Expectations were about as high as they’ve ever been this year at Xavier Prep. Not the outside expectations, but the ones that came from inside the locker room at the Palm Desert Jesuit school.
It was the school’s second season in the Desert Valley League, and after narrowly missing the playoffs by the slimmest of margins a year ago, this was supposed to be a year the Saints built on that and entrenched themselves among the top tier football programs in the Coachella Valley.
But a 1-3 start, with as many as nine injuries a week ago, derailed what some might have considered a slow start to 2015. So head coach Bob Molyet told his team to scrap the first four games and look at the next six in the league as a brand new season. The Saints took that message to heart Friday night in their 31-13 win over Indio.
“We told them after last week, ‘It’s the start of anew season,’ ” said Molyet, now in his third season at the school. “Right now, we’re 1-0. That’s all we care about. We’re 1-0.”
Molyet said his team has steadily gotten a little better since the first game of the season, a 42-7 home loss. Younger players have settled into their roles with some varsity experience and the team is finding an identity that had previously been missing.
The improved health of the team has helped (just two players missed Friday’s game), and Darrell Lewis has found his comfort zone under center after switching from tailback to quarterback with an injury to Michael Johnson.
Defensively, the Saints forced five turnovers, forced a safety and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown on special teams.
Still, Indio looked sharp on a number of possessions and 10 Xavier Prep penalties kept the Rajahs in the game when it could have been over early. If the Saints can clean that up, perhaps building on last year’s success in not out of the question.
“The thing we’re not doing is we’re still turning the football over and we’re still making the little stupid penalties,” Molyet said. “If we can ever get rid of that. …we’ll be pretty darn good.”
Xavier Prep will face Cathedral City (0-5) on the road for a chance to remain unbeaten in the DVL.
“My goal is to start out with a victory and we’ve taken care of that,” Molyet said. “Now we’ll move on to the next game, and that’s kind of how we’re going to go about it now.
Indio will have a tough game at home against La Quinta (0-5), the defending DVL champs.
Xavier Prep 31, Indio 13
Xavier Prep (2-3)
(XP): Cameron Dosnoes 24-yard field goal
(XP): Samuel Gaete 22-yard blocked punt return (Dosnoes kick)
(XP): Dosnoes 34-yard field goal
(XP): Dosnoes 45-yard field goal
(XP): Darrell Lewis 4-yard run (Dosnoes kick)
(IN): Miguel Fabian 12-yard pass from Fernando Meza (run failed)
(XP): Chris McElrath 1-yard pass from Lewis (kick failed)
(IN): Fabian 18-yard run (Aaron Ortiz kick)
RUSHING (Carries-Yards-TDs) XP: Nick Mezacapa 10-55, Darrell Lewis 16-96-1, Isaac Ortega 5-30, Adam Gil 6-9, Braxton Wehrli 1-2, Fisayo Omilana 1-0. INDIO: Miguel Fabian 11-55-1, Sean Cunningham 8-35, Fernando Meza 9-18, Joseph Gonzalez 5-0, Pelayo Moises 1-3, Franklin Serrato 1-0. PASSING (Comp-Att-TDs-INTs-Yards) XP: Darrell Lewis 15-24-1-1-141. INDIO: Fernando Meza 6-16-1-1-118. RECEIVING (Rec-Yards-TDs) XP: Fabrice Voyne 8-81, Adam Gil 1-9, Samuel Gaete 2-18, Chris McElrath 2-10-1, Fisayo Omilana 1-17, Braxton Wehrli 1-6. INDIO: Brian Cervantes 4-85, Francisco Bojorquez 1-18, Miguel Fabian 1-12-1.