Prep Preview: Silverado at Norte Vista

I’m covering the Victorville Silverado-Riverside Norte Vista CIF-Southern Section Eastern Division first round playoff football game on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 for The Press-Enterprise and HSGametime.com.

The best part of this assignment will be observing how Norte Vista’s coaches and players react to the forfeiture of their River Valley League title along with seven regular season victories.

SilveradoLOGOTHE LOW DOWN:
The Hawks (6-4 overall, 3-2 Desert Sky) back into the playoffs on the heels of losses in two of their last three games — including a 13-10 loss to Victor Valley in Week 10 — and losses against each playoff team they played this season. Offensively, junior QB Sam Taylor’s current totals (99 for 199, 1,500 yards, 15 TDs) are mathematically quirky, while their leading rusher — P.J. Hanchett — has just 529 yards while playing in just eight games.

The Braves (2-8 overall, 2-3 River Valley) were 9-1 overall and 5-0 in the River Valley League before Nov. 14, 2013, and now become the oddity of the Inland Area football scene after Thursday’s decision to strip them of seven victories and the league title. They remain in the playoffs, nevertheless, and are a dangerous offensive team with junior RB Andrew Martinez (1,379 yards, 23 touchdowns) racking up numbers as the team totals more than 296 rushing yards per game. Senior QB Michael Hedlund has had a better-than-expected season, completing 64 percent of his pass attempts for 1,115 yards and eight TDs.

nortevistaLOGOTHE KEY PLAYERS:
Silverado
— QB: Sam Walker (Sr., 6-2, 190); RBs: P.J. Hanchett (Jr., 5-9, 175); Quincel Neal-Riles (Jr., 5-8, 165); Mark Anthony Walker (Jr., 5-10, 160); WRs: Matt Holmes (Sr., 5-8, 155); Robert Evans (Jr., 6-4, 200); DE: Lamont Smith (Sr., 5-11, 190); ILB: Ammon Mauu (Jr., 6-3, 230).

Norte Vista — QB: Michael Hedlund (Sr., 6-foot, 210); RBs: Andrew Martinez (Jr., 5-10, 185); Deaundrae Castanon (Sr., 6-1, 210); WR: Victor Gonzalez (Sr., 6-2, 170); Joseph Jolley (Sr., 6-3, 190); MLB: Francisco Chairez (Jr., 5-7, 195); S: Jesus Gastelum (Sr., 6-1, 160).

THE DIFFERENCE:
Norte Vista will feel as though their backs are against the wall and come out swinging. Throwing a ton of haymakers can be tiring though so it’ll be interesting to see if the adrenaline spikes and the team crashes, or whether they play like league champions and finish the fight. I think the Braves are likely to take an early lead before holding off a late charge.
THE FINAL SCORE: Norte Vista 35, Silverado 32

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