Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds had few goals heading into their game against North.
One of them was to not give up any turnovers.
Coming off a loss to Mission Hills in San Diego, Calif., where the Thunder had seven fumbles (lost three) and an interception which led to four turnovers, it is understandable why Hinds wanted to take care of the football Friday.
Except for a fumble late in the game the Thunder achieved their goal and routed North 60-6 to light up their new scoreboard that was installed earlier in the day.
“We wanted to make sure we cut down on our turnovers, obviously, and we did,” Hinds said. “Overall we did a great job on that. We protected the football tonight which was big because last week we put the ball down a lot. So that’s behind us now.”
One player in particular, senior quarterback Cade Van Raaphorst held onto the ball tightly Friday night. He was looking to bounce back after losing the ball six times and throwing an interception against Mission Hills.
“When you lose a game because of turnovers that hurts,” Van Raaphorst said. “That’s one thing that we had to focus on this week. All of our coaches were just saying, ‘High and tight keep the ball there and lock it in.’ I think it helps a lot and gives our team momentum because you don’t lose it when you have a turnover.”
Van Raaphorst’s ball security was tested early. The Desert Vista offensive coaches called a lot of read option plays to start the game and Van Raaphorst had to tuck it and run.
Not only did he keep the ball off the ground but he also got the Desert Vista offense rolling to start the game. The Thunder’s first touchdown was a 30-yard option keeper by Van Raaphorst and the Thunder did not look back. Desert Vista went on to put up 60 unanswered points to seal the deal.
“That’s Cade deal,” Hinds said. “He can really run the football so once you get the ball going on the ground it kind of helps everything else out.
Van Raaphorst finished the night with six completions for 143 yards, three passing touchdowns and 75 rushing yards with two rushing touchdowns.
He said it felt good to have a better performance against North.
“It’s a big relief off my shoulders,” Van Raaphorst said. “I’m proud of our team today. They all played well.”
The starting offense responded and controlled the ball when it was on the field. To make matters worse for North the starting defense also took the ball away when it was on the field.
Senior linebacker Garrison Schwartz took an interception 31 yards for a touchdown and senior defensive end Jalen Jelks recovered a fumble to get the ball back to the offense.
Jelks was disruptive all night, stopping running backs at the line of scrimmage and recorded a sack.
“I thought I did okay,” Jelks said. “Obviously they checked us out and they obviously schemed against us and tried to run the ball the opposite way. I just tried to make plays and help my team out and free up some room for the backers.”
The Thunder have a quick turnaround and play at Boulder Creek next Thursday Sept. 12.
Hubbard is a Tempe-based freelance writer.
Desert Vista 60 North 6
DV 21 32 7 0 – 60
N 0 0 0 6 – 6
DV - Van Raaphorst 30 run (Culp kick), 8:21
DV - King 54 punt return (Culp kick), 7:16
DV - Kilby 10 run (Culp Kick), 0:57
DV - Reaves 26 pass (kick failed)
DV - Haywood 71 pass from Van Raaphorst (2-point conversion failed), 8:06
DV - Van Raaphorst 10 run (Culp kick), 4:31
DV - Schwartz 31 interception return (kick failed), 4:08
DV - Barfield 18 pass from Van Raaphorst (Culp kick), 1:02
DV - Roberts 31 run (Culp kick), 10:30
N - Guiterrez 59 run (kick failed), 10:12
First downs: 8 8
Rushing: 26-233 24-6
Passing: 6-11-0-143 10-23-2-111
Penalties: 8-80 2-10
Fumbles-lost: 1-1 4-1