Youth, inexperience and a low number of bodies showed in Sedona Red Rock High School football’s season opening 46-0 loss at St. Johns High School.
The Scorpions were outnumbered against a Redskins team that first-year head coach Tom Miller believes will be in the state playoffs come November.
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“We played a really good team. You’ve got to give them lots of credit,” Miller said. “They were very good and we helped them along .... We can’t give gifts to a good team.”
Miller was referring to the seven turnovers his team committed. At the tail end of a nice punt or kick return, the ball would get turned over. Making tackles in the open field was lacking at times, too.
Senior quarterback Javi Pacheco was a bright spot, who had good kick returns and effectively ran a read option under center. Moving forward, the good plays must come more often and consistently to get a solid drive going.
“Our quarterback had a couple of big plays,” Miller said. “He had some good plays but we’ve got to give him more opportunities.”
The battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball was a crucial part of that. With a short roster, the majority of the Scorpions played almost every down on offense and defense. Miller expects to get a couple more players once they become eligible.
Many of Red Rock’s lineman are inexperienced as well, consisting of freshmen or first-year players.
At the same time, St. Johns was able to deploy multiple bodies, wearing down the Red Rock players while at the same time establishing strong run play.
“Both offensively and defensively with line play we had a difficult time holding up with their physical advantage, and numbers kept coming at us,” Miller said. “Their running game was definitely a power running game.”
It was not all bad for the Scorpions, though.
The defense had a couple of interceptions and tackles for a loss while on offense there were some long runs.
What Miller was most happy with, though, was that the effort was there from start to finish.
“I think the most encouraging thing was that the guys kept fighting on, they kept lining up and competing,” Miller said. “I didn’t see anything resembling backing off, and that’s very critical.”
The Scorpions did not play a scrimmage before their first game either. As the season progresses Miller expects to see improvement.
“Guys get worn out, and with inexperience,” Miller said. “It really was the first time we lined up. I’m looking for us to get better this week and more competitive.
“I’m not discouraged, we’re going to keep chopping wood and get better.”
This week Red Rock hits the road again for a matchup with 3A Chino Valley High School, with kickoff set for
7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1.