening quarter. Sonoraville running back Zach Lyles had a great night, rushing for over 100 yards on only 11 carries.

His two touchdowns in the first half (a 47-yard rushing touchdown and a 72-yard receiving touchdown via a screen pass) sparked the Phoenix’ offense. Sonoraville quarterback Jaxon Pate’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Brant Bryant with 1:35 left in the first half ultimately put the game out of reach.

The positive takeaway for the Blue Devils (0-1) was the play of their defense, which performed well overall, especially in their second-half shutout of Sonoraville (1-0). Model head coach Jeff Hunnicutt reiterated that fact and shared his thoughts on the opening loss.

“We played tough (on defense) in spots,” Hunnicutt said. “Being a young team, we can’t have that frontrunner mentality. I think we had a little bit of that. When things went well, we got excited, but when they popped us in the mouth, I think we started pointing fingers. A young football team is going to do that from time to time, but we’re going to get better. In the grand scheme of us getting to game 11, this is just another scrimmage for us. Hats off to Coach (Denver) Pate and Sonoraville. They out-physicalled us tonight.”

With LaFayette visiting Shannon next Friday at 7:30 p.m., Hunnicutt knows his team has to move forward quickly.

“We’re young,” Hunnicutt said. “We can’t sit there and look back at the past. We’re going to review it Sunday, and we got to move on Monday and get better.”

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