Rancho and Del Sol couldn’t be more different offensively.
The Rams rarely run, relying on the arm of quarterback James Cammack. Del Sol rarely passes, riding the sturdy legs of running backs Ernest Hall, Derek Eamon and Jon Kirschbaum.
That contrast in styles will be on display at 7 p.m. today when the teams meet at Rancho in the Sunrise Region quarterfinals.
“It’s two completely different styles of football,” said Del Sol coach Preston Goroff, whose team didn’t complete a pass in last week’s regular-season finale. “You’ve got a team that runs the ground game and a team that runs empty set the whole game. It’s going to be interesting to see how it pans out.”
Tenth-ranked Rancho (5-5) has attempted 330 passes this season, and Cammack has thrown for an area-best 2,915 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Ninth-ranked Del Sol (8-2) has attempted only 91 passes all season. That’s 32 fewer than Cammack has attempted over his last three games.
The Dragons bank on their ground game with Hall (1,055 yards, 13 touchdowns), Eamon (980 yards, 13 TDs) and Kirschbaum (720 yards, six TDs) leading the way.
Eamon, who didn’t get a carry the first two weeks of the season, has been on a roll, rushing for 628 yards over the last three weeks.
“They don’t do a whole bunch of different stuff offensively,” Rancho coach Elvin Dick said. “They’re just big and strong and pound the ball. Not many teams have been able to stop them, including us when we played them.”
That regular-season meeting on Sept. 19 ended with the Dragons winning, 41-39. Playing close against a team that has appeared in three consecutive Sunrise title games boosted Rancho’s confidence.
“That helps, knowing that we just lost by two points and we had a chance to win,” said Rancho receiver Dijon Holman, who has caught 72 passes for 1,234 yards and 14 TDs. “It’s not like they can’t be beat.”
Rancho has won four of six games since the loss to Del Sol. That game was the first time first-year Rancho coach Dick went to the spread offense.
Dick said he switched to the spread out of necessity but the change has been effective.
“It’s the most I’ve ever thrown it, because we’re not a very good running team,” Dick said. “I don’t want to throw the ball 50 times a game. But if you can’t run very well, you’ve got to do what you do well. And that’s what we do well.”
Cammack has been especially effective at eluding pass rushers and buying time for his receivers to get open.
“We just need to cover forever and never lose sight of our man,” Kirschbaum said.
Dick hopes his team won’t repeat its costly slow start in last week’s 41-33 loss to Valley. The Rams fell behind 34-7, missing missed on several early scoring chances.
“If we don’t connect on those plays and get points on the board when we should get points on the board, then it’ll be an early break (elimination) for us,” Dick said.