La Quinta High School played in a single playoff game a year ago, one season after winning a California Interscholastic Federation championship. The Blackhawks were bounced from the postseason in a loss to Arlington High, and won one of their final five games to end what had been a disappointing end to an injury-plagued season.
But if there was any hangover from last season, it hasn’t showed itself in 2016-17.
The Blackhawks remained unbeaten Wednesday with a decisive 3-1 victory over Cathedral City High, a team that has already won 10 games this season.
Andrassy Teran scored a pair of goals and Jonathon Delgado added a third for La Quinta, which is 7-0-3 in 10 games and now 3-0 in what is shaping up to be a fairly competitive Desert Valley League.
“As long as we get the intensity, we’re playing well,” La Quinta head coach Gary Nadler said.
Teran scored the first goal early in Wednesday’s game, before Cathedral City’s Leyver Guzman drilled the ball into the back of the net on a free kick from about 15 yards out early in the second half. But the score didn’t remain even for long.
Six minutes after Guzman scored, La Quinta struck again. This time Teran netted his second goal on a header in front of the Cathedral City goal. For good measure, Delgado added another goal nine minutes later as the Blackhawks controlled the ball in the second half, showing flashes of the team the Blackhawks were when healthy a year ago.
“We’re always a work in progress but we’re two deep at almost every position, which gives us some flexibility,” Nadler said. “We’ve had some good moments early this season.”
Nadler pays little attention to the unbeaten record, but it’s worth noting. The Blackhawks were the second team to knock off a Desert Mirage team that went 26-0 a year ago – and they did it with a 6-1 score. It was as many goals as the Rams have allowed to anyone in almost three years.
La Quinta has also recorded four shutout victories this season, and they’ve done it with a number of moving parts.
Teran began the season on the back line of the defense, and has since moved to forward. The midfield has rotated throughout the early part of the year, and Nadler is still settling in on which players will play most moving forward.
With the exception of forward Lucas Rosales, who played on the wing the last two years, and one or two others, Nadler is playing with almost a completely different rotation than the one he won big with in 2015.
Nadler is also optimistic by the team health, which he says has been much better than a year ago, when a number of players, including all-CIF midfielder Daniel Alexander, were kept out of games for various ailments.
“These kids are good,” Nadler said. “They work hard, they like working with each other, so we’ll see how it goes the rest of the way.
“Hopefully we’ll keep progressing.”