Prep Impressions: Week 5

I covered the Riverside Ramona-Riverside King varsity football game on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, for The Press-Enterprise and and came away thinking the Wolves are either about to take the next step or suffer total disappointment.

Now you tell me which is more likely.

King (5-0 overall) played great in the first quarter, pushing Ramona back to its own 2-yard line before the Rams punted. The played less great in the second and pretty bad in the third quarter before picking it up a little in the fourth vs. Ramona’s weary defense.

Granted, it is Ramona. The Rams (2-3) are a River Valley League team playing an CIF-Southern Section’s Eastern Division. That’s the third tier of Inland Area football.

On the other sideline, the Wolves are now the only unbeaten Big VIII League team playing in the CIF-SS Inland Division. They’re on the fringe of garnering some major attention should they beat Corona in Week 6, but face a gauntlet from Weeks 7-10 with Corona Centennial, Norco, Corona Santiago and Eastvale Roosevelt on the schedule.

It could be the kind of season King faithful have been waiting for, or it could be a 1-4 or (gasp) 0-5 Big VIII League season, a 5-5 overall record and crickets chirping at RUSD Stadium in Week 11.

Ramona coach Damon Dustin:
“We came in thinking we had some passing available and they just got pressure on us early — Damon was out of sync — kind of took us out of the game plan early and then he never found rhythm all night long. They got a big roster there but they got pressure. We couldn’t figure it out and we couldn’t flat out execute. We came out really flat. I think it’s good. We played a team that’s big and strong like King — it doesn’t get much bigger than that. It’s a good run-based team. We’ve got to get more physical so it challenges our physicality. It’s probably what we need because we’re going to see run from this point on. I tried to reiterate to the seniors that this was an in-district rivalry. Poly’s our rivalry so it doesn’t mean as much to them and we’re not going to play them next year so I said ‘You’re never going to play these guys again.’ We were looking for any momentum on offense. Our defense kept us in the game — we put our defense in some really bad spots — and we weren’t able to run the ball and got controlled up front. We were in and out really quick and just couldn’t get the ball rolling. We had a couple of injuries that affected us, and not have our left guard, Jalen Leonard, hurt us. His shoulder… he played the first quarter but on the first counter he really dinged it up again. We tried to have a short, quick passing game and it just didn’t work.”

King coach Kevin Corridan:
“They’re a great team. They do a great job over there. It’s just one of those deals where we’ve got some guys dinged up and we had to put some guys in. They guys that we brought in all stepped up and moved the ball well early on. We scheduled (Ramona) when we were 0-10 and we needed to play those guys, and yes we’ve improved over the last two years. These guys are off our schedule now and we’re moving up but early on, last year, we needed this type of competition. This was a tough game for us last year but the bottom line is the teams we played in preseason don’t compare to our Big VIII League opponents. They’re a good group of kids and they’re doing some good things. Our goal tonight was to play for the ‘K’ on our hat and not worry about our opponent, not to take anything away from them, but that was what we felt we had to do and had been our whole preseason mentality. There’s a lot of guys trying to make the play rather than just making a play. That affected us. In league, those are balls shook loose for fumbles when you misdirect and do those kinds of things — it’s not healthy football. It’s gonna hurt us. Tonight, it was unfortunately for guys to see the tracks and not run the tracks. We’ll go back to work at it. Get better, watch film and find a way to improve. Our biggest thing is to stay humble. These games don’t really have a whole lot of significance. What’s in front of us is where we have to take care of business.”

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