Desert Edge may not be able to look itself in the mirror and see perfection, but instead it’ll see a beam of rejuvenation. The 5-2 Scorpions are riding high after a big 33-20 victory against Ironwood two weeks ago, and now turn their eyes to the 4-3 Sunrise Mountain Mustangs.
Both of these teams are 2-0 in region play, and are looking to take their records to 3-0.
The previous game for Desert Edge against Ironwood (2-5) truly tested its ability to face adversity. The Scorpions were down at halftime 20-14, and then proceeded to shut out the Mustangs in the second half, outscoring them 19-0.
The Scorpions are led by senior quarterback and Washington State commit Adryan Lara, who is coming off of a terrific performance where he threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns. In addition to Lara's passing game, the Scorpions rushing attack of Christopher Cordero and Fabian Lopez combined for 222 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite putting up terrific stats, everyone in the stadium could feel how crucial this win was for the morale of the Scorpions. Instead of heading into the bye week barely above .500 with their heads hanging low, they carried some serious momentum into the final stretch of the season.
The importance of a bye week is often overlooked, especially after seven straight weeks of players going head on head, twisting ankles, and getting massive bruises. Being a top-tier team like the Scorpions does come with major disadvantages such as playing a brutal schedule, especially at the beginning of the season.
While most fans don’t pay attention to a team during bye week, it’s actually one of the most crucial points in a team's season.
“I feel like we’ve played about 12 games but it’s only been seven. When two out of your first 4 games are against top-ranked opponents, it’ll take a lot out of you emotionally and physically. It’ll be nice to get a little break before we hit the next part of our schedule,” co-head coach Marcus Carter said.
The 4-3 Sunrise Mountain Mustangs are 2-0 in region play with wins over Millenium and Ironwood. Sunrise Mountain’s senior quarterback Hunter Kronengold is coming off a dominant performance where he completed 23 of his 33 passes for 449 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions.
While the Mustangs’ passing attack is a huge weapon, they also deploy an extremely balanced offense, averaging 28 rushing attempts to 29 passing attempts per game.
Despite having three losses on their record, co-head coach of Desert Edge, Mark Carter, isn’t one to underestimate his opponent. This is especially true after Sunrise Mountain dominated the same Ironwood team that gave Desert Edge a scare 2 weeks ago.
“Everybody has an opportunity to go out and win on Friday’s. It doesn’t matter whether they’re ranked or not, because we know they aren’t going to just roll over,” Mark said.
The Desert Edge defense has been ferocious all season long, but senior cornerback Breshaun Brown knows as well as anyone, that they can’t afford a sluggish start to a game for the rest of the season.
“We took our last opponent lightly and we saw how that first half played out, but we didn’t give up. We’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said team captain Brown.
The Desert Edge Scorpions have heard the hype since the beginning of the season after being a top ranked team, but it’s all about one game at a time. As can be seen on the Desert Edge Football’s Twitter account, each week is a chance to be 1-0 or 0-1.
Mark’s consistent message about his team playing with an edge to their game rings true ahead of this regional showdown.
“We’re going to do the same thing we do every week, play with that edge, because we are Desert Edge,” Mark said.
The regional matchup for the two teams will be played on Friday, Oct. 29 at Desert Edge High School in Goodyear at 7 p.m.