Prep Preview: Inland Valley League

Riverside Poly's Jesse Ybarra (top) must fill a void for the Bears.

Riverside Poly senior G/T Jesse Ybarra (top of pile) must fill a void on both sides of the ball as the Bears begin defense of their Inland Valley League title.

PREP FOOTBALL 2015
INLAND VALLEY LEAGUE PREVIEW

(Records in parenthesis)

Trivia time: When’s the last time a league’s top two teams both had coaching changes in the offseason? Seriously. Do you know? Because we don’t. Will local prep football observers be keen to dismiss Riverside Poly’s 2014 season as an aberration? Maybe an a-Bear-ration? The Bears have enough talent to make the playoffs again, so pressure will be on their new coach.

Riverside Poly (13-1 overall, 5-0 IVL) had the kind of season that makes you wish you could say ‘I saw that coming,’ but you didn’t so don’t even lie. Dennis Brown is out and Opalani Viapulu Jr., the Bears’ line coach last season, steps to the fore in what looks to be the more of a rebuild rather than a reload.

MoVal Rancho Verde (10-3, 4-1) had become a talent gold mine under former coach Pete Duffy, meaning Jeff Steinberg walks into one of the more competitive jobs in the Inland area. Expect Steinberg to maintain and even push the Mustangs’ level of success. Big question will be which QB’s off-season progress will mean to a Week 0 start.

Riverside North (3-8, 3-2) lost its final three games of last season (Rancho Verde, Riverside Poly and Redlands East Valley) by a total of 113 points.

MoVal Canyon Springs (1-9, 1-4) is starting a nice collection of athletes. No standout as of yet but coach Pete Garza looks better equipped than he did at this point last season.

Riverside Arlington (1-9, 1-4) was overdue for a culture change in its football program and it finally came in the offseason. Some talented players stuck around, too.

MoVal Valley View (2-8, 1-4) facing off-season change as new coach Daniel Barlage returns to the Eagles, taking over for departed Dan Lyons. Barlage was 9-22 in three season from 2004-’06.

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
MoVal Rancho Verde
Riverside Poly
MoVal Canyon Springs
Riverside North
Riverside Arlington
MoVal Valley View

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
D/T Isikeli Akau, Sr., Rancho Verde
RB/DB Asante Coleman, Sr., Arlington
WR Dimitri Gallow, Sr., Valley View
WR/FS Daquan Johnson, Sr., Riverside North
QB Alex Lewis, Sr., Riverside Poly
OLB/DE Corey McKinney, Sr., Rancho Verde
QB Ricky Moreno, Sr., Riverside North
QB/WR Isaiah Morgan, Sr., Arlington
QB Alex Prado, Sr., Canyon Springs
RB/FB Afi Tualega, Jr., Riverside Poly
G/DT Jesse Ybarra, Sr., Riverside Poly

PROMINENT GAMES:
Aug. 28 — Rancho Verde at Perris Citrus Hill, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 — Rialto Carter at Riverside North, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 — Redlands East Valley at Rancho Verde, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 — Riverside Poly at Riverside King, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 — Riverside Poly at Ontario Colony, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 — Riverside Poly vs. Arlington at Riverside Ramona HS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 — Rancho Verde vs. Riverside Poly at Riverside CC, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6 — Canyon Springs at Valley View, 7 p.m.

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