Generally speaking, a nose guard has no business with the ball in his arms chugging for the goal line.
Yet, there he was Friday night like a freight train out of control headed for Nogales High’s first defensive touchdown of the season.
“Now I know what it feels like to be (running back and teammate Brian) McCarty,” said Apache lineman Edgar Teran, moments after intercepting Palo Verde quarterback Nate Snow and lumbering 46 yards to his team’s fifth score of the night.
At first, Teran thought it was a screen pass, so he rolled over and tried to knock the little blooper down. Next thing he knew, though, the ball was in his hands, so he just took off.
“Thanks to the defense; the defense blocked great for me,” he said. “They gave me that opportunity. It probably won’t ever happen again.
“Once I was on the 20, I thought, ‘hey, this could happen,’” he added, “and it did.”
It was also the perfect homecoming game for the 5-foot-10, 235-pound senior, who helped Nogales secure its third shutout of a perfect 5-0 season so far, after a 50-0 hammering of the visiting Palo Verde Titans.
“We’re just playing very disciplined,” Teran said. “We’re trying to eliminated the little mistakes and play aggressive, hard-nosed football. That’s what Apache football’s all about.”
Apache football has also been all about points, with Nogales scoring 50 or more in their last three outings, and having outscored their opponents 229-33 so far in 2012.
Aside from Teran, on Friday, it was two usual suspects and a somewhat newer weapon that lit up the scoreboard for Nogales.
The usual suspects were McCarty and Apache signal caller Marcel Renteria. Both seniors had two touchdowns each, plus 94 yards on 10 carries for McCarty and 103 passing yards for Renteria, who completed 7 of 10 throws on the night, including TD strikes to Jason Luna (6 yards) and Mikey Lopez (2 yards).
“All this success is based on our offensive line. They’re doing a great job,” Renteria said. “They’re making big holes for McCarty to run, and they’re also giving me all the time in the world to throw.”
McCarty and Renteria, though, are clearly not the only weapons in Nogales’ backfield any more. The newest one—sophomore running back Alan Garcia—emerged three weeks ago in a 51-0 drubbing of Amphitheater. Since then, he has gained 345 yards on 37 carries and three TDs, including 119 yards on 11 carries and two TDs against Palo Verde.
“It feels great,” Garcia said. “I didn’t really expect to come up, but I worked really hard down in (junior varsity), and it paid off.
“We’re getting confidence,” he added. “We just need to keep working hard and correct our mistakes.”
There weren’t a lot of those on Friday, though, for Nogales, but it was another story for Palo Verde, which coughed the ball up three times on the night offensively and just couldn’t stop the Apaches on defense.
“At this point, with our young team, we’re interested in the process more than the result,” Titans coach Matt Willard said. “We know what we are, and Nogales is a heck of a football team that’s senior-laden. They’ve been together for a long time and our guys are trying to learn that.
“This season’s a process for us,” he added. “We’re building, but the bottom line for us is that we’re trying to have small victories here and there, but there’s a lot for us to work on.”
That work will come this week for a 1-4 Palo Verde squad that is getting ready to host the winless Douglas Bulldogs. Nogales, on the other hand, will face their stiffest competition of the season to date in Sahuarita, which is also perfect on the season and beat Cholla 35-14 on Friday.
“We’re at their place, so it’s going to be huge,” Nogales skipper Vince Villanucci said. “We got to be ready and be healthy, and get ready for this thing.”
“They’re very tough,” Teran added. “They have a lot of big boys, so we just got to watch film, work hard and take it one game at a time—and just see how it goes.”