Season Preview: Ivy League

PREP FOOTBALL 2018
IVY LEAGUE PREVIEW

(2017 Records in parenthesis)

The most fondly historic of all the Inland Area’s bygone leagues, the Ivy League makes its triumphant return in 2018 with four teams as part of the new three-league Raincross Conference. So what we have here is the best four teams from that space from Moreno Valley to Menifee along the I-215. A fearsome foursome as it were, each of these teams has had significant playoff success in recent years, with Heritage, Rancho Verde and Valley View all owners of various CIF-Southern Section Division championships over the last four years while Paloma Valley has come up just short. Heritage graduated a great senior class so will rely on last season’s junior captain for leadership and big plays on both sides of the ball. Paloma Valley is in rebuild mode after reaching the semifinals, and has little coming back but its third-year head coach. Rancho Verde’s wicked three-headed running game proved to be the backbone of the CIF-SS Division 3 title winners last season, and is going to be even scarier this season. Valley View might be two seasons too late in joining this group.

HERITAGE (11-2, 5-0 Sunbelt) had another very good season in 2017, only losing the games it was supposed to while staying one game ahead of its cross-town rival. Senior MLB Ika Tuatala is a high-motor tackle machine (85 last season) who doubles as the Patriots fullback and is the team’s leading returning rusher with more than 400 yards as a junior.

PALOMA VALLEY (10-3, 4-1 Sunbelt) has averaged 9.5 wins over Tom Tello’s first two seasons as coach but won’t likely come anywhere close to that number this season as the Wildcats graduated the best statistical quarterback in program history and has to replace 10 of 11 spots on offense and 7 or 8 spots on defense.

RANCHO VERDE (12-3, 5-0 Inland Valley) has the look of a team that’s going to dominate the scoreboard this season. Serious firepower returns on offense with junior QB Brock White (3,300 yards, 40 TDs), senior RB Xavier Ugorji (1,500-plus yards, 17 TDs) and an almost overwhelming cast of supporting weapons. The Mustangs are ready to run.

VALLEY VIEW (9-4, 4-1 Inland Valley) is going to look to senior QB Jacob Barlage (who has leaned on the Eagles’ running game each of the last two seasons) to provide toughness when things go bad this season. How will the Head Coach/Dad-QB/Son dynamic handle what will almost certainly be a down season?

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
Rancho Verde
Heritage
Paloma Valley
Valley View

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB Jacob Barlage, Sr., Valley View
WR Mason Carvalho, Sr., Paloma Valley
DT/TE Kervin Jones, Sr., Heritage
MLB/FB Jacob Torres, Sr., Paloma Valley
MLB/FB Ika Tuatala, Sr., Heritage
RB Xavier Ugorji, Sr., Rancho Verde
QB Brock White, Soph., Rancho Verde
G Cody Wilks, Sr., Valley View

PROMINENT GAMES:
Aug. 31 – Paloma Valley at Riverside King
Sept. 14 – Valley at Corona Centennial
Sept. 21 – Heritage at San Bernardino Cajon
Oct. 12 – Paloma Valley at Heritage
Oct. 12 – Rancho Verde at Valley View
Oct. 26 – Rancho Verde at Heritage

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