Desert Remains Unbeaten

College of the Desert scored first, scored often, and never looked back in a 65-24 home victory over the Southwestern College Jaguars. (Photo: Desert OL Mike Cronshagen)

Starting in only his second game of the season, running back Undre Sails (5-9, 195 So.) led the Roadrunner attack with 173 net yards (54 longest) and 4 touch downs on 19 carries.  Multi-talented QB Mitchell Jacoby (6-0, 175 Fr.) added 31 yards and a TD on 9 carries, and Marcell Smith (5-8, 185 Fr.) pitched in with 22 yards and a TD on 3 carries.  Six additional players, including quarterback Brent Rausch (6-4, 190 Fr.) contributed to the rest of the Roadrunners' 257-yard rushing total.

In two and a half quarters, Rausch completed 19 of 28 passes for 277 yards, including 2 TD strikes and no interceptions. Jacoby contributed an additional 4 of 5 passes for 19 yards.  Keiton Mayes (5-8, 175 So.) led eight receivers with 5 catches for 93 yards (41 longest) and a touch down. Quade Soffel (6-2, 206 So.) also made 5 catches, totaling 58 yards, and Colton Quinabo made 4 snags for 50 yards and a TD.  Edgard Theliar, Jr. (6-3, 185 ) made 3 catches for 17 yards, and after five games remains one of the top receivers in the conference, along with Mayes.

The running holes and pass protection were created courtesy of an offensive line led by Mike Cronshagen (6-4, 320 So.)  The Roadrunners amassed 523 yards of total offense to remain on top of the Foothill Conference in total offensive yardage. They are also the #1 scoring offense and #1 rushing offense.

The Desert Defense continues to shine, holding Southwestern to only 19 net yards rushing and limiting SWC quarterback Drew Westling's completion percentage to 48%, well below his season average of 69%. "They play with a lot of passion and create turnovers," says coach Dowty of his defense. The Roadrunners lost a fumble but snagged two interceptions from SWC to win the turnover battle, 2-1. Desert maintains an average 2.6 positive turnover ration for the season and ranks among the top overall and scoring defenses in the Foothill Conference.

Coach Dowty was reluctant to credit any single player for the victory, preferring to praise the entire team. When pressed, he cited the examples of  Sails, who is "working hard, blocking well and playing well," and DeShon Daniels (5-10, 180 Fr.) who "played a heck of a game, returning one back for a TD. The coverage team did a great job blocking for him. The players and coaches make it easy for me because everybody executes, especially off the ball," Dowty said in the interview, adding "I have the hardest working coaching staff around."

Dowty tipped his hat to his team's opponents, the Southwestern College Jaguars. "They have some good kids and continued to battle the whole game. The Jaguars are well coached and will win some games if they keep up their positive energy."

Under pressure, SWC quarterback Drew Westling (6-3, 220 So.) continued to show flashes of brilliance in leading the Jaguar air attack, completing 15 of 31 passes for 175 yards and 2 touch downs, distributed among nine receivers.  Kevin Pike (5-11, 175 So.) was his favorite target, snagging 4 catches for 76 yards (28 longest) and a touch down. Carter Deyvan (6-2, 178 So.) added 3 catches for 24 yards, and Sheldon Galloway (6-2, 210 Fr.) caught 3 for 23 yards and the second TD. Running back Kenslow Smith (5-8, 210 Fr.), a Helix High product, managed 12 net yards rushing against the tough Desert "D," and added a pass reception for another 11 yards.  After five games, Smith stands second in the Foothill Conference with 28 total receptions.

SWC Coach Ed Carberry praised the performance of his young offensive line. "We have only three sophomores on the offense," stated Carberry. Center Jose Baez (6-2, 265 Fr.) was a Carberry pick for player of the week.  Baez, out of Eastlake HS, benches 420 and is playing his first year ever at the center position. He is joined on the O-Line by Phillip Yandell (6-2, 263 Fr.), another top performer and D-I prospect, who hails from Leone HS in Samoa.  Coach Ed Carberry also mentioned kicker Abel Perez (6-0, 175 Fr.) as one of the best conference players no one knows about. Perez leads the Foothill Conference with 58.7 yards per kickoff.

On the SWC defense, backup DB Shawn Shaw (5-10, 178 So.) has stepped up after an injury last week. In only two games as a starter, Shaw put together back-to-back performances as leading tackler, and on the season is credited with 3.5 tackles for losses. But the Jag running attack could not find its wheels, and the defense ultimately had no answer to the Desert rushing onslaught.

Asked how it feels to be 5-0 and leading the Foothill Conference's #1 scoring offense and #2 scoring defense, Desert's Coach Dowty responded that "every week is going to be a tough opponent because everybody is looking to knock you off  - every single game they're gonna be gunning for us.  As long as we keep executing, we can continue to win. If we don't go out and beat ourselves, we will be competitive in every game."

Next week it will be last year's conference champs, the perennially powerful Grossmont Griffins who will be gunning for College of the Desert. The Roadrunners travel to El Cajon on Saturday, the 6th of October for a 1 p.m. kick off.


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