The Coachella Valley Mighty Arabs football team is off to a hot start. They’re undefeated, the stands are packed at home and away games, and out of some 500 football teams in the state, they’re the 5th ranked offense.
So, what’s their secret? We headed down to Coachella to find out.
At 4-0, the Mighty Arabs are the only unbeaten team in the valley. But it was only a few years ago that Coachella Valley High School might win four games all season.
"This is a record breaking year, making history," says offensive tackle Nick Hernandez. "We’re changing the name of Coachella football."
When head coach Brett Davis took over as the Arabs’ lead man, he installed an offensive system called the "Run and Shoot."
Developed by a football innovator and legend, Mouse Davis, the Run and Shoot was created to offer smaller football players a chance to excel with quickness and elusiveness, basically the opposite of traditional smash mouth football.
While many coaches instruct players to initiate contact, players in the Run and Shoot are taught to "run competitively to space" and capitalize on the area vacated by a pursing defensive player. When working well, the offense is known to produce some of football’s most impressive stats. It’s been a staple in college football and the NFL and it’s a system Davis knew would work for the Arabs.
"I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting Mouse Davis multiple times, the Godfather of the Run and Shoot and listen to him for a few minutes and he’ll convince you," says Davis. "That and multiple guys that are believers and guys that run it around the country, (have been influential) we’re kind of a tight-knit group."
But while Run and Shoot disciples are a tight-knit group, it took Davis some years before everyone was ready to embrace his new offense.
"First year he was here, I remember they were doubting him," says Hernandez, a senior. "Saying he wouldn’t be able to change the name of Coachella football and from now to seeing him, all that he’s done… It’s really impressive."
"Being part of this offense for 3 years has helped me to trust it," says junior quarterback Armando Deniz. "And the more I trust it, the more we win and the stats go up for me."
Oh yeah, let’s talk about those stats.
Deniz is the 13th ranked passer in the state (out of more than 500) and has thrown for nearly 1300 yards and 12 touchdowns. But he’s yet to throw an interception.
And then there’s senior Romeo Martinez. Formerly an offensive lineman, Coach Davis gave him the ball and sent him running.
He’s currently the 7th ranked running back in the state, averaging more than 200 yards a game and at 210 pounds, has the size to keep the Arabs rolling.
And while Coach Davis credits his system for some of the team’s success, he also said this is the "hardest working group" of kids he’s every coached.
Strong praise. The Arabs play at Rubidoux in Riverside Friday.