La Quinta high school football coach Dan Armstrong made a decision at the beginning of the week to give his struggling offense a chance to shine this week against Palm Desert. The decision worked to near perfection.
On Friday, November 12, Junior quarterback Taylor Pope, starting in place of Dylan Costello, rushed for 117 yards and scored a crucial fourth quarter touchdown, leading the La Quinta Blackhawks to a 28-13 win over the Palm Desert Aztecs.
The win secured a second place finish in the Desert Valley League for La Quinta, and possible home field advantage in the first round of the CIF playoffs.
Palm Desert was already assured of a playoff spot before the game, however with the loss, they dropped to third place in the Desert Valley League at 3-2, 6-4 overall for the regular season. They will most likely open the CIF playoffs on the road.
The La Quinta running attack was the key to their victory last night, as they gained 308 yards on the ground. Running back Desmond Dukes was a beast in the first half, accounting for both Blackhawk scores in the first half, enabling La Quinta to jump out to a 14-0 at halftime.
“We knew they couldn’t throw, so the key was to stop the run,” Palm Desert head coach Pat Blackburn said. “Their backs run hard. A lot of times we had guys there and they were carrying us.”
Palm Desert finally got their passing game clicking in the second half, cutting the score to 21-13 with time left in the fourth quarter. However, the La Quinta running attack once again showed their dominance, with Pope scoring on a 7-yard keeper to put the game out of reach, 28-13.
Both teams will find out their playoff opponents on Sunday, when official CIF playoff seedings are announced.
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