Two weeks ago, I watched La Quinta’s offense grind to a halt in a 24-0 loss at home to Roosevelt. It was a dreadful end to the Blackhawks’ challenging slate of non-league games. They were 0-5 for only the second time in school history.
La Quinta looked revitalized tonight in a 63-0 victory over Indio. Sure, the Rajahs aren’t as talented as Roosevelt, but they showed flashes of promise in their last two games, a loss to San Jacinto and a victory over Yucca Valley. Blackhawks assistant coach Dave Gurbada said after the game that he didn’t expect such a resounding result.
The primary reasons for La Quinta’s impressive showing were the return of running back Isaiah Verazas and the cohesiveness of their offensive line. Two weeks ago against Roosevelt, Verazas was sidelined with a thigh bruise, and the projected starters on the offensive line were playing their first game together. Center Nick Licalsi made his season debut, and left tackle Malik Blankenship was playing for the first time since the opener. Verazas was back healthy on Friday, and the offensive line had regrouped during the team’s bye week.
La Quinta will be more dangerous if junior running back Kenyon Williams can return and be effective. He broke his foot in the opener against Los Osos, but he could return in two weeks against Palm Springs. That would make a crucial matchup even more intriguing.
Indio will try to bounce back against Cathedral City next week. It will be a consequential game as both teams are trying to challenge La Quinta, Palm Springs and Palm Desert for playoff berths. The Lions have an edge already because of their forfeit victory over Palm Desert. Indio can hurt Cathedral City’s playoff chances by beating them next week.