Gila Ridge looking to avoid first 0-3 start
It’s been quite the dry spell for the offense of the Gila Ridge football team.
In eight quarters this season, the Hawks have scored three points.
No touchdowns – just a field goal by Robby Mecham in the first game of the season.
When the Hawks finally get a home game at 7 p.m. tonight against Gilbert-Perry, they’re looking to finally fix that.
“It’s depressing,” Gila Ridge coach Tom Hurt said of the drought. “The kids haven’t scored (a touchdown), and it bothers them. They want to score.”
But just because the Hawks only have three points to their name, it doesn’t necessarily mean the breaks aren’t going their way.
“Any time you don’t score a touchdown in eight quarters, it’s not a victim of circumstance,” said Hurt, who is taking over interim coaching duties after former Hawks coach Jay Denton resigned in early August due to health reasons. “Something’s not happening right. We need to make it happen right.”
One positive for the Gila Ridge offense is that junior quarterback Brandon Kehl has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion in the first quarter of the Hawks’ 33-0 loss to El Centro-Central in Week 2. However, Hurt didn’t say Wednesday whether Kehl or senior Easton Benedict will get the start against Perry.
“He’s ready to go,” Hurt said of Kehl. “He got released to play anything we want him to play.”
Regardless of the good news, Gila Ridge is possibly on the verge of making some ominous history, because no Hawks team has gone 0-3 to start the year. In 2012, the Hawks started the season 3-0.
While they haven’t lost to a weak team – a 20-3 defeat in a rainstorm to 2-1 Poston Butte and 33-0 to an undefeated El Centro-Central – Hawks’ senior linebacker Kainoa Renaud said the Hawks haven’t done themselves any favors.
“We can get plays right every once and a while, but consistency is something we’re struggling with,” he said. “There’s no question we’ve played good teams, but it’s been execution on our part. Week 1, you don’t get circumstances like that every day, but Week 2, it was just fundamentals.”
With the home game against Perry, the Hawks are also able to make some positive history – becoming the first Gila Ridge team to beat the Pumas. The Hawks have lost all four meetings against Perry – including a 48-21 defeat last year at Gila Ridge.
“I don’t think it’s a difference whether home or away but at home we feel we have more support behind our backs,” Renaud said.
Hurt said the Hawks aren’t executing well and the quarterbacks haven’t had time to throw because of poor blocking. The season opener against Poston Butte – which was delayed two hours because of stormy weather – didn’t help matters, but the Hawks simply didn’t play well in dry weather against Central in El Centro.
“We’ve played tough people, for one. Number two, we didn’t play very well both weeks,” Hurt said. “We got a bunch of guys that are getting better every week. This week I think we’ll show some improvement. There’s going to be a time during the season that we’re going to be pretty good.”
But three weeks into the season, Hurt isn’t making a knee-jerk reaction to a couple of tough games to start the year.
“I’m not going to panic,” he said. “We’re just going to keep working.