Desert Ridge new No. 1 in power rankings
Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock wasn’t happy with how his team played against Basha last week. While the Jaguars never trailed and won by 20 points, they didn’t play with a lot of emotion following a big win over Red Mountain the week before.
With Mesa, North Canyon and Boulder Creek left on the schedule, similar questions about motivation could have surfaced. But Desert Ridge got a jolt on Tuesday when it was listed No. 1 in the most recent power rankings. While there could still be some shuffling remaining, the Jaguars have a shot at finishing with the top seed if they take care of business these final three weeks.
“This team needed a little spark,” Hathcock said. “They need to be told how good they are to motivate them. Our kids have to understand that if they start refocusing their goals this year, the sky is the limit.”
Desert Ridge lost to Hamilton on Sept. 14, but has rebounded with the impressive wins over Red Mountain and Basha. The Jaguars aren’t fooling anybody, lining up in double tight end sets and pounding the ball. Desert Ridge only threw the ball once against Red Mountain. The play-action passes against Basha were wide open because the secondary crashed down expecting runs.
Hathcock said the new No. 1 ranking is validation for his players.
“If they believe in themselves, we can be a really good team,” he said. “It gives us something to protect, and it gives us something to say, ‘Hey, we’ve earned that.'”
The news wasn’t all good for the Jaguars. X-rays showed running back Taren Morrison broke his hand on Friday when he hit it against a Basha player’s facemask.
He’s going to be fitted for a soft cast, though, and shouldn’t miss a significant amount of time.
“He should be able to play Friday (against Mesa),” Hathcock said. “If not, next week.”
Morrison has 21 carries for 123 yards in three games this year. He gives the team a third rushing weapon beside twin brother Tarek and J.J. Husar.