(One Common Goal)
Four Mountain Pass League Teams Are Represented In The CIF Playoffs This Year.
The regular season is over and the Playoffs are upon us. In our matchup of the week Apple Valley (9-1 Record) will be traveling down to San Jacinto to take on the Mountain Pass League Champions. The San Jacinto Tigers come into this game fresh off a dominant performance against Tahquitz. In general, the Tigers have dominated the entire league this year. Their last loss of the season came in week 4 against Eastlake who was a worthy opponent.
San Jacinto had a tough time in that game, missing quite a few key players on the defensive side of the ball and also missing one of their key playmakers on offense, senior wide-receiver Antoine Sullivan. Ever since that game they have been steam-rolling every opponent. Currently San Jacinto is ranked number 91 in the state, while their opponent Apple Valley is currently ranked 136.
The key for San Jacinto will be to contain sophomore quarterback Jayden Max Denegal who threw for over 2,000 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only 6 interceptions on the year. Apple Valley’s senior running back Kenyard Edwards is also going to be a threat he rushed for over 1,000 yards this season and has 19 touchdowns. The San Jacinto defensive line is going to be key in this matchup. Can Sheldon Newton and Mahe Hamala create enough pressure in the back field while the linebackers stay in pass coverage? I expect San Jacinto’s Defensive Back, Kameron Rocha to be playing the number one receiver for Apple Valley (Tyron Smith) all game long, in order to force Apple Valley to use another weapon. This match-up promises to be electric as both teams possess the ability to put up a lot of points in very little time.
Hemet High (6-4) will travel to El Monte to take on Arroyo. Hemet High finished the season ranked 256 in state, but was the first team this season to take out the previous league champs, Citrus Hill. Their opponent Arroyo finished the season with a .500 record, ranked 541 in the state.
This should be an easy game for Hemet as long as they can isolate Arroyo’s senior running back, Adrian Calvillo. Defense has really been Hemet’s backbone all year by forcing teams into dog fights and proving that they are the bullies. That’s the kind of game they like to play, and if they can force Arroyo into that, they should walk out of the first round as victors.
Beaumont (who finished the season with a 9-1 record, sole loss coming from San Jacinto in week 6) is entering the playoffs ranked 171 in state. They are in the same division as Hemet but they are on opposite sides of the bracket. This creates an interesting story-line: if both teams are able to make it all the way to the finals (Beaumont barely squeaked by Hemet in week 7, with a score of 14-10) Beaumont’s opponent is Linfield Christian who finished the regular season with a 7-3 record and ranked 411 in the state. Beaumont has to isolate junior quarterback Michael Harkins, who threw for over 1,000 yards, 17 touchdowns, with only 7 interceptions. Beaumont also has to worry about about the Linfield Christian running back Crispin Wong who ran for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns this year. He had a season-long touchdown run of 98 yards. Hemet Native and former Hemet Saints Running Back Justin Manqueros is also a threat out of the back field for Linfield Christian: he ran for over 1,000 yards and chipped in 18 touchdowns this season.
Citrus Hill (finishing the season with a 7-3 record, with all 3 losses coming from league opponents, ranked 230 in state) will match up with Yorba Linda. Yorba Linda is ranked 61 in the state and finished the season with a 9-1 record. Yorba Linda’s offense relies on a “Run-By-Committee” approach, getting a lot of different players “touches” throughout the game. On paper this seems like an easy game for Yorba Linda. Citrus Hill needs to have the game of their life to take out this opponent which will be an amazing David and Goliath tale which would help save face for Citrus Hill which has had a very unusual season by their standards.
For pictures of the Apple Valley@San Jacinto game, please visit @authorkyleraeheadlee on Facebook and be on the lookout for updates online on how the games ended.
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