In the words of Indio High School football head coach George Thomas, the Rajahs couldn’t get out of their own way Tuesday night in Blythe, falling to Palo Verde Valley 42-7, a team that lost to Shadow Hills last month.
Palo Verde Valley won the coin toss Tuesday and elected to receive, which turned out to be a good decision as Yellow Jacket wide receiver Damian Ramirez returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. He caught two more touchdowns for Palo Verde Valley and had 155 receiving yards on the night.
The game was held on Tuesday as a makeup for a scheduled matchup between these two teams last month that was postponed due to lightning.
Interview with Indio’s Ryan Reyes)
Indio managed to hold Palo Verde Valley to that lone score for the rest of the first quarter, but the Yellow Jackets responded with a vengeance in the second quarter, racking up 28 points to go up 35-0 at the half.
“We can’t get out of our way defensively, offensively,” Thomas said, “you can’t beat people when you’re turning the ball over and you’re not tackling, and that’s where we’re at right now.”
The Rajahs turned the ball over three times, all in the second quarter. A pick-six thrown by starting quarterback Isaiah Luna and a fumble on the very next Indio possession led to 14 quick Palo Verde Valley points.
“To be successful for us, we have to limit our mistakes and eliminate our turnovers, and move the ball because we just don’t have all the playmakers that most teams have,” Thomas said.
Luna tossed three interceptions on the night and that was enough for Thomas, who replaced him with junior Chris Melendrez in the third quarter. Neither quarterback was able to complete a forward pass, although Luna came close on a lateral to Ryan Reyes that went for nine yards.
“We needed a spark and we needed something to change us and it looked like my quarterback was struggling a little bit,” Thomas said about the change under center. “We also try to get our younger guys some reps since the score was already pretty lopsided.”
Reyes was the only Rajah to score in the game. The touchdown came on a 26-yard run early in the fourth quarter after the game was well out of reach.
“It was a trap play and my lead blocker blocked for me and I found the hole and I ran it up field,” Reyes, a junior running back, said. “It was a rough night, I don’t know if we weren’t thinking about the game or there was something else on our mind, or the scheduling of the game — I don’t know.
“The season’s not going too good, but I think if we keep pushing it and giving it all we’ve got, I think we can go to the playoffs,” Reyes added.
The Rajahs are 0-5 to start the season and will take on La Quinta on the road on Oct. 11.