After losing three of their first four games, and scoring seven points or less in three of those contests, the Marana Tiger football team has found some offense.
In a new attack, three different players may set up behind center at the quarterback position, making the Tigers' offense less predictable.
Defense is a struggle, though, and on Friday the Tigers lost to Desert View, 35-14. This Friday, 3-5 Marana hosts Sahuaro in its home finale, before closing out the season Nov. 6 at Nogales.
"Our defense wasn't there," said running back Terry Helsel after Friday's loss.
Chris Meraz destroyed the Tigers with 179 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 29 carries. Zac Cruz caught six passes for 80 yards.
Once Desert View scored first in the second quarter, after a 12-play scoring drive, the Tigers were playing catch-up the rest of the night.
After Meraz scored on a two-yard run, adding the conversion, Marana came back on a three-play scoring drive. Josh Boak, the team's primary quarterback, gained eight yards. A 16-yard pass completion to Kord Catt brought the ball to midfield. On the next play, Boak found Helsel for 50 yards and a touchdown. Nick Parker's conversion cut the deficit to 8-7.
Desert View immediately took back the momentum on a kickoff return to midfield. After a couple of passes from Jesse Santana to Cruz, as well as a couple of other first downs, Santana scored from a yard out to make it 16-7 at the half.
"Momentum is a weird monster," said Marana coach Anthony Coronado. "We gave up some opportunities."
Brandon Perkins took the second-half kickoff back 91 yards for a touchdown, and after the conversion was blocked, the Tigers found themselves trailing 21-7.
The momentum appeared to change in the Tigers favor with 6:37 left in the third.
Helsel took the handoff on the first play and passed to Eric Gibbs for 25 yards. Next, Helsel kept it and ran 40 yards down to the DV 18. A couple of plays later, Boak took the snap and went right up the middle for a 16-yard touchdown. Parker's kick made it 21-14.
Desert View kept getting good field position from its special teams in the second half, which shortened the field and led to two more touchdown drives. After an interception by DV's Perkins in the fourth quarter, the deficit became too great for the Tigers to overcome.
Three different Tigers completed passes in the game.
"We don't stick to the same offense," said Helsel. "We switch it up."
Coach Coronado agreed. "(Changing quarterbacks) gives us a little bit more options."
Helsel had 90 yards rushing on 11 carries, caught a 50-yard touchdown pass, and completed a 25-yard pass. Boak had 72 yards passing and an additional 31 yards on the ground.
"We didn't get it done," Coronado said. "We do what we can and hope we can win our last two games."
Canyon Del Oro 52, Pueblo 0
Sunnyside 35, Ironwood Ridge 14
Desert View 35, Marana 14
Salpointe 12, Mountain View 3
Pusch Ridge 61, San Carlos 8
Sahuaro at Marana, 7 p.m.
Mountain View at Sierra Vista Buena, 7 p.m.
Ray at Pusch Ridge, 7 p.m.