Blogs / Features
Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Desert Ridge not pretty, but tops Westview in D-I quartersNov 9, 2012
Desert Ridge lost one 1,000-yard rusher a couple weeks ago when running back J.J. Husar went down. They lost another 10 minutes into Friday's Division I quarterfinal matchup with No. 10 Westview when quarterback Tarek Morrison exited and did not return.
It took a bit of time for the second-seeded Jaguars to collect themselves after Morrison left, but their prowess at the line of scrimmage allowed them to overcome and ride out a hard-earned 14-7 victory over Westview at Desert Ridge High.
"It was ugly, but we'll take it," Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock said. "We kind of lost ourselves when Tarek went out. But our offensive line and defense took control. That's what won it for us."
Desert Ridge ended up rushing for 283 yards despite not having Tarek Morrison for the bulk of the night. Taren Morrison picked up the slack for his brother with 104 yards on 11 carries and Danny Siaumau added 103 yards on 12 totes. Offensive lineman Nick Allen, Mike Munsch, Austin King, Cody King and Justin Leeper are the mainstays paving the way for quality rushing nights for Jaguars' backs.
Desert Ridge (11-1) moves on to next Friday's semifinals against the only team that's beaten them this season, No. 3 Hamilton. Hamilton dethroned Desert Vista as state champs with a 28-14 win at Hamilton. The Desert Ridge-Hamilton game will be played at Highland High. Westview, which gave a good account despite being a heavy underdog, wrapped up the year 9-3. Its' only losses were to Red Mountain, Brophy and Desert Ridge -- all quarterfinalists or better.
Desert Ridge struggled in the first half with a turnover and rash of penalties -- an item that haunted it last weekl in its win over Valley Vista. Its opening drive fizzled due to a lost fumble by running back Taren Morrison at the Westview 17. Westview, which only ran five plays from scrimmage in the first period, made one count. It was a 69-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kordell Provchy to wide out Roderic Mitchell. Provchy, as he did much of the night rolled out and had to elude a steady pass rush. This time he found Mitchell racing down the sideline and hit him in stride for the shocking 7-0 lead with 4:29 left in the quarter.
Tarek Mitchell, who rushed for 58 yards in the first quarter, left at the 2:25 mark of the quarter when he was hit high and low. He sustained what Hathcock believes is a bruised right knee. Hathcock said further evaluation could take place over the weekend to make sure the injury is not more than a bruise.
Westview held the lead even after Desert Ridge managed to put together a scoring drive on its third possession. Nathanial Rodriguez's 1-yard TD run made it 7-6 with 2:30 left in the first half. The extra point sailed wide left, keeping the Knights on top.
Westview gave Desert Ridge a great chance to take the lead a minute later. Forced to punt from its 30, a high snap from center sailed over punter Rene Corral's head. Corral recovered it in the end zone and ran it out to the 11 where Desert Ridge took over with 1:14 left. Desert Ridge failed to move the ball, and actually lost 10 yards thanks to a sack on first down that forced them to settle for a 37-yard field goal attempt. That attempt failed and Westview jogged to intermission with the lead.
Despite the poor results from the kicking game, Desert Ridge had managed to reach an even keel emotionally and played that way in the second half. They took a page from Westview's book in the first period, by running just five plays in the third period. One, however, a fourth-and-2 run off tackle by Danny Siaumau netted more than the desired first down. Siaumau broke a tackle yard or two after first-down yardage and completed a 53-yard TD run midway through the quarter. Taren Morrison ran for the two-point conversion and a 14-7 lead.
Westview punted on its first four possessions of the second half and didn't threaten Desert Ridge territory until its last possession. That ended at the Desert Ridge 36 as standout running back Seivion Morris was stopped a yard short of a first down on a fourth-down run. Morris, who rushed for 301 yards last week in first-round rout of Pinnacle, finished with 100 yards on 13 carries. He had a couple of medium-sized runs, but none he took to the house. Westview finished with 217 yards of offense -- 131 rushing, which was a season-low.
"I don't think anyone has held them to seven points this season," Hathcock said. "Our defense played well. I think its the most under-rated defense in the state. Just a lot of no names that play hard."