Though he normally favors a balanced offensive attack, Desert Pines football coach Tico Rodriguez knew he needed to make some changes Friday night against Cheyenne.
The Jaguars were missing several starters for various reasons, so Rodriguez went with the ground-and-pound approach.
After a slow first half, Desert Pines got things in motion in the final two periods, and the Jaguars cruised to a 29-0 road win.
In the first half, Desert Pines managed no rushing touchdowns and just 117 total yards. Quarterback Devin McGee, making his first start, threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Bravin, and Victor Palafox added a 43-yard field goal for the game’s only scoring.
“It was an ugly first half,” Rodriguez said. “It looked like we were going to break it open but we would get a holding call here, a holding call there.”
But after halftime, the ground game came to life behind sophomore Jyden King. King, limited to just 47 yards in the first half, would take center stage in the final two periods.
Desert Pines (4-2, 3-0 Class 3A Sunset League) took the second-half kickoff and marched 57 yards in 10 plays using over four minutes off the clock. McGee finished the drive with a one-yard run, and the Jaguars pushed the lead to 17-0.
On the team’s next possession, King scored on a 36-yard run to put the Jaguars in control. In that third period, King had 88 of his game-high 160 yards.
“We have some talented sophomores on this squad,” Rodriguez said. “Once we were able to run the football, we controlled the football game. “
Some of those sophomores are on the Jaguars’ defense, which recorded its third shutout of the season. The Jaguars held the Desert Shields to 154 total yards, including 67 rushing.
“Our defense has been just tremendous,” Rodriguez said. “They continue to smother opponents for 48 minutes. They continue to get better and better.”
Anthony Allen scored the final Desert Pines touchdown with a four-yard run with five minutes remaining.
The Jaguars rushed for 206 yards, and McGee finished 7-for-10 passing for 99 yards.
Clarence Rose led the Desert Shields (2-4, 1-2) with 50 yards on 15 carries. Cheyenne’s longest play from scrimmage was 20 yards.