“This is when you find out how mentally and physically tough you can be. Most of their coaches have been coaching there longer than most of my guys have been alive. That’s good. It’s a good test. You don’t see a whole lot of weaknesses in what they do. They pretty much have seen everything you can throw at them. — Arroyo coach Jim Singiser on facing Hart Friday.
By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Arroyo High School, equipped with the memory of last year’s 44-3 loss to Hart, is excited for another crack at the big time. The Knights travel to Santa Clarita on Friday to take on Hart at College of the Canyons in a step-up game that would be a major stunner should Arroyo pull off the upset.
“We have a puncher’s chance,” Arroyo coach Jim Singiser said. “We can throw the ball. We have a shot. It’s not going to be a matter of us shutting them down, I can tell you that right now. They probably have three or four receivers who are faster than our fastest kid and they’re huge up front. We need to have them get some penalties and turn the ball over. We need a couple stops and then we need to play perfect on offense. That’s the way we’re looking at it.”
A big reason why Arroyo wasn’t close in last year’s game was standout quarterback Steven Rivera missed the game because of injury. Rivera is healthy this time and gives the Knights at least a glimmer of hope.
Arroyo improved to 3-0 last week after Rivera scored the go-ahead touchdown late in a game against Montebello, then came up with a big play on defense to preserve the victory. The senior already has 1,012 yards passing and 11 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for three scores, is second on the team in tackles and has an interception.
Hart has fallen slightly from its perch as one of the Southland’s powerhouses, but the Indians certainly are no slouches. Hart is 2-1, with the loss coming to PAC-5 power Tesoro. The Indians have victories over Burbank Burroughs and Palmdale.
One thing Singiser did learn in last year’s loss is which players on his team get tough when the going gets rough. He’ll be looking for the same thing Friday.
“This is when you find out how mentally and physically tough you can be,” he said. “Most of their coaches have been coaching there longer than most of my guys have been alive. That’s good. It’s a good test. You don’t see a whole lot of weaknesses in what they do. They pretty much have seen everything you can throw at them.
“The most important thing we got out of last year was seeing who wants to still play football when you’re down 28-0 in the second quarter. It’s helpful to find out who are those guys who want to keep playing. We go into playoffs and into league with the assumption that we shouldn’t be down 28-0.”