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Desert Pines strikes early in 33-14 victory at Foothill

Updated September 27, 2019 - 11:03 pm

Desert Pines football coach Tico Rodriguez told his players he wanted a strong start Friday night, and they complied.

The Jaguars scored on the opening kickoff and controlled the first quarter en route to a 33-14 victory at Foothill.

Darnell Washington had six receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns to lead Desert Pines (4-0).

Rodriguez said Darrien Stewart’s 70-yard scoring sprint to open the game was exactly the spark he wanted.

“That was huge,” Rodriguez said. “It set the tone early. We wanted to come out fast and jump on them. To get ahead 20-0 is exactly what we wanted.”

After the Falcons (4-1) squandered an 11-play opening drive, Desert Pines scored again when Rjay Tagatases connected with Washington for a 77-yard touchdown pass. The Jaguars extended the lead to 20-0 on a 33-yard TD pass from Tagatases to Deandre Moore early in the second quarter.

But the Jaguars committed costly penalties throughout the night. An interception return for a score was negated by an unsportsmanlike penalty midway through the quarter, and Foothill seized momentum.

“We played tough, but we want to be smarter,” Rodriguez said. “It seemed like we kept taking a step forward and two steps back. We kept them in the game with that.”

The Falcons cut the deficit on a 10-yard TD pass from Koy Riggin to Thomas Fisher-Welch with 4:47 left in the first half, then made the score 20-14 midway through the third quarter on a 4-yard run by Kendric Thomas.

But Desert Pines regrouped and dominated the rest of the way, going ahead 26-14 on a 55-yard third-quarter run by Darius Stewart and 33-14 on a 15-yard pass from Tagatases to Washington midway through the fourth.

Rodriguez said adjustments were made at halftime.

“We wanted to be more balanced,” said Rodriguez, whose team totaled 384 yards while holding Foothill to 193. “So we established the run a little bit more. That opened up our medium passing game.”

Tagatases completed 16 of 27 passes for 251 yards and three TDs, and teammate Jovantae Barnes rushed 11 times for 72 yards.

Riggin completed 19 of 33 passes for 186 yards and one interception for Foothill.

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