9/6/2012 5:00:00 PM Yellow Jackets to host Shadow Hills on Friday
Randy Peterson Palo Verde Valley Times
BLYTHE - The Palo Verde High School Yellow Jacket football team will look for their second win of the early season tonight at Scott Stadium, when they host the Shadow Hills Knights in a 7 p.m. contest.
The Jackets escaped with a 33-32 overtime win in their opener against Escondido Charter while Shadow Hills dropped their season opener to Jurupa Hills by a 41-18 count.
"The score in the loss to Jurupa Hills does not indicate the quality and caliber of this team," said Jacket football coach, George Dagnino. "They are physical, hungry and deep on the depth chart with experience."
The young school, located in Indio, is only in its third season of varsity competition. Two years ago, the Jackets blew open their initial meeting and rolled to a 50-point victory and many of the Shadow Hills players on the team are still around this year. The meeting last year was just a one-touchdown win for the Jackets and the experience factor now sits in the Knights favor as they meet for the third time tonight.
According to Dagnino, the Knights employ an "I" formation running game that will feature #25 in the tailback position. James Toland ran for 167 yards in the loss to Jurupa Hills and is the key man to stop in their offense.
"They are very aggressive and physical up front with their guards," Dagnino said. "Their power running scheme is built to wear the defense down and keep the opponents' offense off the field.
The fullback and guards compliment the running skills of Toland as they bring the hammer and lay big-time blocks according to Dagnino.
"We have to attack on defense and not break or give up big plays," Dagnino said.
The Knights will use a 4-4 defense and their line is physical and will put pressure on the Palo Verde passing attack. Shadow Hills has excellent linebackers that specialize in stopping the run.
"In the secondary they are very versatile and give different looks," Dagnino said. "They are able to switch up coverages and confuse quarterbacks into making a mistake or hold the ball too long and get sacked."
Dagnino hopes the Jacket wide outs and quarterback will be on the same page and adjustments will probably need to be made throughout the game.
The JV Jackets will open tonight's action when they take on their Shadow Hills counterparts in a game at 4 p.m. with kickoff for the varsity contest set for 7 p.m.
"We need to pack the house and have the place rockin!" Dagnino said.