2019 Sunnyside (Wash.) QB Derrick Escamilla has Sunnyside in the driver’s seat to win the Big Nine this season.

Every single week the Grizzlies put up elite level performances. Whether it’d be defeating highly touted Prosser week one, or taking the defending state champs Richland to the final play.

The team currently sits at 4-1, and a big reason for that is the jaw-dropping numbers of their senior quarterback.

Right now Escamilla leads all Big Nine QB’s in passing yards (999), passing TDs (9), rushing yards (602) and rushing TDs (9).

When asked how he has been so successful this season, Escamilla was quick to deflect the credit onto his teammates.

“I’m being so productive this year because of my line,” Escamilla said. “There’s a lot seniors trying to ball out, and there’s so many weapons teams have to deal with.”

The explosion of Sunnyside is something few saw coming.

Escamilla’s natural positions are running back and cornerback; last year he played both those positions. But when Sunnyside graduating their starting QB, he knew somebody was going to have to fill the void.

“[Playing QB] didn’t really come to mind til the start of the season,”: Escamilla said. “Now I’m just trying to live up those expectations.”

For somebody that’s never played QB before, he hurls 50 yard bombs like he’s been doing it his whole life. A big reason for his success has been the chemistry with go to receiver Mike Rivera.

So far this season they’ve connected 29 times for 676 yards. That’s an astounding 23.3 yards per catch.

To make the connection even more impressive, they’ve scored eight TDs. To put that number in perspective, no other QB-receiver combo in the Big Nine has more than three.

“Whenever I see Mike Rivera it’s just great man,” Escamilla said. “When he’s downfield, I’m just trying to launch the ball to him.”

Escamilla still goes through his progressions when he drops back, but he always knows that he can hit Rivera in a pinch.

One trait that stands out about Escamilla is he is a thick-bodied quarterback. Often times in high school you’ll find rail-thin kids that go down easily when the pocket collapses.

At six foot 205 pounds he’s built like a mack truck. It makes him incredibly durable and is a big reason why he’s almost leading the conference in rushing yards. This includes being ahead of many full time running backs.

Some might even say he’s built like a running back, which as mentioned above, is his natural position. Escamilla says that he would love to play any position that’s asked of him at the college level.

A great way to increase his college opportunities would be taking Sunnyside on a deep playoff ride. With how their season has gone so far, there’s no reason why this team can’t do that.

The stakes are the highest they’ve ever been, as only one team will represent the Big Nine this year at the state level.

“Winning the Big Nine is always our goal, and we want to go even further than that,” Escamilla said.

Sunnyside has some marquee match-ups against top ranked Hanford and Wenatchee coming up. if they’re coming to your town, this team is worth checking out.