Based on the theory that lessons are best learned in a loss, Chandler was chock-full of proverbial “classroom” time this week.
The good vibes about the Wolves’ 3-0 start to the season (all shutouts) faded a bit last week in a 58-41 shootout loss to Basha, and while the Wolves knew playing their intra-city neighbors would be a world of difference than the first three games, some past problems re-emerged.
Basha’s 58 points came behind 640 yards of total offense, and a couple 15-yard penalties by Chandler in the second half only weakened its cause.
“It’s the mentality of the kids, so we put a huge emphasis on not worrying about schemes and taking care of Chandler,” Wolves coach Shaun Aguano said. “If we do that we’re going to be hard to beat.”
At least Aguano reported his team is a fairly healthy bunch heading into another TV game on Thursday night, this time against Mountain Pointe.
“Only the heart was hurt,” Aguano said.
Otherwise, the Wolves remain upbeat about their disposition. It was the first game in which Wolves’ regulars played four quarters, the offense put up 41 points with a balanced attack against a good Basha defense and through all the mistakes and missed assignments, the Wolves were within 10 points with three minutes left.
So even though Chandler is trying to worry about itself since the schedule has turned significantly more difficult from here on out, Mountain Pointe’s offense now provides another series of variations.
Without returning starter Kyle Faunce at quarterback (his family moved back to Indiana), the Pride began the season with Dillan Johnson operating a run-heavy scheme.
But last week Johnson went back to his natural tailback position and Caleb Buck (the team’s intended starting quarterback in August) operated a more traditional offense. Mountain Pointe put up 69 points on Sierra Vista Buena last week, the third-most in school history.
But the Pride also have to deal with a Chandler offense led by Paul Perkins (359 yards rushing), Darell Garretson (871 yards passing, 9 TD, 2 INT) and a couple dynamic wideouts in Lloyd Mills and Javon Williams.
The Pride, too, are in the midst of a difficult stretch with Chandler, Brophy and Corona del Sol.
“We have to play well and get through this stretch,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “We will know more about ourselves after this stretch. We got a short week and a really great Chandler team. I don’t know if anybody can slow them down.”
Basha did briefly, if only by scoring on nearly every possession. Basha lost two fumbles but didn’t punt last week against Chandler, and the Wolves punted once.
That didn’t make Mountain Pointe sleep well this week, but, for reasons having to do with the opposite side of the ball, neither did Chandler.
“We’ll be right back and I think we’ll do a heck of a job,” Aguano said. “We’re experienced enough, especially our seniors who’ve been around when not-so-good things have happened before. We’ll see, though.”