Ryan Ladika
ASU Student Journalist

South Mountain routed by Independence 33-13, drop fourth straight

October 14, 2017 by Ryan Ladika, Arizona State University

Mental mistakes and late scoring plays by the Independence High School Patriots doomed the South Mountain Jaguars in a 33-13 regional loss at home Friday night.

South Mountain (4-4, 0-3 region) hung with Independence (3-5, 3-0 region) for most of the game, but a late fourth quarter touchdown and two field goals ultimately sealed the game for the Patriots.

“I can’t say we lost momentum,” senior wide receiver Gavin Hak said. “It was just a lot of bad play calls. Everyone was doing their job; the play call was just not working at the time.”

The Jaguars dug themselves into an early 14-0 ditch, but were able to claw their way back into the game to go into the locker room down only 17-13 at halftime.

South Mountain came out in the third quarter with the momentum on its side, holding Independence scoreless until Patriots senior quarterback Adrian Talbo’s touchdown pass with 8:16 left in the fourth quarter.

Junior defensive back Kyler Traini said that a lack of communication within the defense in the second half was a big factor in the loss.

“We were the better team tonight, but they pulled through,” he said. “Big lack of communication on defense.”

Coach Mark Carter saw the mental mistakes, but isn’t worried about the Jaguars ironing out the issues and getting back on track for next week because of the youth of the team.

The key, he said, will be getting back to the high level of play that got the Jaguars to their dominant 4-0 record to start the season.

“The last two touchdowns they scored, those are backbreakers,” he added. “Offensively, we have to put points on the board because it changes play calling for the other team when you’re tied or climbing back. We just had too many mental mistakes. One mental mistake can cost you six points.”

Traini still believes the team is still trending in the right direction, despite the four game skid.

“We’re a young team, so I feel like our mindset is right,” Traini added. “We never give up, so I think that’s a strong factor and we have a lot to build off of.”