CASA GRANDE — It’s a brand new season for the Vista Grande football team as the Spartans are now 2-2 after losing their first two games.
It seems that head coach Jon Roberts made the right call in forgoing the team’s bye week and accepting Tucson Ironwood Ridge’s challenge back on Sept. 16.
This week Vista Grande travels to Rio Rico (1-2) as the Hawks are coming off a 25-21 loss to Douglas.
Following last week’s win against Phoenix Alhambra, Roberts told PinalCentral that his team should have a few more players available and healthy.
“The last couple of weeks, we’ve been able to build a lot of depth and a lot of kids have been able to play,” he said. “I think we’re getting healthy at the right time and hopefully with another week of practice we’ll get another W.”
Running back Fernando Moya was not in full uniform last week and has been dealing with an ankle injury that happened in Vista Grande’s season opener against Tempe Marcos de Niza on Sept. 2.
In the little playing time that he’s been available, the sophomore has only rushed for 22 yards on 19 carries.
In his absence others have stepped up like Kenyon Caldwell, Angelo Tapia, Izaya Talbo-Herrera and Derek DeCastro.
The four have combined for 526 total rushing yards with Tapia leading the way with 277 yards on the ground and four touchdowns.
“It hurt us immensely when Fernie went down, but we had guys that are willing to step it up,” Roberts said.
Quarterback Darnell Castro has not throw an interception in the last two games after starting off the season with three picks. The junior has also thrown 347 passing yards and five touchdowns.
“In a nutshell, he’s growing up,” Roberts said of Castro. “He knows that there are things that I promised him, there’s things that we’re doing now that I told him we would get to, but we had to grow and I think that he’s just getting excited because he sees that the playbook is expanding and we’re able to do more things. A lot of it is happening because of the fact that we are building a lot more depth because we are so young.”
In their two wins the Spartans have outscored opponents 87-23. So far this season the defense has three interceptions, eight fumble recoveries and 13 tackles for a loss of yardage.
Vista Grande’s two losses come to undefeated teams in Tempe Marcos de Niza (4-0) and 3A Florence (6-0).
The Hawks rely heavily on their run game as senior quarterback Reef Robbins has only thrown 185 yard with one touchdown and one interception.
Meanwhile Hiram Lopez, Nathan Villegas and Uriel Rivas have combined for 673 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Lopez led Hawks last week with 181 rushing yards on eight carries against Douglas.
Robbins and Andres Lopez combined for 61 passing yards with no touchdowns.
Defensively, Jose Perez lead Rio Rico with 25 tackles. The Hawks also have two sacks on the season and four interceptions.
Rio Rico’s lone victory was its season opener against Nogales, 10-0.