For the eighth time this season, Citrus Valley High’s dominance led to a running clock by the fourth quarter.
For the 38th time this season, Citrus Valley QB Dylan Wheatley threw a touchdown pass.
For the fourth time this season, Citrus Valley’s defense didn’t surrender a point.
There was a first in Citrus Valley’s game against Redlands East Valley, the game played on the Wildcats’ “home” field, Redlands High School.
Their 35-0 triumph last Friday night led their second-year coach, Kurt Bruich, on a post-game stroll into the west end zone to retrieve the black-and-red, gold-and-black Grove Cup trophy -- emblematic of the Blackhawks-Wildcats annual rivalry.
The goals were simple, said Bruich, who is REV’s former coach.
“To win and beat REV for the first time.”
It wasn’t a fair fight. The Wildcats (0-10) had at least 13 players missing from their roster, the apparent result of academic ineligibility.
While REV managed just 33 total yards and three first downs -- two by penalty -- Citrus Valley’s attack included 236 yards passing from Wheatley, 173 yards rushing from Jordan Garcia-Frye, including TD runs of 71 and eight yards.
Two QB sacks came by way of Citrus Valley’s placekicker-punter, Colby Grames, who also lines up as the Blackhawks’ tight end.
All that and Bruich sized up his team’s playoff chances like this: “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Despite 456 total yards, interceptions from Tyler Thomas and Jake Acuna, Grames’ pass-rushing bursts and an offensive line that kept depleted REV off Wheatley, a 9-1 Blackhawks’ team will enter post-season play this week as the fifth-ranked team in CIF Division 6.
Wheatley’s presence gives Citrus Valley a lively attack, especially with receivers like Ty’jhon Belton (3 catches, 45 yards), Jordan Scott (5 catches, 133 yards) and Sergio Cervantes (5 catches, 45 yards) -- all of whom caught TD passes against the Wildcats.
Scott came up with at least three acrobatic catches along the sidelines, perhaps the game’s most glittering highlight moments.
All of that and Bruich still had a chance to liven up the post-game ritual.
“It’s the Grove Cup, baby,” he said, noting its presence on the 45-yard-line. “Go over and take a look at it.”