Prep Impressions: Week 8-A

Jurupa Valley Patriot faced a lot of 3rd-and-long situations vs. Riverside Ramona in Week 8.

Jurupa Valley Patriot faced a lot of 3rd-and-long situations vs. Riverside Ramona in Week 8.

I covered the Jurupa Valley Patriot-Riverside Ramona varsity football game on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, for The Press-Enterprise, & @PEcom_preps, and came away thinking ‘The Rams have a darn good defense.’

I’m not really surprised, of course. Rams second year head coach Vinny Fazio was a total LB/CB/S in his playing days. And his dad, Skip Fazio, is one of the greatest defensive coaches in the history of the Inland Area.

They’ve team up at Ramona. Son as head coach, father as defensive coordinator, and it’s already a success. The Rams (6-2 overall, 3-0 River Valley League) will have a winning record this season for the first time this century.

Ramona dominated the line of scrimmage against Patriot, sacking Warriors QB John Holder four times among the defense’s 12 TFLs. Senior Kevin Johnson had two of those sacks, totally overwhelming his opponents on every play late in the fourth quarter.

Patriot’s young offensive line has been slow to grow and were gassed by the end. It was a tough night. Senior RB Miguel Alvarez was held to 58 yards on 17 carries. Holder was 18 of 33 for just 150 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted twice late in the game.

It should be relatively safe to say “This is one of the best Ramona defenses in quite some time,” without much argument. After all, it was the first time the Rams have defeated Patriot in seven tries.

Jurupa Valley Patriot head coach Chris Fowler:

“In the first half our two bad punts gave them short fields in the first half which kind of gave them the first two scores. I told the guys at halftime, ‘We came out. You played really hard and those two short fields gave them touchdowns.’ It’s kind of hard to come back from that. In the second half, we made some adjustments, we threw the ball better but we can’t take penalties. Those penalties just killed our drives. (Kevin Johnson) is a really good player. We knew he was good and he plays both ways but it looks like they were putting (Joey Parra) in there a little more, maybe to try and get (Johnson) some rest because he was getting tired late in games. We were hoping he would do that today (laughs), but they had a good game plan. (Johnson) was slanting in and taking away our pullers. (Alvarez) in the second half got more yardage, we made that adjustment but by then they had two quick scores so it made us have to throw the ball and go away from the running game.”

Riverside Ramona head coach Vinny Fazio:
“All week, our kids kind of knew, well (Patriot) is 2-5 but that’s better than a 2-5 team. And they’ve played better since they got Cortez Samuel back. They’re better than a 2-5 team. We knew that, and we knew it was going to be a fight and it was. It was everything we thought. We told the kids all week that it was going to be a four-quarter game. It’s going to be a fight the whole way. We were going to have to take it over with our physicality at the end. I think though we made enough physical plays to wear them down a little bit, defensively in the third quarter, and our defense played great. That’s four weeks in a row that our defense has played really, really well and we’re able to be a little offensively conservative because it’s ‘Hey, let’s not turn it over,’ or ‘Let’s get our defense long fields.’ As long as they have long fields to defend we knew they were going to have to run clock if they were going to score. Try to give our defense long fields, we kick the ball well, we’ve been pretty solid in special teams (and) ride our defense a little it so our offense doesn’t have pressure. We had great field position all game and when we had good field position good things happened for us. It really played out the way we thought it would. They don’t punt the ball well. They’ve had trouble punting it all year, and we punt it really well so we thought ‘Anytime that they punt and we punt it’s a win for us because we’re going to gain 20 or 30 yards every time.’ And that played out like we thought it would.”

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