Sometimes the best thing to do in the midst of doubt is to get right back to work.
The day after Desert Vista lost to Boulder Creek last week the Thunder got after it again with intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday.
“We got after it a little bit and had fun with it,” Thunder coach Dan Hinds said. “The players wanted it and we needed it. Now it is time to get back to work.”
Desert Vista (1-2) played possibly its worst game since the 2-8 2009 season and could very well define the season, which continues at home against Division II Marana Mountain View (2-1) on Friday.
“We are going to come out stronger than ever,” senior two-way linemen Jalen Jelks said. “We have two loses already and there is a mind set right now we can’t lose anymore games this season. It was a breaker and losing changed the mind set.
“From here on out we are going to be different.”
Hinds began the week still processing the 17-3 loss. He and the coaching staff have just as much work to do as the players. It’s not always as simple as replacing one player with another.
“This one is not out of my system yet,” he said. “There are a lot of things we need to get better at and as a head coach I have to do all I can to make sure that happens for these kids.
“I have to evaluate the entire situation. It’s not just how someone is performing, it is the ramifications of that decision and who is next and how is that going to turn out. We’ve made great evaluations of kids so right now we are not going to make any whole sale changes at this point.”
The offense is taking the brunt of the blame after scoring just three points in the two defeats. Starting quarterback Cade van Raaphorst, who has six turnovers in the losses, and the rest of the offense, which demands precise timing offense, have been in sync once against an overmatched opponent.
Other than that 60-6 win over North, it hasn’t been pretty and the one second-half first down against Boulder Creek was the breaking point.
“My dad always talked being a machine-like clock and how it only ticks forward,” van Raaphorst said. “You can’t worry about anything that happened in the past. It definitely sits with you, but it’s all about how you respond.
“The most important thing for me is building confidence. A lot of it is on me and I need to step my game up and get the offense rolling. Once we start to click everything will start to come together.”
It is clear the Thunder is ready to put in the work, as they have all season long, but need to have it translate to success on the field.
A win over Mountain View, which lost 17-14 last week to Mesquite, would go a long way in the confidence department for a team that is made up of mostly first-year varsity contributors.
“We need to take that step forward and build off it,” senior Will Barfield said. “We didn’t expect this kind of start, but it is the reality. What we do from here is going to define what kind of season we have. I know this team is ready to take that step.”
The next step could very well be the one that defines the season.
“It’s been a frustrating start,” Barfield said. “We are going to overcome it. We are going to rise above and keep on fighting as a team.”
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