Prep football: Ganado's rushing game delivers big win
By Quentin Jodie
GANADO, Ariz. , October 11, 2012
(Special to the Times – Donovan Quintero)
T he rushing stats pretty much explains the make-up of the Ganado football team.
With five capable rushers the Hornets have been averaging 254.6 yards per game on the ground this season according to Maxpreps.
Last Thursday, they hit a new benchmark with 367 yards against the Rough Rock Sun Devils with their double-wing offense.
"We run a team-oriented offense," Ganado coach Brandon Newcomb said. "You are either expected to block, carry out a fake or carry out the ball."
In their game against Rough Rock, the Hornets went to the pay dirt eight times. Six of those touchdowns were as result of their rushing attack as they went on to beat the Sun Devils 54-0.
Micheas Pineda, a junior transfer student, scored three touchdowns, two on rushes to go with his 94 yards on ten carries.
"We do a lot of running," said Pineda, who played wide receiver for the junior varsity squad last season at Centennial High School in Peoria, Ariz.
"I like to run the ball, it's a lot of fun," Pineda said when asked if he likes his new position.
In last Thursday's game, Pineda recorded three rushes that were over 10 yards with his longest being at 27 yards, but in this game it was senior Cecil Hubbard who shouldered most of the weight with 120 yards on 14 carries.
Both players racked up these numbers despite playing only one series in the second half after Ganado took a 46-0 lead on Hubbard's two-yard TD run, his only score of the game.
"We've made some big improvement since the beginning of the season," Hubbard said.
Back then "we were making a lot of mental mistakes," he said. "We were hurting ourselves with penalties, but we fixed most of the problems we had."
The Hornets also got big contributions from Rashaun Curley and Taylor Benally. Benally racked up 66 yards on seven carries with a touchdown while Curley finished with 41 yards on four carries with two TD scores.
"He's going to be a big-time stud for us," Newcomb said of Curley.
The Rough Rock bunch came into the game as the heavy underdogs and it didn't help that they were missing a dozen players. Most of those players were the team's backbone on the offensive line.
"We didn't have the line tonight," Rough Rock coach James Phillips said. "We were shorthanded, but we gave it a go."
"We were up against giants, but I am amazed that the kids still wanted to play," he added. "I have never seen anything like that."
Besides looking out for his players, Phillips said it was hard to contain Ganado's running game.
Because of their personnel, Newcomb said he went with the double-wing offense, which essentially relies on the running game.
"We have the capabilities of throwing the ball, but we're a running team," Newcomb said. "Our passing game is predicated by our play action stuff so we run the ball to set up the pass."
Newcomb said he's been using this offensive scheme for eight years now even though he's been told they should have more balance with a passing game.
"In high school everybody says you have to be 50/50," he said. "But I've been doing this long enough and with the time constraints and kids having to go both ways I think you have to pick one or the other.
"You gotta be a running team or you gotta pass the ball," he said. "You can mix things in, but in high school ball you have to hang your hat on something. You have to be a running team or a passing team. Whatever you do, you have to hang your hat on it and sell your soul to get better."
With that scheme, Newcomb said they spend a lot time on the techniques of run blocking, as oppose to pass blocking.
"We're learning the fundamentals," he said. "But our thing right now is I have some young guys up front. We lost four starters on our offensive line. They got hurt, so we are tying the best we can."
Admittedly, Newcomb says that puts his team at a disadvantage as they travel to Monument Valley on Friday.
"Monument Valley is going to be a test," he said. "I know they are going to sling the ball around. We either have to cover their receivers or put pressure on their quarterback."
But Newcomb said the number one thing they need to do is possess the ball.
"Our best defense has to be our ball-control offense," he said. "We need to get a lot of first downs."
"We're looking forward to that game," Pineda added. "We just have to get our head straight and study film."
The outcome of that game will not determine the season as Ganado will finish out the year with a home game against Pinon on Oct. 19 before traveling to Many Farms on Oct. 26.
"We have three games left and if we can win two out of the three we are guaranteeing ourselves an above .500 season," Newcomb said. "I don't think Ganado has been above .500 since the 2004 season."