Bijan Robinson ripped the momentum from the hometown Canyon del Oro Dorados in the first minute of last Friday’s Canyon del Oro-Salpointe Catholic clash.
The junior running back from the visiting Lancers took a handoff from quarterback Devin Green, dashing through an overmatched Dorados defense for a highlight reel touchdown.
It was the first score of the night for the undefeated Lancers, but was far from the last. The visiting side launched a ground game assault on the Dorados, with 282 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 49-6 win.
The Dorados’ defeat knocked their yearlong record to 5-3, having lost back-to-back contests against Sahuaro and Salpointe Catholic by a combined score of 91-27.
Longtime CDO Coach Dustin Peace’s postgame remarks centered on the team’s sudden lack of on-field confidence on both sides of the ball. Peace said the team’s playoff hopes rest on their ability to get back to basics, doing the little things right in practice so they can gain confidence.
“Whether we finish up 7-3 and we get in the playoffs or not, we’ve got to play better football,” Peace said. “Confidence is not what it was earlier in the year. Last week, we came out with lower energy and it kind of trickled on to this week. We knew they were going to be explosive. They got two touchdowns and that’s what happens when you play a good team with those kind of players that can break it open.”
The Dorados scored their lone touchdown of the night on a short passing touchdown from senior QB Zach Eidenschink to Austin Brooks in the game’s first quarter.
Eidenschink, who finished the night with 97 passing yards and a touchdown, believes the team, which finishes its season with games against Vista Grande and Casa Grande high schools, can get back in the win column on Friday night.
The key, according to the senior gunslinger, is to work hard in practice to build the team’s confidence ahead of their game with the Spartans in Casa Grande on Friday.
“We knew we had to make plays on Friday night, and we weren’t able to come through,” Eidenschink said. “The leaders on this team are going to have to step up. We’re going to watch film and get ready for our next opportunity.”
For Peace, the key in this Friday’s game against Vista Grande centers on their ability to prevent the Spartans from getting off to as hot of a start as the Lancers did.
He believes that the squad will respond to the leadership of seniors like Eidenschink this week, with their playoff lives on the line.
“We’ve got to just make some plays early in the game,” Peace said. “We didn’t make enough plays earlier in the game and as you saw, the drive that we did score was penalty-driven, and didn’t have that explosive burst that we needed.”
The Vista Grande Spartans are 2-6 this season, and are coming off their bye week, after losing to Catalina Foothills, 55-6, on Oct. 5.
Peace believes the key for his squad in their final two games will be whether this year’s senior class can lead the younger guys back to success, after a pair of debilitating losses.
“Now’s the time to grab a hold and give everything you’ve got,” he said. “And right now I think it’s more mentally than physically honestly. We seem like we’re tired mentally, not physically, but more mentally and sometimes on fall break that kind of gets you out of your rhythm.”
Peace finished his postgame speech by hinting that last Friday’s loss has to serve as a wake-up call for his players, given the high level of play that each playoff team brings to the table.
He knows that getting torched by players like Bijan Robinson, who finished the night with a game-high 123 rushing yards and two scores on 8 carries, will give his team an idea of the type of talent they’re likely to face, should they win their final two regular season games and qualify for the state playoffs.
“We’ve got to play better football because we’re going to see teams like that in the playoffs,” Peace said. “We can’t come out with that kind of performance.”