There was a time when the feeling was foreign for Kaleb Germinaro.

Crossing a white line, especially the one marking the end zone, with an oblong ball can bring all kinds of emotion.

Some people dance, others spike the ball and some do both or something all together different.

When Germinaro scored in the final minute for Desert Vista in a 38-14 win over Brophy last season, he drew a blank.

"I didn't know what to do," he said. "I just kind of waited until my teammates came over."

The Desert Vista junior has a handle on it in 2011 and it has become pretty clear in the first part of the season that he better get used to it.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound wide receiver has been the Thunder's big-play threat in helping Desert Vista get off to a 3-0 start heading into tonight's home game against Westwood.

"He's been unbelievable," senior running back Mike Arredondo said. "He gets a step on someone and it is over."

Germinaro has stepped into the all-important role as the trigger man on the Thunder's patented fly sweep. Most of the offense is predicated on the fly sweep. Once he goes into motion from his wide receiver position, the defense has to be prepared for just about anything.

Some of the defenses the Thunder have played so far have had trouble making that distinction.

Germinaro has 10 carries for 245 yards and three touchdowns. He has also caught two passes for 44 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown in the season-opening win over Maryvale.

"It's been a good start, but I know the offense can do more," Germinaro said. "The line and (Arredondo) have created huge holes and it is just running as hard and as fast as I can."

In the win over Mountain Pointe, Germinaro played more of a decoy role as he only had two carries for 19 yards in the weather-shortened game.

The Pride struggled with runs through the gut of the defense in part because of improper alignment, but having the threat of a speedster getting on the edge helped as well.

"We were able to get some runs early in the game up the middle and that got us going," Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds said. "Some times teams concentrate on stopping the fly so much that we can get some big runs elsewhere."

Hinds had no problem handing one of the key positions of his offense to a junior who had just 17 carries for 90 yards, and that touchdown against Brophy, the year before.

"We knew what kind of athlete Kaleb was and the speed he brings to that position," Hinds said. "It's his first time as the main guy on varsity, but he has been in the system for a few years."

The key to it, other than Germinaro's speed - which is in the high 4.4s in the 40-yard dash - is the chemistry between Germinaro and his lead blocker Arredondo.

It was clear last year the combo of Mike Ingrassia, the ball carrier, and Conner Fandino, the blocker, had it and they helped the Thunder to a turnaround season in which they went 10-3 and made the state semifinals.

Arredondo, who has 20 carries for 198 yards, and Germinaro appear to have a similar connection.

"They've been great," Desert Vista quarterback Hunter Rodriguez said. "We've hit a big play early in the game so far and it opens everything else up. We haven't skipped a beat (with the graduation of Ingrassia and Fandino)."

Germinaro looks to be in line to have the breakout year similar to Ingrassia, who had 1,628 yards from scrimmage and 14 TDs, with the caveat being the former is only a junior.

"He can put up some huge numbers the next two years," Arredondo said.

Pulling away from people is nothing new for Germinaro.

"I guess I realized when I was little that I had a little extra burst compared to everyone else," Germinaro said. "It's something I've always been able to do."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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