Prep Impressions: Week 10

I covered the Riverside La Sierra-Moreno Valley varsity football game on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, for The Press-Enterprise and HSGametime.com, and came away thinking it was the best finish I’ve seen this season.

Moreno Valley (8-2 overall, 4-1 River Valley) led 17-0 until the fourth quarter when La Sierra (2-8, 2-3) stormed back to score 16 unanswered points with two touchdowns and two two-point conversions.

“Two onside kicks — I’ve never been a part of something like that yet,” said Jeff Roney, the Eagles’ first-year head coach.

La Sierra twice had the chance to take the lead in the final minute but failed, including a heart-wrenching dropped pass on third down.

“He had the ball in his hands at the end. It’s tough,” Roney said.

The Eagles had the ball for the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter, suddenly dominating the Vikings after barely a squak in the first 36 minutes.

Had Moreno Valley’s players become over-confident?

“Maybe a little bit,” MoVal head coach Ted Wadkins said.

The Vikings blocked, nay crushed a field-goal attempt on fourth down to crush, nay demolish any hopes the Eagles had of making the playoffs.

Moreno Valley will be making its second consecutive postseason appearance and seventh in its last eight seasons.

“At MoVal you’re not going to build a powerhouse program but we think we’ve done a pretty good job the last eight years,” Wadkins said. “So I think in that respect we think we’ve done a good job getting to the playoffs.

“At a school like this, kids just don’t flock here so you’re going to have up-and-down years but we’ve actually been pretty satisfied with getting into the playoffs. Now we got to make a run to make it count,” Wadkins said.

Blocking a kick on its last defensive play of the regular season is a good place to start.

La Sierra coach Jeff Roney:
“We came out with a lot of effort and emotion in the first half and made some mistakes, some obvious mistakes. Cleaned it up in the second half and it’s something where the kids just played hard. MoVal’s a great team. Just couldn’t pull it out in the end. The kids wanted it. They wanted to go to the playoffs and a second-place team. They wanted to keep their season going. They’re a tight group and they love each other. Love the seniors and we’re one big family. It’s tough to see it end. I thought we grew a lot as a team, and I think the program’s going in the right direction — the way the kids play and all that. This isn’t what we wanted but the kids played hard, and that’s really all you can ask. Till Week 10 they gave it everything they had.”

Moreno Valley coach Ted Wadkins:
“We’ve got so many guys banged up. We had a bad week of practice because of it and it showed. It’s just the bottom line. We were hoping we could beat these guys a little easier and get in the playoffs but they played us extremely tough. My hat’s off to them. They did some stuff we hadn’t seen on tape. They did a good job against us. We got to be better next week. It was a good lesson for our kids. They know we need to practice harder. Once we get in the playoffs we’re going to be seeing better football teams, so hopefully we’ll get their attention that way. When you’re playing a team that’s 2-7 (La Sierra) and hasn’t looked good your kids get a little overconfident.”

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