Highland was one of our preseason dark-horse picks to make the Elite 8, and the Hawks defense certainly looked the part in Week 1 by shutting out a good Desert Ridge team, 21-0.
“Desert Ridge is always a physical team that plays with a little bit of nasty to them,” Highland coach Brock Farrel said. “But everybody on the defense came out from the get-go and set the tone. They flew to the ball with reckless abandon. It was great.”
The Hawks scored on their first two possessions, including a 71-yard hookup from Gage Dayley to Ethan Whitmore to put them up 14-0 late in the first quarter. They scored again just before halftime, and with senior Max Davis running for a career-high 170 yards and a touchdown, they could put things into cruise control in the second half.
“Our defense was playing so well, we stopped being cute on offense and just got that game over with,” Farrel said. “Max did a good job even with everyone hunting him, knowing we were getting the ball to him every time.”
The Hawks play their home opener this week against Desert Vista, which lost 28-0 at Corona del Sol. Highland will look to avenge a wild 42-41 loss to the Thunder last season in which the Hawks failed on a two-point conversion try in the final minute.
“Every game they play against us always seems to go down to the wire,” Farrel said. “We’ll see if we come out fired up for that one.”
— René Ferrán; Kam Cullimore photo by Donna Mundy Photography