The Shadow Hills experience was all it was cracked up to be.
I hadn’t been to a Shadow Hills High School football game for a couple of years until tonight. The last time I was there, the press box was still under construction and the concession stand was a work in progress.
Now, it is quite simply the best venue in the desert.
The press box is the biggest, best and most professional in the Coachella Valley, and the food is also some of the best. Carne asada tacos with all the trimmings, even the hot dogs were a cut above, offering chili and cheese as options.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend going to a Shadow Hills football game to anyone in the desert, no matter their affiliation. The Desert Valley League teams should even consider playing the Knights more often, just to give their fans a nice treat.
Desert Christian Academy looked near perfect against rival Joshua Springs Thursday, in their 52-12 domination.
The win gave them their first share of the Victory League title since 2009, and with a win against arch-rival Desert Chapel next week, the Conquerors would clinch the title all to themselves.
They remain the top eight-man football team in the state, and since they’re in Div. I, that means they’re probably the best No. 1 team in the state too.
While junior quarterback Hunter Hurja led the team with four touchdown passes, their offense was well balanced with running back Nate Frahmann picking up 71 yards on the ground and scoring once.
They will be favored all the way through the playoffs.
The Desert Valley League cross country finals will be hosted by Indio High School this year on Halloween, but the race won’t be held at the school.
Indio will be hosting this cross country meet and all others for the foreseeable future off campus. This event will be held at the Polo Grounds just down the street because of construction to the school’s track that is likely to take … five years, according to Indio cross country head coach Becky Baker.
The Polo Grounds certainly seem like they would make a more-than-acceptable replacement, but five years is a long time to ensure that all home meets can be held there.
The course will be exactly three miles and is supposed to be fast.
The construction will also keep the school from hosting track meets for the next few years. No word on where they will host those meets.
A great night for Palm Desert running back Trae Riek Friday was overshadowed by a sideline-clearing brawl between the Palm Desert and San Bernardino high school football teams.
Riek took over carrying the ball after the first quarter when Ivan Saldana was benched following some ball-handling issues. And he certainly took advantage of his opportunity, scoring three touchdowns, two of the them on drives where nobody else even touched the ball.
But the game at San Beranardino, a school that Palm Desert has played regularly for years, was less so.
The last time the Aztecs were there, the scoreboard didn’t work — at all. The score was 70-0 (or something like that) Palm Desert, but not a soul in the stands had a clue. Not to mention that San Bernardino is a perennial doormat that Palm Desert regularly crushes. Top that off with the school being in a particularly rough part of the IE and you have to wonder what the attraction has been all these years. (Oh yeah, and the food there is also very mediocre.)
I’m pretty sure though, that we’ve seen the last Palm Desert-San Berdo game for a while/ever, following Friday’s brawl that was pretty clearly instigated by San Bernardino players.
Palm Desert AD Darol Salazar said as much following the game.
USC isn’t getting much love for only beating Syracuse 42-29 on Saturday. Once again, the Trojans failed to cover the 27-point spread and dropped in the coaches poll from second to third.
Despite the lack of confidence in USC over the last two weeks, I think the Trojans will cover their 10-point spread Saturday when they take on Stanford.
A much depleted Cardinal squad was barely able to beat San Jose State in week one, and didn’t do much for their reputation by beating Duke Saturday. A little history on the side of the Trojans: No team in the series, which dates back over 100 years, has beaten the other one four times in a row, and Stanford has won three years running.
Despite all the doubt, it’s going to be difficult for Stanford to stop Matt Barkley, who is leading the nation with 10 touchdown passes.
And without Andrew Luck, who graduated, at the helm, I think the Cardinal will have a hard time keeping the Trojans from getting more than 10 points ahead.
The Cathedral City High School football team continues to impress me.
The Lions beat Vista del Lago Friday for their first victory of the season. Granted, the Ravens aren’t exactly a powerhouse, not having won a home game in two years, but that says something about Cathedral City head coach Richard Lee’s scheduling.
Finally in charge of his own schedule, he has made non-league dates against teams that Cathedral City has a fighting chance against. The two previous coaches had the Lions scheduled against teams they couldn’t have beaten in 100 years.
Sophomore quarterback Davin Lile had another big game — connecting with his favorite target, James Rodriguez, eight times for 87 yards and a touchdown. Lile sedems to be wiser than his years, usually making smart decisions and often ovedrthrowing the ball when his receivers are double covered.
While I don’t think Cat City will be able to beat Palm Desert, Palm Springs or La Quinta this year, I do think that by the time Lile is a senior, the Lions will beat at least one of those teams at least once.
On the food front, Vista del Lago earns a solid B+. Along with all the usual fare, the home of the Ravens offered made-t0-order carne asada tacos and funnel cakes.
Although I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I will say the tacos were solid. Not just the tacos really, but the condiments are what took it over the top. Red and green salsa, onions, cilantro, and lemon and lime. And for a buck fifty each, it was a regular bargain.
I had five.
The Cathedral City High School football team may have lost 62-32 to Banning Friday, but it was,honestly, the best they’ve looked in years.
Against a team that is not a complete bottom feeder, (and Banning shut out Hemet a week ago), the Lions were able to move the ball through the air and sophomore quarterback Davin Lile proved that he could very well be the qb to do that for the next few years.
In his first game on varsity he threw two touchdowns and for more than 200 yards.
Head coach Richard Lee is the best thing to happen to the Lions on the sidelines in at least five years. His disciplined work ethic and logical play calling may win the team a few games this year despite their extreme youth.
Of course, in the interest of competition many are often waiting for one of the bottom three teams in the Desert Valley League to crack into the top three. And while — after watching Indio and Cat City both play this year — I feel comfortable in saying Cat City is the best of the underdogs. However they are probably still a year or two away from breaking into playoff contention.
Unfortunately for Banning High School (or maybe, more appropriately, me), the food there was merely average. The usual fare was all they had: You know, small store bought hot dogs, warm soda (which they ran out of), nachos and cheese pizza.
I had a chili dog, a soda and some candy. It was pretty lackluster.
La Quinta High’s football team didn’t look too bad Thursday. As usual, the Blackhawks are starting off the year with a record (0-2) that is probably not indicative of their capability. The team always plays non-league teams that are tougher than any other desert team’s schedule, so an 0-2 start with two close loses to respectable teams in Los Osos and Arlington isn’t as bad as it may seem.
The Blackhawks could have won the game Thursday if it weren’t for the game-breaking 99-yard fumble return by Arlington after the Blackhawks had driven the ball 79 yards. It was also a breakout game for senior tailback Isaiah Verazas, who was starting his first game at the position.
He scored two touchdowns and ran for 210 yards. I would look for him to have a possible Desert Valley League MVP type season. Barring something drastic, I’d say he’s got the La Quinta offensive MVP wrapped up already.
Also Arlington, which plays its home games at Ramona High School in Riverside, is my early candidate for most-improved concession stand. In the last couple of years, Arlington games have been limited to soda, super-small hot dogs and generic nachos. This year, the fare includes snow cones, chili dogs, red hots, jalapenos, and candy. I went with a red hot with mustard and jalapenos, a snow cone and a soda. A solid combo.
The Indio High School football team looked pretty outclassed Friday in their season opener against West Valley.
There isn’t much good to say about their performance. Quarterback Chris Garcia got pulled from the game at halftime because head coach George Thomas didn’t want to risk injury in such a lopsided game. (The Mustangs won 61-0.)
Clearly their defense wasn’t up to the task and they couldn’t find any running game to speak of.
The only bright spot was punter Jose Sandoval, who managed several strong punts with significant hang time. He even ran the ball for a few yards following a high snap that he had to recover. He took a beating on that play and later got nailed with a late hit, that he absorbed well and got the Rajahs a first down following a roughing the kicker penalty.
If Friday’s game is any indication, he’ll be getting a lot of reps at his position. Hopefully for the Rajahs, West Valley is really good, but it looks like it might be another long year for Coach Thomas and the Indio High squad.
I’ve spent the last few days bouncing around the desert getting information from high school football players for the personal profiles that we run on them during the course of the season in various publications.
You know, such vital info like “what’s your favorite food?” and “what kind of music do you like?” and “who’s your favorite NFL player?”
Organizing 30 or so high school kids and getting them to fill out forms isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Well, maybe it doesn’t sound that easy.
And, I think, you pick up a little bit of insight about the teams that you distribute them to in the process. So last week I stopped by Palm Desert High and this week I stopped by La Quinta and Xavier Prep.
Somewhat surprisingly, this year, the most organized and efficient group was Palm Desert, thanks in part to a roll call given just as I got there by head coach Pat Blackburn.
La Quinta was fine as well, but I must say, the group seemed a little small (in numbers) for as highly touted as they are.
Xavier Prep wasn’t as efficient as they have been in the past, and their numbers seemed to be as small as they have been in the past.
With all of this great inside information that I’ve gathered doing this, I’m going to go ahead and make the upset pick of the decade and go with … Palm Desert to win the DVL.
I’m sure you can take that to the bank.