San Diego – All of the preparation and pregame talk heading into the first game of the season can be a bit of an illusion.
Everything leading up to Week 1 generally goes smooth and there is complete faith because of the hard work completed.
Desert Vista had a great camp and performed well in its scrimmage last week. The Thunder entered Saturday’s early game in the Brothers in Arms showcase against Mission Hills (Calif.) feeling good and ready to keep it rolling.
Turns out about the only thing truly rolling was the ball on the ground.
The Thunder played uncharacteristically – seven fumbles and an interception led to four turnovers – as Mission Hills took advantage for a 13-0 win over the Thunder.
“What could have gone wrong went wrong,” coach Dan Hinds said. “We turned it over it over, made mental mistakes and didn’t play like we can.
“I think maybe we were a bit disillusioned coming into this game because of the way things went in practice and our scrimmage. We have some things with our timing (on offense) that we have to figure out.”
The inability to hang on the ball, bad timing on an offense that is predicated on precision and the lack of big plays thwarted any chance of the Thunder offense, making a change from a power game to a speed and elusive premise, from pulling off some big plays.
Junior quarterback Cade van Raaphorst will have better days after he coughed up the ball six times (lost two) and threw an interception, while completing 14 passes of 27 for 113 yards with an interception. The offensive line didn’t consistently open running lanes and when they did the ball carriers either missed it or the athletic Mission Hills defense closed the gap quickly.
The special teams missed a field goal, had a punt blocked and a bad snap led to the punter, sophomore Payton Theisler, downing the ball at their own 14.
The one time Desert Vista, which was last shutout on Oct. 9, 2009 by Mesa, spanning 43 games, got in the red zone a delay of game and sack led to a field goal attempt that never had a chance.
“This was not what Desert Vista football is about,” lineman and kicker Garrison Schwartz said. “We have to flush this one down the toilet.”
The defense, despite being put in bad positions all game long, has pretty impressive as it held Mission Hills to about 120 total yards.
The unit, led by Matt Trujillo, Jalen Jelks, Tyrone Arviett, Johnnie Johnson and Will Barfield, forced two turnovers and showed a backbone when put in a difficult situation.
“We showed up today,” Arviett said. “We had some tough situations but came through. The offense didn’t have it today but we had their back.”
The only touchdown came after a turnover when Mission Hills took over on the Thunder 6-yard line but if the defense didn’t play well Desert Vista wouldn’t have been in it in the fourth quarter.
Twice the Thunder didn’t allow points on possessions starting within the red zone after the two punt miscues.
The interception led to Mission Hills starting on the Thunder 24 and led to a field goal and 10-0 deficit and then after a fresh start to open the second half running back TJ Roberts fumbled. It led to another field goal and the 13-0 margin of victory.
“The defense did a great job,” Hinds said. “If they play like that all year we are going to be fine because we are going to fix the offense. I was surprised we didn’t play better than that. There was never a sign of something like that would happen so now we have to do a better job with the scout team when it comes to pressuring the offense.
“What we did today was not acceptable and we will get it corrected.”
Mission Hills 13, Desert Vista 0
DV 0 0 0 0 – 0
MH 7 3 3 0 - 13
MH – Bautista 2 run (Senteno kick), 3:14
MH – Senteno 27 FG, 8:20
MH –Senteno 37 FG, 6:56
First downs: DV 13, MH 9
Rushing: DV 34-30, MH 25-45
Passing (Comp.-Att-Yds-TD-INT): DV 14-27-113-0-1, MH 7-22-73-1-0
Penalties: DV 6-45, MH 6-50
Fumbles-lost: DV 7-3, MH 2-2
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.