Season Preview: Desert Empire League

PREP FOOTBALL 2021
DESERT EMPIRE LEAGUE PREVIEW

(Spring 2021 records in parenthesis)

A new day rises in the desert. Palm Desert will find it hard to improve upon a defense that allowed just 36 points during the spring season, but senior DE Zachary Avina (10.5 sacks) return to terrorize area QBs. Palm Springs has some weapons and some holes to fill in Dan Murphy’s 10th season. Xavier Prep has a promising dual-threat QB and a supporting cast that can push the Saints to the playoffs. Rancho Mirage is a team with a lot of pieces but the puzzle still has no outline. Shadow Hills struggled in the spring and may not yet have any answers. La Quinta gave up 43 points per game in the spring and had a tough time time being competitive.

PALM DESERT (5-0, 5-0 Desert Empire) dominated the spring season so it could dominate the fall. The offense is stocked at the skill positions, and the Aztecs’ defensive front seven is devastating.

PALM SPRINGS (4-1, 4-1) will look a lot different, on the personnel side, but the Indians always have a great defense and currently list four players on their roster at 6-4, 250 or bigger!

XAVIER PREP (3-2, 3-2) has handed the keys to junior QB Ryder Ruiz and let him drive after he put up more than 1,000 combined yards and seven TDs in the spring season.

RANCHO MIRAGE (2-3, 2-3) will need a new QB and a new RB, but WR/CB Ian Ayala looks like the Rattlers’ best player and the LB group has potential to be a force.

INDIO SHADOW HILLS (1-4, 1-4) will rely on a beefy front line to move the pile but that may not be enough without some skill on the offensive side.

LA QUINTA (0-5, 0-5) had a rough time against everybody in the spring and will look to bounce back and pull a surprise or two.

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

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
DE Zachary Avina, Sr., Palm Desert
RB/WR/CB Ian Ayala, Sr., Rancho Mirage
WR/CB Brayden Hapner, Jr. Palm Springs
LB Zion Henderson, Sr., Rancho Mirage
RB Hanyi Joh, Sr., Palm Desert
RB/OLB Mykel Johnson, Sr., Xavier Prep
QB/WR Christian Kretz, Sr., Palm Springs
LB Kyle Ott, Sr., Palm Desert
WR/DB Ambrosio Pasillas, Sr., Shadow Hills
QB/SB Ryder Ruiz, Jr., Xavier Prep

PROMINENT GAMES:
Aug. 26. – Palm Springs at Grand Terrace
Sept. 3 – San Bernardino Aquinas at Xavier Prep
Sept. 10 – Norte Vista at Rancho Mirage
Sept. 17 – Palm Desert at Corona Santiago
Oct. 1 – Palm Springs at Palm Desert

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