West Valley Preps
The Deer Valley Skyhawks had two big problems in their 2018 season opener Friday night.
Watching the Scottsdale Arcadia Titans run wild was one thing, but watching their own players limp to the sidelines was indeed another in the Skyhawks’ 40-21 loss to open the new year.
DV had some mojo working early with a strong first-quarter passing attack and senior running back Dez Melton worming his way through the Arcadia defense for two second-quarter scores.
The Titans were saving their energy for the second half as it turned out, turning a 21-21 halftime tie into a runway with 19 unanswered points over the third and fourth quarters as junior quarterback Kadin Beler threw for one score and ran for three others.
Beler would surpass 100 yards both passing and rushing Friday.
Mostly, though, the sight of Skyhawks cramping up and heading for the sidelines had much of Deer Valley’s focus afterward.
“At one point there we had no running backs left,” first-year Skyhawks head coach Dan Friedman said. “You’re trying to figure out who can do this.”
Melton was surging early.The 6-foot-4 senior speedster scored twice in the second quarter on his way to 84 rushing yards by halftime. He did go over the 100 mark with an unofficial tally of 118 yards on 13 carries while also catching five balls for 50 yards.
The passing attack was also sharp early. Sophomore quarterback Trent Green made good on his first five passes of the game for 46 yards and a touchdown to move the chains.
But the Skyhawks went quiet late and were unable to keep pace with Arcadia, with just six yards of offense in the fourth quarter.
“Honestly we probably need to improve on conditioning,” said Melton, who carried the ball just four times for 34 yards in the second half. “We have skills and we have enough people to do it, just conditioning would probably be a bigger part to help us obviously for the game.”
The Titans, meanwhile, fed the ball to junior Paxton Earl early and watched junior Beler take control late.
Earl got loose for a 78-yard touchdown sprint with just under three minutes left to play in first half for his second score of the period.
Earl and Melton, in fact, at one point scored two touchdowns apiece in a span of four and a half minutes to boost the pace of the game and bring energy to both sides of the bleachers.
Then it was Beler Time.He scored three touchdowns in 12:08 of game time over the third and fourth quarters, starting with a 39-yard keeper with 5:08 left in the third.
In the fourth, he went in from four yards out before the Arcadia special teams forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff.
The Titans recovered at the Deer Valley 36-yard line, and minutes later Beler was in the end zone again, this time from two yards.
“We needed more runners,” Beler said. “Paxton was doing a great job, we just needed more legs. Coach said to go and help out the run game.”
Beler finished the night with 112 yards rushing on 14 carries. He also was 10-of-20 passing for 132 yards and a touchdown, and he didn’t throw a pass in the fourth quarter.
“(He) had to be our Cam Newton. That’s what he does. He’s the best dual-threat quarterback in the state,” first-year Arcadia head coach Kerry Taylor said. “We had to get the ball to our two best playmakers and put it in their hands.”
The Titans, who got a jump on the season Aug. 17, improve to 2-0 on the new year while scoring 40 for a second straight week (49-0 win over Coronado).They return home Aug. 31 to welcome a Washington team that won big, 54-6, over Sierra Linda in its season opener Friday night.
Deer Valley hits the road for its next two starting Aug. 31 at Thunderbird. The Chiefs dropped their season opener Friday night, 42-28, to Coconino in Flagstaff.
ARCADIA 40 DEER VALLEY 21
Arcadia 7 14 6 13 – 40
Deer Valley 7 14 0 0 – 21
A – touchdown (kick)
DV – Dylan Anderson pass from Trent Green (kick)
A – Paxton Earl 15 run (kick)
DV – Dez Melton 63 run (kick)
A – Earl 78 run (kick)
DV – Melton 5 run (kick)
A – Kadin Beler 39 run (kick failed)
A – Beler 4 run (kick failed)
A – Beler 2 run (Beeler run)