Prep Preview: Desert Valley League

The Desert Valley League has one legit team and a bunch of also-rans.

Josh Reyes has big shoes to fill at Palm Springs (13-1 overall), the 2011 CIF-SS Central Division runner-up. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound senior replaces Dane Tiedeman, a historic dual-threat QB. Reyes showed a glimpse (8 for 13, 211 yards, two TDs) vs. Palm Desert late in the year but he needs to produce to make noise in the playoffs. Senior LBs Rodney Butler (100 tackles in ’11) and Christopher Hessler (8.5 sacks) will punish opposing running games.

La Quinta (6-5) also must replace key offensive parts, but is a relatively young team. Senior OL/DL Malik Blakenship (6-4, 250) will anchor the Blackhawks up front.

Palm Desert (5-5-1) were steamrolled by Rialto Carter in the 1st Round of the playoffs but QB Joseph Castelli (6-foot, 170) returns for his senior season. He must connect with senior WR Matt Roy (6-7, 200) for the Aztecs to be dangerous.

Indio and Cathedral City were both 2-8 in 2011, and Coachella Valley didn’t win a game but did host two massive concerts over one fortnight.

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. Palm Springs
2. La Quinta
3. Palm Desert
4. Indio
5. Cathedral City
6. Coachella Valley

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Palm Springs LB Rodney Butler (6-foot-2, 210 pounds)
Palm Desert QB Joseph Castelli (6-foot, 170)
Coachella Valley WB/CB Izak Ocon (5-7, 160)
Cathedral City T Refugio Ortega (6-4, 250)
Indio RB/CB Kyevion Ross (5-6, 165)
La Quinta SS/RB Kenyon Williams (5-10, 175)

GAMES TO CONSIDER:
Palm Springs at Palm Desert, Oct. 12
La Quinta at Palm Springs, Oct. 19

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