Desert Ridge spreads attack to beat Sandra Day O'Connor

Desert Ridge spreads attack to beat Sandra Day O'Connor

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Desert Ridge spreads attack to beat Sandra Day O'Connor

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azcentral sports high school football coverage

azcentral sports high school football coverage

In order to win at the Division I level, you need to diversify your attack. At the same time, there’s an obligation to possess the ability to interchange players with precision and production.

That’s the approach Mesa Desert Ridge (2-0) coach Jeremy Hathcock takes, and that method seems to pay large dividends.

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In defeating Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 42-14 at Jack Dillard Stadium on Friday, Hathcock managed to put together an offensive line which gave quarterback C.J. Fowler ample protection. At the same time, holes were created for the 10 running backs Hathcock utilized.

The result was firm execution, and an offense geared as much to throw as run. The first five possessions, Desert Ridge ended in the O’Connor (1-2) end zone. That included a seven-play, 68-yard drive on its initial possession with Fowler connecting with 6-foot-5 senior tight end Dylan Wright on a 14-yard scoring strike.

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From that point, Desert Ridge seemed to reel off big play after big play and put O’Connor in a desperate hole from the very start.

“To be competitive in our division, you need to diversify,” Hathcock said. “You can’t go with one horse. It’s nice to have several players step up and contribute. We need that diversity to be successful.”

If Desert Ridge was able to utilize different personnel at important times, a key injury might have challenged the O’Connor attack. Center Tanner Doyle was out and coach John Rodriguez was forced to go with Nick Pestrivas. That caused a change in rhythm and a difficult exchange with Bailin Markridge, the O’Connor quarterback.

“We battled back, but we also missed Doyle,” said Markridge, who finished with a 13-for-26 and 210-yard night. “We didn’t have the execution we needed. That’s a pretty good team over there and probably the best one we’ll face all season.”

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The touchdown from Wright on the opening drive was followed by a 27-yard TD run from Tyrese Allen and another Fowler-to-Wright scoring strike for 26 yards gave Desert Ridge a 21-0 advantage after the opening period.

Second-quarter scores by Jathan Tenorio on a 4-yard touchdown run, Tenorio again on a 90-yard touchdown run and Fowler’s strike to Tavian Patrick with 7 seconds before halftime put Desert Ridge out to a 42-7 lead at intermission.

If the offense was clicking on all cylinders, the Desert Ridge defense came to play. For the game, seven O’Connor ball carriers were held to a net of 105 yards on 33 carries. So dominating was the defense that after Markridge picked up 62 yards on 10 carries, the remaining six were held to 40 yards on 23 carries.

Fowler finished six for 14, 119 yards and two touchdowns. Tenorio carried 16 times for 206 yards and two scorers.

For O’Connor, Markridge was essentially the offense. His 62 net yards led all O’Connor ball carriers and chipped by passing for more than 200 yards.

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