Season Preview: Sunbelt League

PREP FOOTBALL 2021
SUNBELT LEAGUE PREVIEW

(Spring 2021 records in parenthesis)

We are finally starting to see the machinations of the Raincross Conference with the Sunbelt League’s roster of teams this season. Perris Orange Vista opted out of league play in the spring and may be the wiser for it – teams have to find their own film of QB Elijah Robinson. Riverside North always has athletes and has a hometown coach that knows the landscape. Menifee Paloma Valley has gone from perennial playoff contender to middle of the pack with no signs of slowing. Hemet have a long climb out of the valley. Speaking of valleys, MoVal Valley View has a new coach after Dan Barlage stepped away after the spring season.

RIVERSIDE NORTH (3-2 overall, 2-0 Sunbelt) is an interesting case because of its history, and especially after reaching a CIF section semifinal in 2019. Now, new coach Opalani Viapulu’s gets his first full season after taking over in 2020, so know that it won’t take long before the Huskies’ big dogs are in line.

MENIFEE PALOMA VALLEY (1-2, 1-1) struggled in the spring but has a solid squad that may be primed for a breakout fall season. We like what the Wildcats have going on offense with a young cast led by sophomore QB Brady Nelson.

HEMET (1-4, 1-3) won the first game of its spring season – against Valley View – but followed with four consecutive losses. The Bulldogs are rebuilding under coach Dennis Gregovich but could pull a surprise or two this season.

MoVAL VALLEY VIEW (1-4, 1-3) could be explosive on offense with sophomore RB Dylan Riley, but new coach Pete Smolin will have to set the right tone very quickly and put Riley in positions to be successful.

PERRIS ORANGE VISTA (3-1, 0-0) has a plan, and it didn’t include playing league games until the fall. We’ll see what the Coaching Zomalts have up their sleeve.

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
Perris Orange Vista
Riverside North
Menifee Paloma Valley
MoVal Valley View
Hemet

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
RB/WR Michael Carney, Sr. Orange Vista
RB/SS Tanner Fye, Soph., Hemet
WR Ashar Granger, Sr., Riverside North
DE Corey Johnson, Soph., Orange Vista
RB Tristan Keplinger, Jr., Paloma Valley
WR/CB Joaquin Lopez, Sr., Hemet
RB Venasio Mikaele, Jr., Riverside North
QB Brady Nelson, Soph., Paloma Valley
RB Dylan Riley, Soph., Valley View
QB Elijah Robinson, Sr., Orange Vista
QB Kenneth Wright, Jr., Valley View

PROMINENT GAMES:
Aug. 20 – Valley View at Temecula Valley
Sept. 3 – Notre Dame at Riverside North
Sept. 17 – Orange Vista at Citrus Valley
Oct. 1 – Riverside North at Orange Vista
Oct. 8 – Elsinore at Hemet

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