Prep Impressions: Week 0

I covered the Rancho Cucamonga-Redlands varsity football game for The Press-Enterprise and on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, and came away thinking I could’ve done without the rain.

You see, it wasn’t raining when I left Riverside. To the contrary, it was rather beautiful with clear skies overhead and only some dark clouds on the eastern horizon.

Well I was going east — about 20 miles — to Redlands, and specifically Dodge Stadium on the campus of venerable Redlands High.

It’s a wonderful place with not a lot of parking options so I parked at the nearby Jack-in-the-Box, lockup up tight, and hoofed it about 100 meters to the stadium.

It started to trickle before kickoff. That trickle very quickly became rain and it did that for all of the first half, halftime, and into the fourth quarter. In fact, it didn’t stop until after a lightning strike prompted the lights to cut off with 11 minutes remaining in the fourth.

There was a 30 minute delay, per CIF rule, and the raining had completely stopped by the time Rancho Cucamonga K Christian Casillas (Sr., 6-foot, 160) kicked a 43-yard field goal to give the Cougars a 24-7 lead.

Coach Nick Baiz has another fast defense, and it swarms to the ball. The Cougars will be tough to beat this year.

Jim Walker has a few good pieces but clearly wasn’t at the same level, physically, as Rancho Cucamonga. The Terriers, who scored their only touchdown on a hook-and-ladder play, have a lot of hard work ahead.

Redlands coach Jim Walker:
“It was a hook-and-ladder. We knew we had to make some things happen. They’re a good football team. We have so many new kids in the program that (there were) a lot of varsity starts, so we thought we had to make some things happen. We tried. Some of them worked. Some of them didn’t. I think we got some experience against a pretty good football team, and we played hard all night. We didn’t give in. We didn’t give up. They’re a pretty good football team. So we’ll watch the film and get a little bit better next week.”

Rancho Cucamonga coach Nick Baiz:
“Our defense couldn’t get off the field with all their trickery that they used early. We played an offense that’s not very typical to what we see so it was tough to practice for, but holding them to seven points — and the seven points came on a fake punt a trick play — I feel good about that. They had more offensive snaps than we wanted them to have but our defense settled settled down and got a lot of stops. I though (Gage Pucci) played well. He made some plays running the ball, he made a couple of nice throws downfield. I thought he did a good job of leading the offense.”

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