CASA GRANDE — Vista Grande received a heavy blow during last week’s 34-0 loss to Waddell Canyon View, senior running back Arnold Castro hobbled his way over the sideline early in the first quarter.

Castro did not go back in for a play for the remainder of the first half and after the team came back from the locker room for the second half, he was no longer wearing pads and was on crutches.

Earlier this week’s head coach Jon Roberts told PinalCentral that Castro will likely be out for at least three weeks with a sprained right knee.

Castro is still awaiting a MRI to see the full extent of the injury which could include a chipped shin bone and a strained tendon and hip flexor.

During the Spartans season opener Castro had 11 carries for 75 yards and three touchdowns. Last week he only had two touches for negative yardage before he left the game.

The Spartans will still have available options at the position with freshman Fernando Moya, junior Angelo Tapia and senior Kenyon Caldwell.

Caldwell came in for Castro last week to take some of the pressure off of Moya and had eight carries for 25 yards.

Vista Grande (1-1) are on the road this week taking on Phoenix Shadow Mountain (0-2) and will look to get back to the fundamentals coming off of last week’s tough loss.

“That was a tough one especially after a high of all high after the first game,” Roberts said. “That was a really good Canyon View team that we played and their record really isn’t a reflection of the great job that (Nick) Gehrts has done.”

The Spartans are aiming establish its run game early against Matadors and play some hard-nosed defense like they did in their season opener.

“This is an important game for us,” Roberts said. “Going 2-1 would be really nice for this program, they haven’t been 2-1 in a long time. We finished licking our wounds on Saturday after watching film and we’re ready to get back to playing football.”

During their film session the team realized that the gaps to run the ball were there against the Jaguars, it was just a matter of the running backs not seeing the holes due to their inexperience.

The Spartans have 15 freshman on the team, many of which are coming off playing youth football where they are accustomed to breaking out big runs.

“When you get to the varsity level, defenses hold so we have to explain to them that we might be chipping away but the dam will break sooner or later,” Roberts said. “It comes down to patience and it comes down to those kids experiencing grinding a team down.”

Roberts added that he believes the loss will help his team out in the long run.

“Some of the boys drunk the Kool-Aid off of that big win and our preparation wasn’t the same as it was the week before,” he said. “Now the last couple of days at practice the kids have been focused, they don’t want to experience something like that again. I think they’ll never forget this, they’re still hungry and they’re still fighting and we’re going to move forward.”

Game of the week: Apache Junction vs. Mesquite. Also picks of the week.

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

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