Five weeks and five wins later, Higley senior Alex Jentzen can look back at his team’s ugly season-opening loss and chalk it up as a lesson learned.
In the opener, the Knights dropped a sloppy one-point decision to Cave Creek Cactus Shadows — the team that defeated them in the state championship game last winter.
But it’s been all smiles since for second-ranked Higley, which stretched its winning streak to five games Friday night with a 42-14 pounding of host Tempe in a 4A-II East Sky Region contest.
“We got back to practice and we just turned it up,” Jentzen said of the team’s reaction to the disappointing opener. “That first game we really learned a lesson and we never want to experience it again.
“It’s our intention to go to state.”
There’ll be no stopping them if they continue to run over all comers.
Higley entered this weekend averaging 260 rushing yards per game, and no one player has shouldered the burden alone. Four backs each accumulated between 200 and 300 yards in the Knights’ first five games.
It was more of the same Friday night as Higley punished Tempe to the tune of 352 yards on 46 carries. The Knights amassed a whopping 247 rushing yards on 23 carries in the first half alone.
Jentzen broke off the game’s biggest run when he raced 74 yards up the middle for a second-quarter score that put Higley up 28-0. He finished with 118 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries.
Taylor McArthur rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, and Tito Gonzalez had 71 yards on 11 carries.
In all, five different players scored for Higley.
“Other teams have one star running back with 2,000 yards in a season,” senior offensive lineman Jon Black said. “We’ve got three and they all know what to do.”
Vitals: Higley (5-1, 1-0) def. Tempe (1-5, 0-2), 45-14, in a 4A-II East Sky Region contest Friday night at Tempe High.
Highlight: Senior defensive back Lamar Taylor returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown to end a Tempe scoring threat and put the Knights up 21-0.
Player of the game: Senior running back Alex Jentzen led a punishing running attack with 118 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries.
Key stat: The Knights rushed the ball 23 times for a whopping 247 yards in the first half alone.