Being a gracious host is one thing, but the Indio football team went overboard on Friday night.
Seeking their first 2-0 start since the 2007 season, the Rajahs turned it over six times (three fumbles, three interceptions) in a humbling 41-0 non-league defeat to Twentynine Palms at Ed White Stadium.
“You’re not going to win any games against anybody doing that,” Indio coach Martin White said.
D’shaun Barrett took advantage of those takeaways. Making his first varsity start at quarterback for the Wildcats, the elusive 5-foot-11, 145-pound junior threw five touchdown passes and ran for another.
“Shout out to the offensive line,” Barrett said. “We worked all week trying to get better from Week 1 (a 19-0 victory over Granite Hills). We stepped it up.”
Indio forced a three-and-out on the game’s opening possession, but David Alvarado lost a fumble at his own 18-yard line on his team’s first offensive play.
Two plays after a false start penalty, Barrett rolled right and tossed a pass over the outstretched arms of defender Jose Cortina for a perfectly placed 23-yard score to Adam Bell.
On the ensuing kickoff, Damian Lopez lost a fumble and the Wildcats cashed in three plays later on a 6-yard pass from Barrett to Eneliko Tuli to make it 13-0 with 8:49 to play in the first quarter.
“We turned the ball over and spotted them (13) points,” White said. “Then it seemed like it was a downhill slide from there.”
The Rajahs marched into enemy territory only once in the first half and turned it over on downs with 8:11 left in the second quarter. The Wildcats responded with their longest drive of the game that was capped when Barrett lofted a jump pass over the line to tight end Gunnar Moss for a 7-yard TD.
Twentynine Palms, the reigning De Anza League champion, went into the locker room with a 27-0 lead thanks to a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown by Derek Sutherland with 37 seconds on the clock.
Barrett’s fifth and final TD pass of the night was his favorite – a 51-yard strike to Tuli on a seam route over the middle with 3:19 left in the third quarter.
“That got everyone hyped,” Barrett said.
Barrett’s 1-yard TD run with 10:19 left in the fourth quarter brought the running clock into effect.
Indio, coming off a 31-0 victory over Desert Mirage, finished with 66 yards of offense (all rushing). Quarterbacks Dimitri Long and Aubuchon Martinez combined to go 0-for-11 with three picks.
Twentynine Palms had a distinct size advantage with Michael Hendges (6-4, 295) and Adam Maputatuli (6-4, 260) manning the tackle spots on offense and Matthew Councell (6-0, 295) making plays on the other side of the ball at nose tackle.
“We’re not going to blame it on that,” White said. “They came out and played hard. We didn’t meet their intensity and we didn’t meet their effort.”
Joshua Hernandez and Steve Cruz had fumble recoveries for Indio, but the Rajahs could not capitalize.
La Quinta falls to Villa Park 38-23
Palm Springs rally falls just short against Scripps Ranch
DHS comeback comes up short
Rancho Mirage streaks past Knights to stay unbeaten
Arabs overcome 17 years of struggle against Aztecs
TWENTYNINE PALMS 41, INDIO 0
Twentynine Palms 13 14 7 7 — 41
Indio 0 0 0 0 — 0
(TP): Adam Bell 23 pass from D’shaun Barrett (kick failed), 10:04
(TP): Eneliko Tuli 6 pass from Barrett (Ryan Stowers kick), 8:49
(TP): Gunnar Moss 7 pass from Barrett (Stowers kick), 3:49
(TP): Derek Sutherland 70 punt return (Stowers kick), :37
(TP): Tuli 51 pass from Barrett (Stowers kick), 3:19
(TP): Barrett 1 run (Stowers kick), 10:19
RUSHING--Twentynine Palms, Hunter Tygart 12-88, KJ Magwood Morton 10-38, Derek Sutherland 1-19, Bryton Williams 2-7, D’shaun Barrett 9-(-2), Eneliko Tuli 2-(-7). Indio, Adam Ceja 10-43, Dimitri Long 6-29, Damian Lopez 3-4, David Alvarado 2-2, Aubuchon Martinez 1-2, Isaac Brown 5-(-1), Jose Perez 3-(-2), Andres Alvarez 2-(-11).
PASSING—Twentynine Palms, Barrett 10-17-0-169. Indio, Long 0-6-2-0, A.Martinez 0-5-1-0.
RECEIVING—Twentynine Palms, Tuli 4-68, Abraham Bell 2-52, Adam Bell 1-23, Derek Sutherland 1-14, Gunnar Moss 1-7, No. 14 1-5.