Season Preview: Desert Empire League

PREP FOOTBALL 2019
DESERT EMPIRE LEAGUE PREVIEW

(2018 records in parenthesis)

They’re going to the air this season in the DEL, with at least four of the six teams featuring QBs ready to sling it 30-to-40 times a game. Palm Desert and Xavier Prep, last season’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams, respectively, hand the controls of their offenses to a couple of young giants, while La Quinta and Palm Spring have experienced quarterbacks leading the way in a playoff fight. Shadow Hills can beat all the non-league opponents it wants, but until it can beat the league’s heavyweights those wins mean little. Rancho Mirage doesn’t have a clue at the moment.

PALM DESERT (11-1 overall, 5-0 Desert Empire) is shooting for its third consecutive 10-win season under Shane McComb, and could do it if this year’s senior class is up to the task. Massive 6-foot-5 QB Garrett Hayden finally gets his turn to take charge of the Aztecs offense, and has plenty of weapons in his arsenal.

XAVIER PREP (7-6, 3-2) starts over on offense with 6-foot-6 QB Brad McClure taking charge of an offense that will need production and leadership if the Saints are to return to the playoffs following an appearance in a CIF-Southern Section semifinals.

LA QUINTA (4-7, 3-2) and senior QB Christian Egson might have something to say about the league title this season, but others around Egson will have to step up, stay healthy and do their jobs consistently.

PALM SPRINGS (4-6, 2-3) will have a QB battle again this season as junior Isaiah Goad (6-1, 155) and sophomore Christian Kretz (6-foot, 160) will likely share snaps.

INDIO SHADOW HILLS (7-3, 2-3) jumped out of the gate in ’18 with solid non-league results only to crash out of playoff contention against league opponents.

RANCHO MIRAGE (3-7, 0-5) has a lot of workable pieces but hasn’t yet seemed to be able to put together the puzzle.

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
Palm Desert
Xavier Prep
La Quinta
Palm Springs
Shadow Hills
Rancho Mirage

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB Hunter Brooks, Sr., Shadow Hills
WR/DB Jevin Dorsey, Sr., Rancho Mirage
QB Christian Egson, Sr., La Quinta
RB Simon Gaete, Sr., Palm Desert
DB Justin Kersey-Casillas, Sr. La Quinta
QB Garrett Hayden, Sr., Palm Desert
DE/T Jack Howard, Sr., Xavier Prep
OLB Casey Libretti, Sr., Palm Springs
QB/TE Brad McClure, Sr., Xavier Prep
RB/MLB Justin Murray, Sr., Palm Springs
TE/DE Jake Shipley, Sr., Shadow Hills

PROMINENT GAMES:
Aug. 30-Palm Springs at Citrus Hill, 7pm
Sept. 20-Rancho Mirage at Eastvale Roosevelt, 7pm
Sept. 30-Palm Desert at Odessa (Tex.) Permian, 9pm
Oct. 25-Xavier Prep at Palm Desert, 7pm
Oct. 25-La Quinta at Palm Springs, 7pm

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