Behind a bevy of backs, Desert Ridge wore down the already emotionally spent Tigers and amassed 429 yards on the ground in a 45-14 victory at Gilbert.
Six of the Jaguars’ seven touchdowns were on plays of 30 yards or more; three covered at least 50 yards.
“We finally wore them down. That was the thing,” Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock said. “Eventually we started seeing holes as they were shifting and we just took what they gave us.”
Sophomore Steven Gomez led the way with 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Alec Hathcock ran for 84 yards and a touchdown and Jathan Tenorio had 80 yards and a score.
“Last year it was a one-man show; everyone knew it,” Jeremy Hathcock said. “But this we have versatility and tonight we showed it.”
That one man a year ago was Taren Morrison, who accounted for 53 percent of the Jaguars’ offense last season. He made his season debut Friday after he served a one-game suspension last week and rushed for 70 yards on eight carries and had a pair of receptions for 34 yards. Morrison ran for a touchdown and caught a touchdown, both in the second quarter.
“He wasn’t as fast as Taren normally is, obviously, but I saw some good things and he opened things up for everyone else,” Hathcock said.
Gilbert coach Tim Rutt also made his season debut. Rutt on Wednesday was reinstated as a teacher and coach after he was placed on paid administrative leave three weeks ago while the school conducted an internal investigation.
The Tigers (1-1), however, were without offensive coordinator Max Hall, the former Arizona Cardinals and BYU quarterback who last weekend was arrested for shoplifting and cocaine possession. The Gilbert Public Schools district on Friday afternoon said Hall won’t return to Gilbert High School.
“We just had a lot going on this week and you could see that drained emotion when a play didn’t go out way here or there,” Rutt, in his second season at Gilbert, said.
“Max was loved, so to not have him here this week and then me coming back, it was a lot. … I would never think that would happen (to Hall).
“We’ll move forward from here. We have to.”
Gilbert was held to just 53 rushing yards on 30 attempts and committed 15 penalties for 130 yards.
“Coming into an emotional situation like Gilbert was in, that’s such a dangerous place to be,” Desert Ridge’s Jeremy Hathcock said. “But the kids did well and put it away in the second half.”
The Tigers’ two scores were on a 19-yard pass from Dane Stankiewicz to Rico Yanez in the second quarter and a 71-yard pass from Nick Nezami to Adam Kochheiser late in the fourth.
DESERT RIDGE 45, GILBERT 14
Desert Ridge 7 17 7 14 — 45
Gilbert 0 7 0 7 — 14
DR — Irby 62 punt return (Whitlow kick), 5:21
DR — Withlow 46 FG, 11:55
G — Yanez 19 pass from Stankiewicz (Krell kick), 6:18
DR — Morrison 11 run (Whitlow kick), 2:20
DR — Morrison 30 pass from Shumway (Whitlow kick), 1:19
DR — Gomez 79 run (Whitlow kick), 4:16
DR — Hathcock 54 run (Whitlow kick), 10:32
DR — Gomez 40 run (Whitlow kick), 8:40
G — Kochheiser 71 pass from Nezami (Krell kick), 7:42
DR — Tenorio 33 run (Whitlow kick), 3:54
First downs 20, 13
Rushing 40-429, 3-53
Passing 3-10-75-0, 15-28-202-1
Fumbles-Lost 1-0, 0-0
Penalties-Yards 12-120, 15-130
RUSHING — Desert Ridge: Gomez 5-159, Hathcock 7-84, Tenorio 9-80, Morrison 8-70, Irby 7-31, Shumway 1-4, D’Agostino 1-3, Heslop 2-(-2). Gilbert: Minetta 16-37, Nezami 3-10, Meza 3-9, Stankiewicz 7-(-1), Moore 1-(-2).
PASSING — Desert Ridge: Shumway 3-10-75-0. Gilbert: Nezami 8-18-128-0, Stankiewicz 7-10-74-1.
RECEIVING — Desert Ridge: Miller 1-41, Morrison 2-34. Gilbert: Kochheiser 3-86, Yanez 4-39, Colbert 3-23, #88 1-18, Lovejoy 2-14, Maes 1-13, Stankiewicz 1-9.