The postgame huddle after an emotional football game is sacred place.
I never take for granted being around them, and appreciate getting a glimpse what it is liked to be coached by the leaders of programs.
Their words can be harsh after a loss or a win. It can be lighthearted after a win. Some teams event family, friends and student body to join in while others make it clear only the team are privileged to be there.
Whatever the vibe is I tend to focus on the players rather than the words, which aren’t meant for me and I consider unusable for print. It’s like a hearing a private family conversation. It’s truly not my business.
So, I check out the players to see who is locking eyes with the coach out front talking and who is whispering to a teammate or starting off to the abyss. It doesn’t tell me everything about that individual by any means but it certainly gives some insight.
Then every occasionally, like this past week, a player stands up and addresses the team. Desert Ridge defensive linemen Chris Medeiros felt the need to talk to the team after a 52-28 loss to Hamilton.
It’s a bold move, and can fall flat, if the words seem hollow or don’t hit home. Or it can be exactly what a team needs to hear because it comes from a peer,
“As a senior leader, I felt like it was something I needed to do,” Medeiros said. “It was our first loss, and I wanted to make sure we learned from it and didn’t take a step back.”
Mountain Pointe (2-1) at Mountain View (2-1)
Mountain View’s lost 26-9 to Pinnacle last week, but for some reason my takeaway from it was the Toros have closed the gap on the 6A’s best.
Mountain View beat Pinnacle last year 34-24.
It makes little sense rationally. I’ll put on the growth of Pinnacle quarterback Spencer Rattler. He has taken the program to a new level. The Toros defense played them well, picking him off the twice and holding the Pioneers to their lowest scoring outage of the season.
Next up is No. 1 Mountain Pointe, which just knocked off Chandler. Last season the Pride absolutely hammered and humbled the Toros, who came into the game undefeated and lost 56-0 to begin a three-game slide.
I can’t see it happening again. A loss very well may happen, but the Toros will respond and they won’t let it carry over to the following weeks.
The Toros are still on the chase but they’ll so how much they closed the gap.
Mountain Pointe 28, Mountain View 10
Mesa (1-3) at Desert Ridge (2-1)
The one thing to keep an eye on this week for me is the quarterback rotation with Desert Ridge.
Through three weeks, junior Cooper Schmidt has started and sophomore Matt Purnell played the second series and they continued alternate throughout the game with a few change ups here and there.
There is old saying if you have two QBs you actually have none. That’s not the case here, but the point is Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock eventually settles on a full-time guy behind center.
Will this be the week?
Whatever the rotation is this week, it comes against a defense that has given up an average of 40.0 points in its three defeats.
The defense needs to start making stops long before its own end zone to give a pretty good offense a chance to win a game.
Everyone knows Kris Jackson (675 yards rushing) has been a beast so far this season. Some would argue the top running backs in the state so far have been Jackson and Hamilton’s Jawhar Jordan, who just ripped the Jaguars for 245 yards and three touchdowns.
He’ll need to duplicate that performance to give the Jackrabbits a chance.
Desert Ridge 34, Mesa 21
Here is the 6A Conference schedule (predicted winners in bold):
La Joya at Dobson
Boulder Creek at Red Mountain
Skyline at Millennium
Gilbert at Westwood
Pinnacle at Centennial
Desert Vista at Brophy
Alhambra at Camelback
North at Carl Hayden
South Mountain at Central
Brawley (Calif) at Cibola
Basha at Desert Mountain
Cesar Chavez at Hamilton
Westview at Highland
Gila Ridge at Kofa
Fairfax at Maryvale
Tolleson at Mountain Ridge
Tucson at Mar. Mountain View
Corona de Sol at Perry
Rio Rico at Rincon
Sunnyside at Salpointe
Chandler at Sandra Day O’Connor
Copper Canyon at Valley Vista
Last week: 20-6. Season’s record: 58-32 (.644)
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to email@example.com.