The Thursday night football games have given me some free time on a Friday morning.
I’ve let the four area games marinate a little bit so here are four takeaways from the night.
1. A big hand clap for Skyline. I knew it was going to be a good game, but I honestly decided to go to Mesa-Westwood game to see Kris Jackson live, but also because I figured Mountain View would win and set up a big game next week against Red Mountain.
The Coyotes had a different idea. Should have known not to count out the defending East Valley Region champions, especially since I haven’t even seen them play yet.
Sounded like Aaron Wood, Darius Glover and few others just wouldn’t let the Coyotes lose. They’ve grown up.
2. Kris Jackson is a different runner than I expected. So patient. For a guy who doesn’t have a college home yet, you’d think he’d be anxious and raring to go.
Instead he let everything develop in front of him. Waited, and waited and then burst through. At first, I kept thinking he was slower than I expected but then he’d get in the open and no one would catch No. 5.
I had him at 324. Someone on the team had him at 280. Either way, not a bad follow up to 341.
The other thing Jackson does – he makes this reporter do math and I don’t like math.
Before every play on their side of the 50, I’d work it out in my head – ok, they are on the 27 so if he goes the distance it is 73 yards. Not sure I’ve ever done that before watching any other running back.
It still wasn’t the best performance I have ever seen by a high school running back. That’s reserved for Maurice Clarett, who had 411 yards and five touchdowns in a state semifinal in Ohio as Warren Harding knocked off an undefeated Lakewood St. Edward.
3. Apparently, the Red Mountain defensive backs wanted to be called out/challenged. Through four games the Red Mountain defense had one interception.
Defensive back coach Kyle Enders challenged them to get them ball.
In the last two games since, the Mountain Lions have eight interceptions including four pick 6s.
Defensive back coach Kyle Enders challenged.
Against Dobson this week, they didn’t even let a completion – as two quarterbacks went 0 for 11 with four picks, including three taken back for TDs.
Not sure I have ever heard of a team not completing a pass with more than 10 attempts or one team having three pick 6s in one game.
Goes to show you when your senior quarterback – Mike Valdez in Dobson’s case – is lost for the season in the early going it can really destroy things for an offense.
4. The Jaguars just keep rolling after an “off” year saw Desert Ridge go 8-4, a season most teams would consider a success.
Jeremy Hathcock won his 100th game at Desert Ridge on Sept. 15 against Mesa and has the team looking just as good as the one of the teams that won at least 10 games for six straight seasons – 2010 to 2016.
The running game behind another physical offensive line is shortening games and mentally breaking down defenses.
Desert Ridge should move to 6-1 next week against Corona del Sol, and then Mountain Pointe on a Thursday night with Desert Vista and Highland to close it out.
Don’t be surprised if another semifinal appearance is in the offing for the Jaguars.
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.