It was not the start to the season the Hart football team was aiming for, losing to Carlsbad 42-14 on the road last week.
But the Indians buckled down at practice this week, refocused and are ready to turn the page to tonight’s home game against Muir, a team that won its opener 26-6 against Western.
“Obviously last week wasn’t how we planned to go in,” said defensive end Dylan Vradenburg. “I think we learned that things aren’t going to be given to us and I think going through this week at practice we realized we have to work harder, we have to come together as a team and I think we’re ready for tomorrow against Muir.”
Muir will present Hart’s defense with some problems as its skill players are versatile and quick, and its quarterback Amaris Harrison can sling the ball. Harrison threw for 259 yards in the first half against Western last week.
Running back Tyrikk Lawson also has the ability to break off a big run, as evidenced by two 30-plus yard scores he had in Muir’s season opener.
“They have a lot of athletes on their team, super fast, super agile. We just have to make sure on defense we keep them in check, wrap up and get our tackles done,” Vradenburg said. “Our plan is to get the three-and-outs and get Zach (Johnson) on the field. We really need to focus on trusting our guys and knowing that everyone is going to do their jobs and if we do that we should be fine.”
Johnson struggled against Carlsbad, going 19-for-36 for 206 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, but as a leader on the team, Vradenburg knows he will be ready for the challenge tonight.
“A couple of the leaders, we talked. We really need to step up as a group completely. The game last week was the whole team’s effort and how we played,” Vradenburg said. “Zach is the leader on the team, he is the person everybody looks up to and I know that he knows that, he’s working hard.”
Seven different receivers caught at least one pass last week, with Ashton Thomas leading the group with nine receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown. Running back Taden Littleford had 12 carries for 43 yards and a score.
The offense will have to come up even bigger tonight if the Indians want to secure their first win of the season.
“I think the biggest key is getting off on defense and getting the offense on the field to put up points for us,” Vradenburg said.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at College of the Canyons.