It’s no secret that a majority of the valley high school football teams rely heavily on their ground game. Heck, La Quinta head coach Dan Armstrong admitted before the season that a 75 percent-25 percent split of run plays to pass plays might even be a bit conservative.
But how often does a team not throw a single pass during a game and pull off a win? Unconventional, certainly, but for now it’s working for Desert Mirage head coach Jeff Tebelak and his Rams offense. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, and Desert Mirage’s offense is far from broken.
Friday, Tebelak didn’t call for a single pass play, while his quarterback handed the ball off to seven different players – one of which has become the best offensive threat in the valley over the first two weeks, all positions included. Melvin Harmon ran for 222 yards on just nine rushes – an astounding 24.67 yards per carry – against Calexico Thursday night and scored four touchdowns, only one better than his overall performance six days prior against Indio.
To complement him, Jesus Angel rushed for the team’s other two scores on 86 yards rushing from eight carries. That’s 17 plays that accounted for 308 yards.
Talk about efficiency.
“We have a passing attack, but we’re not going to show it if we don’t have to,” Tebelak said.
Who can blame him? Still, one can only hope that Tebelak gives his passing game a chance soon, so he can unleash his secret weapon of Froilan Rodriguez, a former tight end turned wide receiver that has 4.6 second speed in the 40 and is bigger than many linemen. Now that’s a one-two punch on offense.
Arabs’ troubles continue
Coachella Valley’s change of leagues from the DVL to the De Anza League starting in 2016 was supposed to help the school’s competitive changes in all sports – particularly football. But through two games against future league opponents, it doesn’t look like the Arabs will be competing for a league championship anywhere any time soon.
Senior quarterback Darius Hulsey threw for more than 250 yards for the second game in a row this week, but it wasn’t exactly pretty. The senior completed just 19 of 48 pass attempts, including two interceptions – his second and third of the season. Many expected Hulsey’s interception woes to be patched up after he threw 18 in his first season under center a year ago, but through two games, he’s already on pace for 15 with much more dangerous secondaries to come.
With coach Brett Davis’s up-tempo, run-and-shoot offense, it’s critical Hulsey can complete passes with high frequency, or the “up-tempo” part won’t matter much.
Watch out for Wallace
Cathedral City junior running back Jordan Wallace may not win many games this season with the Lions, but he certainly looks primed to continue the legacy his older brother Orlando left after graduating and heading to Dixie State to play running back for the Red Storm as a true freshman.
On the eve of the elder brother’s first college game, the younger brother ran for over 100 yards for the second-straight game, again accounting for the Lions’ only score. Cathedral City coach Richard Lee has admitted several times that his squad is young and will take several games to show improvement, but it appears Wallace needs no such time to get his feet wet.
As Cathedral City’s offensive line improves and Wallace learns more about the varsity game, look for more of these 100-yard performances as the Lions lean on him in search of their first win of the season.
Week two power rankings
1. Palm Springs
2. Palm Desert
3. Rancho Mirage
4. Desert Mirage
5. La Quinta
6. Desert Hot Springs
7. Shadow Hills
8. Desert Chapel
9. Desert Christian Academy
10. Cathedral City
11. Coachella Valley
12. Xavier Prep
Inactive: Palm Valley