Prep Preview: Mojave River League

Apple Valley's Greg Sprague is the MRL's top returning running back. / PHOTO by David Pardo for Victorville Daily Press

Apple Valley’s Greg Sprague is the MRL’s top returning running back. / Photo by David Pardo for Victorville Daily Press

PREP FOOTBALL 2015
MOJAVE RIVER LEAGUE PREVIEW

(Records for last season)

There is talent in spots throughout the High Desert’s best prep football league, but each one of these programs is enduring some phase of a rebuild. Can Oak Hills repeat as champions? Is Serrano’s defensive scheme the best in the Inland Area? Will there be a four-team tie for third place?

Hesperia Oak Hills (10-3 overall, 5-0 Mojave River League) took a big step forward last season with its first victory over Serrano in five tries and its first MRL title. Now they must replace Nolan Brammer, far-and-away the program’s best QB to date.

Phelan Serrano (12-2, 4-1) lost both its games — vs. Oak Hills in Week 5 and vs. Palm Springs in the CIF-Southern Section Eastern Division title game — by identical 24-21 score lines. Think about that for a moment.

Hesperia (6-6, 3-2) made the playoffs and even won a 1st Round game — vs. Riverside La Sierra — but struggled mightily against the top of the MRL. Dual-threat QB Eddie Gleason returns for his senior season but questions remain at RB and WR.

Apple Valley (3-8, 1-4) qualified for the playoffs via tiebreaker, and put up an unexpected fight in the first round vs. La Quinta. Senior RB Powerful RB Greg Sprague (5-foot-6, 170 pounds) is coming off a 13-TD, nearly 1,300-yard season.

Hesperia Sultana (2-8, 1-4) allowed more than 40 points per game last season. Ugh. Junior QB Ryan Griffin will likely step into a starting role, relying heavily on shifty RB Christian Mexia to help carry the offense.

Ridgecrest Burroughs (3-7, 1-4) had its biggest victory in Week 8 — a 31-24 win at home over Apple Valley — but couldn’t touch either of the MRL’s top two. Junior QB Austin McCullough should assume the starting duties this season.

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
Phelan Serrano
Hesperia Oak Hills
Apple Valley
Hesperia
Ridgecrest Burroughs
Hesperia Sultana

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
OLB/DE Kevin Burgess, Sr., Burroughs
WR/QB Tanner Cornell, Sr., Serrano
QB Eddie Gleason, Sr., Hesperia
CB/RB Joseph Griffin, Jr., Oak Hills
WR/CB Jeremiah Lorick, Sr., Oak Hills
RB Christian Mexia, Sr., Sultana
RB Greg Sprague, Sr., Apple Valley
WR/SS Andrew Valencia, Sr., Serrano

PROMINENT GAMES:
Sept. 25 — Apple Valley at Fontana Kaiser, 7p.m.
Sept. 25 — Oaks Hills at San Bernardino San Gorgonio, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 — Serrano at Norco, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 — Serrano at Oak Hills, 7 p.m.

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