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Indians travel to Righetti

Posted: September 16, 2009 9:37 p.m.
Updated: September 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
After a sluggish first half to open the season, Hart football looks like Hart football again — hard-hitting, explosive and most importantly, winning.

The Indians will need to play that way again today.

Hart (1-1) will play its first road game of the season against Righetti (1-1) of Santa Maria at 7:30 p.m. The Warriors made the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs last fall and return a lot of talent.

Righetti head coach Gary Wilson believes the strength of his team is its defense.

Hart head coach Mike Herrington isn’t about to disagree.

“They’ve always played really good defense,” Herrington said. “If he’s saying that’s their strength, then it must be one of the better defenses they’ve had. We have to execute.”

The strength of Righetti’s defense is its linebacking corps, where Cody Berry and Dylan Jones attack from the outside while Brandon Escobedo patrols the inside.

“We believe defense is the key to the game,” Wilson said. “You’ve just got to rally to the ball, make big plays, stay solid and play hard-nosed football.”

Righetti has weapons on the offensive side of the ball, too.

Senior quarterback T.J. Jordan is a co-captain who stepped up last year when first-string quarterback Justin Level got hurt in the opening game.

“We didn’t lose much with T.J. stepping in,” Wilson said. “He gained a lot of experience. We’re just excited about his leadership out there on the field.”

Wilson said tailback Michael Hale is a good downfield runner, and Matt Miller is a two-way player who excels at wide receiver and safety.

“They’ve got a balanced attack,” Herrington said. “Their quarterback runs well. They have some weapons on offense and they play aggressive on defense.”

Hart’s aggressive play has been a staple of its first two performances.

The Indians fell behind 26-0 in their season opener against El Camino Real, but battled back in the second half before falling 33-28.

Last week against Palmdale, a team ranked fifth in the current CIF-SS Western Division poll, Hart pulled out a 37-34 victory on a last-second field goal by C.J. Reyes.

Righetti, meanwhile, competes in the Pac-7 League and fell in week one to Pioneer Valley, which is currently No. 4 in the CIF-SS Northwest Division rankings.

The Warriors, however, rebounded to blow out Cabrillo of Lompoc 31-3 last week.

“We’re just testing ourselves, playing some teams that are real good,” Wilson said. “Hart has a real good football team. They’ve got a tradition of good football. It’s a way for us to look at ourselves and see what we need to improve on.”

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