Looking at the 59-42 final score, you wouldn’t have thought it was a defensive battle in Redlands East Valley’s 59-42 triumph over Ridgeview of Bakersfield in the CIF Southern California Division II bowl game played Saturday night at Citrus Valley High.
For more on Clayton Valley’s win over Oakdale in the CIF Northern California Division II bowl game, CLICK HERE.
At least for one quarter of play, however, it was as the Wildcats led by just 3-0 before a crazy couple of minutes in the second quarter saw the visiting Wolfpack leading 28-24 at halftime.
At that point, Ridgeview enjoyed its best minutes of the night. Ja’mar Moya rushed for a score, then QB Lawrence Wright hit Somaan Iqbal for a touchdown pass for back-to-back scores and a 21-17 lead before halftime.
Croney opened the second half scoring with a short touchdown run and the lead increased to 10 points to 34-24. Being down in the second half, however, hasn’t been a problem for the Wildcats since they came back three times in the second half during their run to the CIF Southern Section Inland Division title.
Malik Lovette (the Oregon commit) started the comeback with one-yard TD leap that had Twitter followers gushing. Joey Harman then put the Wildcats back in the lead for good with a 44-yard TD run with 2:15 still remaining in the third quarter.
The REV defense then came up with a big stop on fourth and goal from the one-yard line. That set up a back-breaker for the Ridgeview defense as it couldn’t contain Lovette on a screen pass, who hit the burners and scored on a 88-yard play.
On that fourth down play, the Wolfpack also lost White, their quarterback, with a potential concussion. Later in the night, he was taken from the sidelines in a stretcher and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
With the win, REV earned a spot opposite Clayton Valley of Concord (14-0) in the CIF Division II state bowl game next Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson. Clayton Valley is in the midst of a record-setting season rushing the ball (approaching 7,000 yards) and stopping the run has been a weakness of the REV defense.
Still, the way head coach Kurt Bruich’s team plays in the clutch and down the stretch, finding ways to win hasn’t been a problem.