The Maricopa Rams are working back from their first loss of the season. Photo by William Lange

The Maricopa High School Rams look to rebound from their first loss of the season as they visit the Seton Catholic High School Sentinels.

The Rams [6-1 (3-1)] will enter Friday’s game atop Arizona Interscholastic Association Division III Section I, but after losing to Arcadia high School on Friday, Maricopa needs to secure each section win down the stretch to have a chance to stay the section’s top team.

Seton [2-6 (1-3)] enters as the last place team in the section, but the Sentinels have confidence coming off their first section win of the season against McClintock High School last weekend.

“In all honesty it doesn’t matter who we’re playing this week; I want to see if our kids can rebound after what unfolded Friday,” MHS football head coach Chris McDonald said. “Regardless of what they’re record is, they’re a team who embarrassed us at homecoming last year, so hopefully we can repay the favor. That’s the message we want to send, but I mostly want to see how we respond.”

Maricopa High School football head coach Chris McDonald is watching how his team responds to last week's loss. Photo by William Lange
Maricopa High School football head coach Chris McDonald is watching how his team responds to last week’s loss. Photo by William Lange

The focus for Maricopa will be getting their offense back on track. The Rams torched their first five opponents while averaging 49.5 points per game and 479.8 yards per game. Over the last two games however, the Rams have averaged just over 14 points on 316 yards of total offense.

Maricopa will look to use their balanced attack to exploit holes in a relatively stout Seton Catholic defense. The Sentinels allow only 370 yards per game and rarely allow teams to score more than 30 points. However, they have shown vulnerability to big plays through the air and on the ground.

“Coach (Gary) Galante is from Brophy and he does a good job with defense,” McDonald said. “They’ll always be fundamentally sound. The most important thing for us is to find a rhythm offensively. I’m hoping we can come out and establish the run game and go from there.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Maricopa needs to stop senior quarterback Garrett Boyd. Seton Catholic relies heavily on their passing game for success, and Boyd currently ranks second in the section with 1,351 yards.

Boyd isn’t the most accurate passer the Rams have seen, but he does complete nearly 60 percent of his throws. He spreads the ball around as well. Senior wide receivers Brandon Garcia and Luke Zuluaga both have over 300 receiving yards, while junior wide receiver Jacob Terrill is on the verge of eclipsing 300 as well.

Johnny Johnson Jr. and the Rams had difficulty gaining yardage last week against Arcadia. Photo by William Lange
Johnny Johnson Jr. and the Rams had difficulty gaining yardage last week against Arcadia. Photo by William Lange

“They have a good quarterback,” McDonald said. “Garret Boyd is one of their better players. Their receiver, Luke Zaluaga is, I think, probably the best all-around player on their team.”

The game will take place Friday night at Seton Catholic High School in Chandler. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and the stadium is located on the southwest corner of the campus at 1150 N. Dobson Road in Chandler.