CASA GRANDE — Vista Grande coach Jon Roberts has preached about wanting the Spartans to play a complete game where everything is clicking.

After starting off “foggy” in last week’s game against Phoenix Washington, the Vista Grande defense came up with some big plays in the second half to improve it overall record to 3-3.

The Spartans have rarely struggled to establish their run game this season and last week was no different as they posted 418 yards on the ground. The area that has been a struggle at times has being in the air.

Roberts once again emphasized that he wants some type of balanced attack and he strongly believes that this will be the week that Vista Grande can finally accomplish that.

“Yuma is very, very big so we can’t just come out and try to blow them over,” he said. “This is going to sound crazy as I say it but we’re going to have to pass the ball to open up our run game. It’s going to be a big test for our offensive line to see how we do as far as blocking because (Yuma) is just really big up front. We have to play physical on D, which I think we can and we have to play physical on offense.”

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The biggest challenge in this week’s matchup against the winless Criminals (0-6) is to string together consecutive wins which is something the Spartans have struggled to do this season.

Vista Grande was already in this situation earlier this season after blowing out Phoenix Shadow Mountain 70-24 on Sept. 24, they traveled to San Tan Valley the following week to take on a winless San Tan Foothills squad. The outcome of that game was a 55-18 win for the Sabercats.

The Spartans are aiming to avoid a repeat of that that against the Criminals.

“They haven’t won a game all year but they’re not slouches,” Roberts said. “Like most of the teams we’re playing right now, they’re in the rebuild stage. They’ve ran a spread all year but last week when they played Sierra Linda, they played more of a conservative style running formation call the double-wing, double-tight end look and I think that’s what they’re going to use against us.”

Roberts added that while the Criminals have the size, they do not have the same skills as Vista Grande and his team will try to exploit that weakness.

So far this season, Yuma has use a duo quarterback system with sophomore Reggie Antone and senior Jaynoah Medel who have combined for 831 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Medel is also the Criminals’ leading tackler with 37 tackles and has three sacks for 12 yards, and Julian Goldsburough has recovered three fumbles for 74 yards.

“As a program we’re still learning how to win,” Roberts said. “Like I told the kids, we have to let that last victory go. ... And we have to see if we can string together two wins in row. We’ve already proven to everybody that we can win a football game and we’re a lot more competitive than we have been in the past years, but this season we have not strung together two wins in a row. I want to see if we can string together two wins in a row.”

According to Roberts this week is full of distractions for the team as Friday will be the final home game of the season which means that it is senior night and it is also the homecoming game.

Although it was a good defensive showing for Vista Grande last week when the Spartans limited Washington to just 149 total yards of offense, Roberts felt that it was a very similar game to Shadow Mountain.

“We’re searching for a complete game and that along with stringing together a couple of wins in a row,” he said. “If we can do that then regardless of how the rest of the season goes, I think the season is a success because that’s tantamount to a turnaround; can a program win more than one time in a row? When you can do that then you’re on the right path.”

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Maria Vasquez is the Sports Editor for PinalCentral. She can be reached at mvasquez@pinalcentral.com.

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