The Wolf Pack hit the road to play Redlands East Valley (13-1) at Citrus Valley High for a Saturday 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable throughout Southern California. For more on Redlands East Valley, CLICK HERE.
By Devin Ugland
Special to CalHiSports.com
Head coach: Dennis Manning (6th season, 60-19 overall)
Section: The Wolf Pack won the CIF Central Section Division II championship over Dinuba, 16-14. Ridgeview also defeated Dinuba in the 2012 Division III sec-tion title game under Manning.
League: Won South Yosemite League (5-0)
Cal-Hi Sports Top 25 overall state ranking: Not ranked
Cal-Hi sports bowl game ranking: No. 2 (Division II South)
CIF Bowl History: Ridgeview is playing in its first CIF Bowl game.
Best Win: Ridgeview lost to Dinuba, 45-14, in the CIF Central Section Division III championship a year ago. The two met again in the 2014 Division II title game with the Wolf Pack sliding by with a gritty 16-14 victory to reach its first CIF Bowl game. Ridgeview also posted a nice win over Liberty (Bakersfield) one week after Liberty had defeated eventual CIFSS West Valley Division champ Mission Viejo.
Key Players: Dual-Threat QB Lawrence Wright (6-0, 165, Jr.), RB Sheldon Croney (6-1, 210, Sr.), RB/WR Jamar Moya (5-10, 160, Soph.), WR Jaleyn Prevost (6-2, 170, Soph.), ILB Chase Mears (5-10, 215, Jr.), LB Jaccob Lopez (5-10, 215, Sr.), LB Byron Mendoza (5-10, 185, Sr.), LB Dayvon Johnson (5-8, 185, Sr.), DL Frank Zavaleta (5-11, 200, Sr.), DT Ricky Leung-Wei (6-1, 220, Soph.), CB Jaron Stewart (6-0, 155, Jr.), FS Christion Brown (5-9, 160, Jr.).
General Offense: Coach Dennis Manning said that Ridgeview runs a tradition pistol offense and one thing is evident: The Wolf Pack like to keep it on the ground as much as possible. Senior running back Sheldon Croney has 223 carries on the sea-son for 1,978 yards and 27 touchdowns. Quarterback Lawrence Wright is of the dual-threat variety, completing 53 of his 104 passing attempts for 1,013 yards, 12 TDs and only two interceptions. The junior has carried the ball 109 times for 805 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jamar Moya, Jaccob Lopez and Darius Smith are the other backs to keep an eye on for Ridgeview as they have combined for 13 touch-downs on the ground. Jaleyn Prevost is the team’s top receiver in terms of yards – 400 on 13 receptions with four TDs. Moya leads the team in receptions with 22 for 347 yards and four TDs.
General Defense: Ridgeview runs a base 50 on defense (4-3 with an over front) and will send pressure when necessary. The Wolf Pack will stay home in the sec-ondary as they lack the playmaking athletes in the defensive backfield. Frank Zavaleta leads the push for the Ridgeview defensive line, totaling 7.5 sacks on the season. Linebacker Byron Mendoza is the most likely to be sent on any blitz-package as he has matched Zavaleta’s sack total this year. Ricky Leung-Wei, a tal-ented sophomore defensive tackle, is right behind Zavaleta and Mendoza with seven sacks. The Ridgeview defense has 11 total interceptions this season, led by corner back Jaron Stewart. Inside linebacker Chase Mears is the Wolf Pack’s lead-ing tackler with 51 total on the year.
Key Injuries: Manning said that his team is as healthy as can be through 13 games.
The Skinny: Keeping the Redlands East Valley athletes in check will be how Ridgeview can keep this one close. Limiting turnovers and minimizing the ever-present big play ability of REV is also a must for the Wolf Pack to stay competitive.
Devin Ugland covers USC men’s basketball and football for TrojanSports.com. He has previously written for the Orange County Register, Long Beach Press-Telegram and Daily Pilot. You can reach him via email: email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @Devin_Ugland.