Prep Preview: North vs. Poly

I’m covering the Riverside North-Riverside Poly varsity football game tonight, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, for The Press-Enterprise, pe.com & @PEcom_preps.

The best part of this assignment is it will be my first look at Riverside Poly under first-year head coach Opalani Viapulu.

NorthLOGOTHE LOW DOWN:
The Huskies (2-7 overall, 2-2 Inland Valley) lost five consecutive to start the season, then beat MoVal Canyon Springs and Riverside Arlington in Weeks 6 and 7, but now haven’t won since. A victory tonight secures a playoff spot, but head coach John Rice’s team can still get in if/when Arlington loses to MoVal Rancho Verde, which is crazy considering they’ve scored the second fewest points (170) and allowed the second most (334) of any IVL team. A non-existent running game (just 888 rushing yards through nine games) has provided little protection for junior QB Abraham Galvez, who has 12 TDs and 12 INTs in his first season.

PolyLOGOThe Bears (4-5 overall, 3-1 Inland Valley) have already qualified for the postseason play but a win tonight would secure the second spot and a potential home playoff game. Senior QB Alex Lewis and the offense got back on track in a 56-6 win over MoVal Canyon Springs last week. Lewis has emerged from a mid-season downward spiral to complete 57 percent of his attempts for 23 TDs and more than 2,000 yards. The 1-2 punch of senior RB Matthew Hubert and junior Afi Tualega has been effective in the running game, and senior WR Dixon Stith has been a pleasant surprise and one the IVL’s top receivers.

THE KEY PLAYERS:
North
— QB Abraham Galvez (Jr., 6-foot-3, 180 pounds); RB/CB Tremaine Brown (Sr., 5-10, 157); RB Josh Ngalima (Jr., 5-9, 170); WR Joseph Seabrook (Jr., 6-foot, 170); WR Elijah McCullough (Jr., 6-foot, 170); WR/FS DaQuan Johnson (Sr., 6-3, 190); OLB Fernando Cobian (Sr., 6-foot, 235); K Bryan Cardenas (Sr., 5-9, 175).

Poly — QB Alex Lewis (Sr., 6-foot-2, 185 pounds); RB Matthew Hubert (Sr., 5-8, 185); RB Afi Tualega (Jr., 5-foot-10, 175); WR Dixon Stith (Sr., 6-2, 188); WR Isaac Wilson (Jr., 5-11, 170); DE Jonis Allen (Jr., 6-foot, 215); OLB/MLB Angel Samuelu (Sr., 5-11, 205); Fa’asolo Viapulu (Soph., 6-2, 260).

THE DIFFERENCE:
Poly’s offensive balance. If the Bears can exploit mismatches early running the ball then the play-action should be available over the top for big gains.

THE FINAL SCORE:
Poly 31, North 21

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