Cohesiveness along the offensive line is a must.
Repetition. Trust. Brotherhood.
All of it, plus so much more, goes into building a solid unit to move the big bodies in front of them in unison.
And then there is the case of the Desert Ridge unit before last week’s win over Brophy.
There was a death in the family and one player – Zach Landa, a freshman B team player last year, took about two snaps against the scout team prior to being named a starter.
The reps amongst the unit weren’t exactly plentiful.
“We were searching for bodies,” Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock said.
It wasn’t the best-case scenario heading into the game against the Broncos, but the Jaguars still rushed for 308 yards and on 51 attempts, including several scrambles by the quarterback duo.
Tackles Cooper Stauss and Apollo Ta’ase, guards Bailey Young and Landa and center Ian Derherder pulled it together.
“They did a great job playing together and working things out,” Hathcock added after the win. “They’ll grow from it.”
The unit will be challenged again this week as Young will be out with an ankle injury and be replaced with sophomore Anthony “Biggie” Miller.
Desert Ridge (1-0)
Be on the lookout for sophomore Deonce Elliott, who reminds some of Tavian Patrick from a few years ago, as his speed an elusiveness will lead to big plays on the fly sweep. … The Jaguars combined record in the three seasons (2004-2006) before Jeremy Hathcock took over was 4-27 as the school grew and transitioned from 4A to 5A. Then head coach Vince Smith left for this week’s opponent Tucson, where he went 11-40 in five seasons. Since then the Jaguars have gone 98-41.
Last week: W, 30-21 at Brophy. This week: Tucson. History (since 2004): 1-0. Last five: 3-2, dating to 2016.
The Mustangs showed some toughness winning in the fourth quarter in Tucson. The game was tied at 16 in the before going ahead. Rincon had the ball deep in Mustang territory, but the final pass play was batted down in the end zone. … Five-foot-7, 230-pound running back Drew Meneses score the first touchdown of the game and the 2-point conversion with a couple of power runs.
Last week: W, 22-16 at Rincon. This week: at Central. History: 1-0. Last five: 2-3.
Senior Darius Hatch has two sacks and an interception in the first two games. … The Mesa passing game has been spread around as Nate Hanna connected with nine different receivers including three with at least six catches in Boyd Mox, Edward McClendon, who have seven each, and Marcus Taylor, who is averaging 25.5 yards per catch on six receptions.
Last week: L, 51-26 at Desert Mountain. This week: Copper Canyon. History: 1-0. Last five: 2-3.
Mountain View (1-0)
Despite the Valley Vista defense rolling coverage to Jacobby Dinwiddie’s side all game long, the senior still finished with six catches for 54 yards. While he didn’t break loose for a big the one, it opened the door for others as Tate Allen had five catches. … Quarterback Brandon Nunez showed off the dual-QB threats coach Mike Fell expected as he ran for two scores on nine rushes for 38 yards while completing 16 of 29 passes for 133 yards.
Last week: W, 31-7 at Valley Vista. This week: Corona del Sol. History: 4-0. Last five: 4-1.
Red Mountain (0-1)
Four-year starting linebacker Delton Jackson led the team in tackles in the season opener with nine. … The defense had 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks against Chandler. … Senior Lance Lawson (ankle) is expected to play this week after missing the opener. … The running game averaged only 2.5 yards per carry in the first game. … Coach Mike Peterson said practice has been at a good tempo and polished.
Last week: Bye. This week: Hamilton. History: 0-9. Last five: 3-2.
Skyline (1-0, 1-1)
This is the first season the Coyotes did not start 2-0 under coach Angelo Paffumi. … Unofficially, the offense only produced three first downs in the loss to Highland last week. … It was the first time the team was shutout since Sept. 28, 2012. … Hamilton transfer Marcus Brown has become an offensive threat as a sophomore, scoring twice in the first game of the year. He is listed as a quarterback/wide receiver, but has been doing his damage in a wildcat type package.
Last week: L, 21-0 Highland. This week: Valley Vista. History: 3-0. Last five: 3-2.
Westwood (1-1, 0-1)
The defense came on strong last week against Copper Canyon as it came up with eight sacks, including three by Tyler Ayre while Josh Meacham and Rayvon Williamson had two each. … Junior outside linebacker Carlos Jaime had a 45-yard interception return for a 21-3 lead. … Junior wide receiver Manny Collier had two TD catches in the win.
Last week: W, 30-26 at Copper Canyon. This week: Perry. History: 1-2. Last five: 1-4.
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to email@example.com.