MARICOPA — Maricopa coach Brandon Harris was at a loss for words to describe his team’s 43-9 loss to Gilbert Campo Verde on Friday.
The Rams took an early 2-0 lead and led 9-6 briefly in the final minute of the first quarter before mistakes and a lack of composure doomed the Rams in the second quarter.
“Coaches coach and players play. I know we coached hard, and I know our kids practiced hard, but at some point we have to actually bring the practice onto the football field," he said. "I just feel like a lot of times there is a lack of composure. A little bit of immaturity. We just have to decide what kind of program that we want to be. When we listen and do the things that we are supposed to do, we are pretty good. When we don’t, we are not that good and it consistently shows up every time.”
Personal fouls and unsportsmanlike penalties led to one Rams player being ejected and causing Maricopa to play with short field or drives stalling out before they had a chance to get anything started.
The result was the Rams failed to reach Campo Verde territory again until the fourth quarter when they drove down to the 27-yard line before a quarterback sack of Daxton Redfern dropped Maricopa back to the 35.
“It happens to us every year. These teams come in here and they are hitting,” Harris said. “The kid who retaliates is never the kid who gets away with it. We tell them that all the time. You would think that after six personal fouls in the first half, they would learn but apparently not.
“My mother used to have a saying, you don’t have to get hit by the policeman’s billy club to know its hard. But all you have to do is turn on an episode of Cops and see a lot of people getting hit with billy clubs. That seems like us at times. We don’t learn the easy way.”
Tylek Mooney led the Rams with 44 yards on nine carries including a 25-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Steven Forester added 32 yards on 13 carries while Redfern ended the night throwing for 58 yards – completing 6 of 17 passing attempts and running the ball seven times for 22 yards while being sacked five times.
“That’s a combination of things,” Harris said of the sacks. “We don’t check when we don’t check, receivers don’t do certain things. "Maybe I call a bad play and our quarterback drops his eyes, a combination of two of those and it's deadly.”
The loss drops Maricopa to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in the 5A San Tan region. The Rams have a much needed bye next week before hosting Gilbert Williams Field on Oct. 18.
The bye week will also give Harris a chance to makes some possible personnel changes and give some younger guys on the junior varsity squad a look.
“We will see who wants to do the things that we want them to do,” he said. “If I can’t get the current group of older kids to do the things I want them to do, then I might as well bring up some JV players.
“We are going to build a program that does that sooner or later. We will win here. We will win a championship here. It may not be this year, but we will see how it goes.”