With a slew of injuries to several starters including three of their top four receivers, the No. 10-ranked Desert Vista Thunder fell to No. 2-ranked Desert Ridge Friday night at Desert Ridge High School, 35-7.
Even with, what he said is the hardest he’s been hit with injuries in his 16 years of coach, Desert Vista Head Coach Daniel Hinds was still making no excuses for his team’s third straight loss of the season.
“We’re going with a bunch of young guys, but that’s no excuse there are a bunch of teams in the state that are going with young kids,” Hinds said. “So, I thought in the beginning we did hang in there with them but unfortunately because of our injuries we have a bunch of guys going both ways. But there are no excuses, all teams have this.”
The No. 2-ranked Desert Ridge Jaguars who are coming off an upset victory over now No. 3-ranked Mountain Pointe, is one of those teams that are rolling with a bunch of young kids. With 12 sophomores, Head Coach Jeremey Hathcock has led the Jaguars to a record of 8-1. Junior Cooper Schmidt and sophomore Matthew Purnell have been splitting duties under center, and were two major keys to the Desert Ridge offense Friday.
On the second play from the line of scrimmage Schmidt took an option run, something that fooled even the strong Mountain Pointe defense, 72-yards for the first touchdown of the game. Although they allowed a quick touchdown, the Desert Vista defense responded in the first quarter, and battled for field position with the Jaguars. Punter Kyle Ostendorp pinned the Jaguars inside their own five-yard line twice in the first half.
The defense responded by forcing the Jaguars to punt on two straight drives, and the third ended in a forced fumble and a scoop and score touchdown from five-yards out for Tyler Roberts. The only touchdown the Thunder could muster all night.
“The defense held them for the long time, but when the offense isn’t that productive, the defense can only hold them for so long,” Hinds said.
After the Desert Vista defensive touchdown, the flood gates opened for Desert ridge offensively. First, Matthew Purnell found junior running back Lucas Wright for a nifty 25-yard screen pass at the 6-minute mark of the second.
Then, after Cooper Schmidt broke off three straight runs of 15-plus yards out of that nifty option run, he acted as a decoy, handing the ball off to Lucas Wright for a 19-yard touchdown run to make it 21-7 heading into the half.
The Desert ridge offense stepped up the pressure even more in the second half. A 26-yard touchdown run by Lucas Wright made it 28-7, and another Purnell touchdown pass extended the lead to a final score of 35-7.
With one week left in the season, a matchup with Corona del Sol, who haven’t won a game since August 25th, the Thunder are looking to bounce back to end the season on the right foot.
“We’re going to need a couple of these other guys to step up a little bit more and were gonna need to finish out the regular season strong against corona and then see how things unfold after,” Hinds said.
With the return of leading receiver Jake Smith, Navy commit and starting tight end James Stagg, and starting running back Keishaud White, anything could happen for the Desert Vista Thunder as the state tournament approaches.
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