When the clock struck zero on the Mesa High School scoreboard Friday night, one team excitedly ran to the sideline, while the other retreated to its end zone for a stern talking to by their coach.
But it wasn’t who you’d think.
The Desert Ridge Jaguars came away with a 69-42 win over the Mesa Jackrabbits, but looking at the scene afterward, you’d think they were on the other side of the scoreline.
Jaguar head coach Jeremy Hathcock chided his team following the game for letting up in the second half after dominating the first 24 minutes.
“Twos, if you expect to play again,” Hathcock urged. “You have to be prepared next time.”
Desert Ridge came out of the gates strong, scoring early and often against an overmatched Mesa defense, going up two possessions in the first quarter.
The Jaguars weren’t done yet, scoring 28-unanswered points in the final five and a half minutes of the half, including an interception return for a touchdown by freshman Jason Harris.
From there, Hathcock began lifting his starters from the game in order to get his reserves some in-game experience.
Not all fared as well as Hathcock would have hoped, though.
Once the starting lineup had been fully lifted from the game, the Jackrabbits outscored Desert Ridge 22-7.
“I can’t blame them for wanting to fight,” Hathcock said. “We just turned it into a 30-minute longer game than it should have been.”
Sophomore running back Lucas Wright, who scored twice in the win, agreed with his coach.
“He wasn’t very happy with us,” Wright said. “The ones went in and got their job done, we tried to get our twos in and they did a good job, but could have put in more effort.”
Hathcock said the message after the game consisted of a lot of praise for the starters.
“We’re not trying to divide the team, we’re trying to be honest,” said. “And that’s what you have to do after a win like this, be honest.”
* Tonis is journalism student at ASU and intern at the Tribune
Desert Ridge 69, Mesa 42
DR 21 34 7 7 – 69
Mesa 7 7 12 16 – 42
DR – Logan 58-yard run (Decozio kick), 10:05
DR – Wright 2-yard run (Decozio kick), 7:32
Mesa – Morgan kickoff return (kick good), 7:15
DR – Allen 7-yard run (Decozio kick), 3:50
DR – Allen 50-yard pass from Fowler (Decozio kick), 10:33
Mesa – McClendon 56-yard pass from Baeza (kick good), 8:00
DR – Allen 1-yard run (Decozio kick), 5:38
DR – Harris 1-yard pass from Fowler (Decozio kick), 4:45
DR – Harris interception return (kick failed), 3:40
DR – Wright 1-yard run (Decozio kick), 0:46
Mesa – Jackson 70-yard run (two-point failed),
DR – Fowler 1-yard run (Decozio kick),
Mesa – Ray 43-yard pass from Baeza (two-point failed),
DR – Manca 1-yard run (Decozio kick), 4:56
Mesa – Tuitu’u interception return (Jackson two-point conversion good), 2:22
Mesa – Morgan 18-yard pass from Baeza (Baeza two-point conversion good), ):18
Rush-yards 42-330 24-140
Att-comp-int 7-16-0 9-17-2
Pass yards 153 195
Total yards 483 330
First downs 12 8
Fumbles/lost 0/0 0/0
Penalties 3-25 2-20
DR – Allen 15-131, Wright 8-78, Judd 8-27, Logan 2-63, Fowler 3-14, Brown 2-9, Meyer 1-8, Manca 1-1, Tufts 1-1, Purnell 1-(-2). Mesa – Jackson 16-118, Baeza 3-18, Morgan 5-4
DR – Harris 6-14-1-133, Purnell 1-1-0-20, Canfield, 0-1-1-0. Baeza 11-15-1-162. CdS- Helt 35-19-1-135
DR – Simonis 2-52, Allen 1-50, Mendoza 1-20, Brown 1-17, Winner 1-13, Harris 1-4. Mesa – Morgan 4-45, McClendon 3-89, Ray 2-26.