Desert Ridge’s offense caught fire in the second half, and Desert Vista could not keep up, as the Jaguars defeated the Thunder 41-24 Friday in 6A football.
Both teams started slowly. Each defense caused several early stops, forcing punts. The score was just 10-10 at the half. However, Desert Ridge quarterback Austin Kolb began hitting his targets downfield at a high rate and evading the Thunder defensive line that wreaked havoc in the first few series. The Jaguars scored 31 points in the second half, behind three total touchdowns – two passing and one on the ground – from Kolb.
Jaguar coach Jeremy Hathcock said the offensive coaches were disappointed in junior’s early play. They even benched him for a series.
“We told him we needed more, and it lit a fire under him, and he was great from then,” Hathcock said.
Meanwhile Desert Vista’s offense remained pedestrian. Senior running back Tyson Grubbs injured his right ankle on a run in the second quarter. The workhorse back in a run-heavy offense sat the entire second half with an ice pack on his foot. His status for next week’s game is unclear.
His absence, along with a couple key linemen sitting out the entire game, made it difficult for the Thunder to move the ball at the same rate Desert Ridge did.
“It’s always hard to lose someone like Tyson,” Thunder coach Dan Hinds said. “We had a few injuries throughout the week, and never really got in rhythm offensively.”
Senior quarterback Parker Navarro made a few plays with his feet, though, tucking the ball on a fourth down run for a 34-yard score, and hitting a 47-yard pass for a touchdown to take a lead early in the fourth quarter.
Each Desert Vista score, though, was met with a Jaguar response. Less than two minutes after the Thunder scored on a long pass, Kolb connected with senior Andrew Chino on a 50-yard touchdown. The Jaguars made a defensive stop, scored again, recovered a fumble in Thunder territory, and hit a 19-yard pass for a touchdown and a 17-point lead that all but put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Kolb said the execution was some of the best Desert Ridge has had this season.
“Ever since summer and all our first practices, we knew we were a team that could compete with anybody. The way we played there is how we know we can,” Kolb said.
The Thunder will need to shake off the loss quickly, as they host Ahwatukee-rival Mountain Pointe next Friday in the vaunted “Tukee Bowl.”
Desert Vista (4-2) seemingly has edge over Mountain Pointe (1-5) as the Pride are in the midst of a five-game losing skid. However, as area rivals with plenty of familiarity and a history of tremendous battles in the series, Hinds said his team will be ready.
“I’ve been a part of a lot of these games. When our two teams meet, you throw the records and everything out the window, and it’s always a competitive game. And, I think the guys learned a lesson today that they can’t take anybody lightly,” Hinds said.
Desert Ridge (3-4) will take next Friday off, and travel to Queen Creek (6-1) on Oct. 18.
DR – Edwards 46 field goal, 6:56
DR – Kidd 7 run (Edwards kick), 2:09
DV – Grubbs 24 run (Hauck kick), 11:00
DV – Hauck 23 field goal, 1:16
DR – Edwards 24 field goal, 4:24
DV – Navarro 34 run (Hauck kick), 1:18
DR – Kidd 18 run (kick missed), 0:36
DV – Ervin 47 pass from Navarro (Hauck kick), 11:52
DR – Chino 50 pass from Kolb (Forbes 3 pass from Kolb successful), 10:17
DR – Kolb 5 run, (Edwards kick), 8:11
DR – Turner 19 pass from Kolb (Edwards kick), 4:11