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A young Sedona Red Rock High School football team traveled down State Route 89A to Mingus Union High School for a set of four 7-on-7 passing league games, all against teams from higher conferences, on Wednesday, June 14.

Throughout the afternoon the group’s main goal was to focus on installing its defense, continue working on its offense, and just as importantly, developing team cohesion.

Freshman quarterback Joey Johnson throws down field (left). Johnson and junior Joey Brown switched off playing quarterback every series during the afternoon in which the team played four games.
“I wanted to introduce our base defense, which is new to them. The terminology is new, even the terminology as far the names of the positions are new,” first year head coach Tom Miller said. “And we did that, and we had some growing pains with that as I would expect, but we’ve got to start somewhere.”

Those new ideas and terminology in turn caused the group of freshmen and sophomores to think, instead of react, during the 25-minute running clock scrimmages. As a result they did give up a bit more, especially over the middle.

“I threw a lot at them mentally on defense with some new concepts that kind of slowed them down a little bit because they’re thinking too much,” Miller said. “But that got better as the practice went on.”

Many players were being moved around at different positions as well.

Offensively, the Scorpions continued with the same scheme that was implemented when they began practicing three weeks ago.

But more than Xs and Os, team chemistry is another factor that, once developed, will help the rest fall into place.

Creating a sense of responsibility and dependency on one another, Miller said, will prove vital in improving overall play.

“We have to develop as a team because we have very young players who moved up, and we’re a new team basically,” Tony Van Dezor said.

But at the end of the day Miller was satisfied with only the second competitive outing of the summer.

“All of these schools are larger than us, so I think when they had some success — and we’ve had some success — then they see that they can compete and it gives them some confidence,” Miller said. “And when we break down it’s important to break down why.”

Individually he sees talent as well, which showed during the Scorpions’ last game of the day against the host Marauders.

On the team’s first possession, senior Javi Pacheco caught an out route before putting a quick spin move on the Mingus defender and accelerating for the score to go up 6-0.

The Scorpions opened things up against 3A Chino Valley High School, falling 9-6. After an interception on its first possession, Red Rock then gave up a touchdown on defense. It rebounded with a score and a defensive stop, but time ran out before it could create anything more.

Right after they took on 4A Flagstaff High School. The offense struggled, turning the ball over on downs twice before getting picked off the third time out. Meanwhile, the Eagles scored on its first three possessions, the latter two over the middle.

Another pass was picked off, with the Flagstaff defender doing well to read the quarterback’s eyes and cut off the route.

However the Scorpions did get the ball back right away with a pick of their own, but ultimately lost 24-3.

The third game, in which the defenses stood out, saw Red Rock find its first win, 18-9 against 4A Coconino High School. After giving up a touchdown, incoming freshman quarterback Joey Johnson found Pacheco deep down the left sideline. Then the Scorpions got another score, sandwiched by two more interceptions. Coconino rounded things out with a pick of its own.

The final game saw Mingus defeat the Scorpions 21-6. They did find some success offensively against the Marauders’ man defense, but ultimately could not string enough together to create more scores aside from Pacheco’s.

7-on-7 Football

It is played with a center, quarterback and five other skill players, and only three may be lined up on the line of scrimmage.

Play stops after the ball carrier is touched with one hand or if the quarterback does not throw within four seconds, so no helmets or pads are worn. On every possession the ball starts at the 40-yard line and the offense has four downs to reach the 25, four more to reach the 10, and four more to score.

Touchdowns are worth six points and interceptions three.

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