The tide of last Friday’s season opening football game hinged on the special teams units of Canyon del Oro and Flowing Wells high schools. Unfortunately for the Dorados, their kicking unit could not come through, missing two extra points and as many two-point conversion attempts.
Those follies made the difference for the Dorados, who fell on the road to the Caballeros, 38-37, despite their impressive offensive showing.
Longtime CDO Coach Dustin Peace addressed how close his team was to coming out on top after the Aug. 17 game, addressing the highs and lows of a riveting spectacle on the gridiron.
“We just didn't score when we needed to,” Peace said. “We got close at the end of the game there, but it was kind of like that all night, where we were a yard away from getting a two-point conversion early on, a yard away from getting a first down, it was that close.”
Peace praised his offense’s output, including star of the night, Stevie Rocker, who ran for 173 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries for his first varsity start as a Dorado.
Peace praised the sophomore, as well as senior quarterback Zach Eidenschink, for their ability to pace the Dorados’ offense, with the team racking up 318 rushing and 411 total offensive yards against the Caballeros.
“We’re there offensively,” Peace said. “Defensively, I’m just eager to see what’s going on, what the problems are, and how we can fix those problems. Monday can’t come quick enough.”
Eidenschink wasn’t surprised by Rocker’s impressive debut for the Dorados, describing the sophomore as an animal with the ball in his hands.
“That kid’s a monster,” Eidenschink said. “I can’t wait to come back and see his senior year. He’s such a huge help to me and our team on both sides of the ball. He’s a beast.”
Peace acknowledged how far his team has to come in all aspects of the game before their home opener against Prescott on Friday night.
“The fact of the matter is that we all have to do a little bit more, and that starts with me,” Peace said. “[Flowing Wells] won the field position game a lot tonight. We couldn’t put an extra point in-between the goal posts. And when we went for two we didn’t get it. It’s like we couldn’t make the right play at the right time.”
Eidenschink, who finished with 70 passing and 85 rushing yards for CDO, also took part of the blame for the team’s season opening loss. The senior team captain believes the team will be in better shape overall against the Badgers, but knows they let it slip away in week one.
“I know there’s stuff that I’ve got to do to make my team better. All around we can get better,” he said. “We aren’t even close to our full potential. This is obviously a tough one, but we’ll get back to the drawing board.”
Peace said there’s plenty of time left for the Dorados this season, with nine games remaining in the regular season. He knows his players will need to stay positive in the week ahead, poring over game film and executing in practice, so they can get back in the win column.
“It’ll be a long, long season if we let this loss affect us too much,” Peace said. “But I think we’ve got a good group of seniors and leaders that are going to help us go to work and really buckle down and figure out what we’ve got to do to get better.”
The Dorados face a Prescott squad fresh off a 40-17 loss to Desert Edge in its season opener last Friday.
Eidenschink believes his teammates will embrace the task at-hand and come back more prepared for the Badgers. He cited a team motto shared by this year’s seniors revolving around the ticking of a clock and the finality of sports.
“We did this thing where coach asked us how many games we’ve played, we added it up and it was around 100 games for each of us,” he said. “So, we put 100 seconds on a clock and let it run out. When it hit 10 seconds it hit us right in the heart that we’ve got that many games left here. So, we’ve got nine more to go and we’re going to make the most of it. We want to be back out there tomorrow.”
Peace said the team’s tight bond will carry them through their rough opening act and allow them to rebound against Prescott this week. The Dorados head coach knows that his team is close to finding success, and that they will make it through “tough times” a hardened group of athletes.
“Monday will be the start of that,” Peace said. “I mean, I know I can’t wait to get back to work and our leaders on this team will help us do the same.”