People outside of the program had questions about Desert Vista heading into the football season. The loss of depth, talent and experience appeared to reboot the program.
After Thursday’s performance – a 17-3 loss at Boulder Creek – it is clear the Thunder are looking to answer a lot of their own questions.
The most important of which is what happens next.
“This is the real test now,” senior Jason King said. “How are we going to respond? Things can really go downhill or we can bounce back. I truly believe this is going to bring us closer as a team and we will bounce back.”
It was one thing to lose to a quality California team in the season opener but falling to previously winless Boulder Creek (1-2) is something different.
“Early in the game we didn’t execute on a few things,” Thunder coach Dan Hinds said. “One of the things we saw on film when (Boulder Creek) played Mountain View, (MV) let them stick around and they had a chance at the end. We let them hang around, and they started to execute and believing in themselves.”
The offense was contained other than a 69-yard run by Richard Haywood that led to a fourth-quarter field goal to close within 10-3 with 10 minutes left.
It was the lone first down – and sixth for the game – of the second half. The offense couldn’t do anything against a defense that allowed 83 points, including 59 to Avondale Westview, in the first two weeks.
“I don’t know what’s going on there,” senior wide receiver Jason King said. “Our timing is off and we aren’t executing. We have to the athletes to make plays, but we aren’t getting in a rhythm and our defense is on the field way too much.”
It didn’t help that Boulder Creek was embarrassed by its performance against Westview a week ago.
“We watched film and we felt like we weren’t hustling to the ball,” Jaguars coach Dan Friedman said. “We used a little bit of a four-man front this week and kept them off balance.”
The Thunder offense totaled just 197 yards as the Jaguars bottled up the running game and forced Cade van Raaphorst (6-for-16 for 65 yards and two interceptions) to throw and the short pass routes were well covered.
“One thing we are going need to do to win games this year, and I believe we will win games this year, we are going to have to do it as a team and we haven’t done that this year,” Hinds said.
Defensively, the Thunder came up with two turnovers but let the Jaguar offense march 80 yards on 10 plays to open the second half as Boulder Creek pushed its lead to 10-0 when Isaiah Birkel scored from a yard out.
Then when Desert Vista desperately needed a three-and-out, the Jaguars' dual quarterback system got the job done as Trevor Miller (17 of 27 for 189 yards) completed his last 10 passes and Gunther Johnson (9 carries, 41 yards) picked up first downs with his legs in absence of leading rusher Ryan Parenteau, who only played defense because of a undisclosed injury.
“It’s nice to have that change of pace and at the end Gunther was a lot more fresh and I thought (Desert Vista) was a little gassed,” Friedman said. “It’s a great win, especially with the way we started. We were embarrassed with the way we played last week and it wasn’t indicative of Boulder Creek football.”
The Thunder know a little bit about that feeling as they prepare for Marana Mountain View next week.
“It can go either way,” Hinds said. “We are going to take it as a slap in the face and get it going. I believe that is the type of players we have. They will get back to work and respond.”
Boulder Creek 17, Desert Vista 3
DV 0 0 0 3 -- 3
BC 0 3 7 3 – 17
BC – Perma 33 FG, 6:23
BC – Birkel 1 run (Perma kick), 6:42
DV – Culp 27 FG, 11:52
BC – Johnson 19 pass from Miller (Perma kick), 10:00.
First downs: DV 6, BC 20
Rushing: DV 18-132, BC 35-158
Passing (Comp.-Att.-Yards-TD-INT): DV 6-16-65-0-2, BC 20-27-206-1-0
Fumbles-lost: DV 0-0, BC 3-2
Penalties: DV 7-70, BC 6-30
DV – Haywood 3-77, Van Raaphorst 6-27, Roberts 6-10, Van Gosen 1-8, Kilby 1-5, Delgado 1-5. BC –G. Johnson 9-41, Essary 2-10, Kautzman 8-31, Dawson 11-36, Miller 5-40.
DV – van Raaphorst 6-16-2-65. BC – Miller 17-27-0-189, G. Johnson 3-3-0-17.
DV – Kilby 3-18, Van Gosen 1-29, Delgado 1-13, King 1-5. BC – D. Johnson 6-80, Dawson 5-25, Haney 4-22, Kautzman 1-7, Bedatsky 2-26, Birkel 2-46.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.