All Pima football coach Pat Nugent wanted at the quarterback position was some stability.
He thought he got it when he added Tyler D’Amore and Jack Nykaza, both former walk-ons for Rich Rodriguez, into the mix under center.
Three games into the season, it hasn’t exactly gone according to plan.
D’Amore, an Ironwood Ridge product, and Nykaza have split reps pretty evenly so far, and their performance has been equally uneven.
“We struggled offensively,” said head coach Pat Nugent. “We’re missing open receivers and our passing game isn’t consistent right now. We’ve gotta clean that up.
“It’s not so much the pass rush hurting us now. It’s just a combination of not running the right routes or not being thrown to in the right spot, so we’ve gotta clean things up.”
Nykaza went 13 of 27 with 107 yards and an interception in Pima’s 41-20 loss to Mesa Community College on Saturday, adding a 20-yard rushing touchdown. On the season he’s completed 41.3 percent of his passes for 195 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions for the 1-2 Aztecs.
“It’s pretty tough,” Nykaza said. “We couldn’t figure out what defenses they were running easily against certain formations and we had a couple of drive killers where we’d keep rolling and we’d just put the ball on the ground, throw a pick, and it hurts because then we had to give it back to them.”
D’Amore, more of a running quarterback, went 4 of 10 with 27 yards and two interceptions against Mesa.
The week before, in the Aztecs’ first win of the season against Phoenix College, D’Amore took that scoring impetus into his own hands, getting two rushing touchdowns, one for 71 yards.
Clearly, D’Amore is the runner, Nykaza is more of the pure passer. It can be effective when it’s, well, effective. But, so far, it hasn’t been.
“We just gotta get better at picking our reads and putting more points up on the board,” said D’Amore, who’s completed 39.4 percent of his passes for 122 yards, zero touchdowns and five interceptions.
“When we got drives and didn’t finish by putting points on the board, that’s a big issue going down the stretch when we go against harder teams on our schedule.
“We’re gonna need to put some points up on the board.”
• The men’s soccer team was dominant against GateWay CC on Saturday, scoring four first-half goals in a 5-0 win to improve to 4-1. Salpointe Catholic product Arturo Vega scored two goals for the Aztecs.
• Women’s soccer also beat GateWay 5-0 on Saturday thanks to a hat trick from forward Larissa Adams (Sierra Vista Buena).
• Women’s volleyball went 1-1 in games against Phoenix College (3-2 win) and Glendale CC (3-1 loss).
• The cross country teams kicked off their seasons on Saturday in Flagstaff, and the women’s team finished fourth out of seven.
Nikki Regalado (Cienega) was notable in finishing in second place out of 54 runners in the five-kilometer race. She had a time of 18 minutes 27 seconds.