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As the saying goes, Jimmies and Joes trump X’s and O’s.
Lots of teams — especially in Divisions III through V — are going to run the ball no matter what, and the other team knows. Not so many do it in Div. I, and nobody did it better than Morrison and the Jaguars. Without brother and QB Tarek Morrison able to provide a passing game, and then losing top wideout E.J. McClanahan for the season, it was Morrison motoring. It was at least nine defenders within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage on every play, and it couldn’t be stopped. His 2,587 yards rushing and 38 touchdowns led all Arizona running backs, and his 12.38 yards per carry was far and away the best in Div. I.
It happens all time; just not after the eligibility clock has already started running.
Desert Ridge quarterback Tarek Morrison underwent another successful surgery for a torn ACL but will miss the rest of the playoffs.
As much as No. 4-seeded Desert Ridge is trying the “lie in the weeds” approach during these football playoffs – after all, everyone’s talking about No. 1 Mountain Pointe, No. 2 Chandler and No. 3 Hamilton – it might not last.
These matchups are inevitable. Whether sooner or later, a second helping is almost always required for a football team to play on.
If you didn't know better, you’d think Taren Morrison was trying to run up the score by himself.
While Tarek Morrison burst onto the high school football scene as Desert Ridge's star quarterback in 2012, twin brother Taren spent the season in the background.
Desert Ridge tailback Taren Morrison stole the show once again for the second ranked Jaguars.
What started out as a close defensive battle turned into a one-sided affair as host Desert Ridge beat Brophy 38-14 on Friday. The Jaguars (4-1) outscored the Broncos (1-4), 31-7 in the second half en route to their fourth straight win after losing their season opener.
Desert Ridge's Tarek Morrison carries the ball during the first half while taking on Brophy, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 in Mesa. [Tim Hacker / Tribune]
Given what happened with Hamilton and Chandler, the latest wonderment is whether Desert Ridge is the best team not named Mountain Pointe. The Jaguars have made a pretty good case for themselves, and with Taren Morrison running rampant and brother, Tarek, slowly evolving as he gains more confidence in his knee from last year’s severe injury. The Jaguars will (and can) run the ball with anyone, though a closing stretch of Red Mountain, Desert Mountain and Mountain View will be a bit more telling. Speaking of telling, Skyline had its excellent start to 2013 punctured a bit last by Mountain View, and the rest of the slate is brutal (Desert Ridge, Desert Mountain, Mesa, Red Mountain). Skyline has clearly made strides in what’s a long journey for Angelo Paffumi’s program, but Desert Ridge is a whole other level offensively and defensively. Someday, perhaps, they’ll be mirror images of one another, but the Coyotes aren’t there yet, and that’s actually nothing to be negative about...
Prediction: Desert Ridge 37, Skyline 17
-- Mark Heller
Desert Ridge's Tarek Morrison is shown in the end zone after scoreing against Brophy, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 in Mesa. [Tim Hacker / Tribune]
Football is often a game of attrition, and everyone has walking wounded (some worse than walking), and to several coaches' credit, there's little whining and bemoaning.
This Hamilton-Mountain Pointe thingy next Friday night is a big game.
Desert Ridge was already one of the elite teams in the state.
Desert Ridge QB Tarek Morrison returned to action for the first time in approximately nine months after tearing knee ligaments. He was back on the field on Sept. 20, 2013.
The Jaguars had an easy time in a 55-0 win over Sandra Day O'Connor. Running back Taren Morrison compiled 135 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Desert Ridge is still without star quarterback Tarek Morrison but the running game is so dominant it doesn't matter. The Jaguars remain at No. 3 in the rankings heading into next week's matchup with Goodyear Millennium.
The Jaguars easily rolled Millennium, 56-0, but the biggest news on Friday was the return of quarterback Tarek Morrison from an ACL injury suffered in last year's playoffs. It was a good test run for him as Desert Ridge faces Brophy next week. The Jaguars remain at No. 3 in the rankings and should reveal more about themselves against the Broncos.
The Jaguars get their toughest in-state test against Brophy. Desert Ridge welcomed back quarterback Tarek Morrison last week, and though he may not be running on all cylinders quite yet, his return makes the team’s offense even more dangerous. Brophy’s defense has done a good job limiting all of its opponents this season, but a tough schedule and a floundering offense has contributed to a 1-3 start. This is a good test for the Jaguars’ rushing game as it tries to move the ball on a very disciplined front seven. All the hype this week is centered around Mountain Pointe-Hamilton, but a good showing would keep Desert Ridge on the short list of state title contenders...
Prediction: Desert Ridge 28, Brophy 13
-- Kyle Odegard
There couldn’t be a more perfect game for a sophomore to get his first varsity start at quarterback.
Carmel Valley, Calif. - At halftime, things looked bleak for Desert Ridge.
Sure, 16 of 29 Division I football teams are going to make the playoffs, but you can argue that could be as much a curse for several schools as it might be a blessing to have a playoff game experience.
In 2006, the Hamilton football program began a trend of venturing out from Arizona to play some of the nation’s premier teams. The Huskies have acquitted themselves well in these high-profile matchups, winning several and staying competitive in the losses, proving they deserve mention among the country’s top programs.
The Jaguars made the state semifinals for a third straight time a season ago and were tied with Hamilton in the second half before succumbing. Quarterback Tarek Morrison (1,404 yards rushing, 861 yards passing, 27 TD) is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered against Avondale Westview in the quarterfinals, and it may take him some time to get up to speed. Running backs Taren Morrison and Danny Siamau should carry the load offensively, and Desert Ridge may be leaning on its defense early.
The Jaguars return leading tackler Amoni Itaaehau, defensive back Nathaniel Rodriguez and defensive lineman Vita Taifu to a unit which has the potential to be one of the state’s best. Desert Ridge is looking well-rounded and ready to contend once again.