Counts, D-Ridge shut out Boulder Creek; await Red Mountain next - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Counts, D-Ridge shut out Boulder Creek; await Red Mountain next

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Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011 10:05 pm

Beware Division I: Desert Ridge is rolling again.

The Jaguars played Anthem Boulder Creek (also nicknamed the Jaguars) for a second consecutive week, this time in the Division I playoff opener.

After its 49-0 blowout victory on Friday night to begin postseason play, this week's episode was deemed far more successful to Desert Ridge than last week, and that was a 38-14 win.

This night, however, was nearly flawless for No. 4 Desert Ridge, which has won six consecutive with a rematch against No. 5 Red Mountain next Thursday night.

The Lions were the last to beat Desert Ridge, a 20-13 Red Mountain victory on Sept. 30.

Since then, however, Desert Ridge has gradually healed itself physically, and a couple alterations to their blocking schemes up front.

It worked wonders again Friday, as Joey Counts ran for 243 yards and five touchdowns on 11 carries, including an 85-yard score on Desert Ridge's first (successful) snap from scrimmage.

"Our (offensive) line is clicking again and the wide receivers' downfield are blocking," Counts said. "We've improved tremendously up front. My night and the scoring is always a reflection of how our O-line does."

A return to health has helped, and the Jaguars quarterback/wide receiver Jordan Becerra is a week away from full health, according to coach Jeremy Hathcock.

This was said after Becerra blocked a field goal that was returned 65 yards for a touchdown by teammate Nathaniel Rodriguez. Becerra also hauled in a diving catch for 40 yards from Parker Rasmussen and had a 65-yard touchdown run negated by a penalty.

It was the sophomore Rodriguez's second defensive touchdown of the season, and Hathcock couldn't help but gush about his potential for the next couple years, while older brother Ruben is a captain and three-year starter at linebacker.

Desert Ridge racked up 327 yards rushing, and Counts scored five touchdowns to surpass 20 total scores for a second consecutive season.

"The roll is hopefully starting again," Hathcock said.

The running game, a return to health of Becerra and the offensive line, a score on special teams and a defense that shut out Boulder Creek despite forcing zero turnovers has the Jaguars poised to pick up where they left off in the 2010 playoffs, the state championship game.

"We have to stay the course and humble," Counts said. "Everyone wants a ring. That's what matters."

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]