If there’s one thing that you’ve been able to count on Apple Valley High School for the last few years, its smashmouth football. With physical running attack behind a mammoth offensive line, the Sun Devils have looked to punch people in the mouth. And they were effective doing that last season, defeating Silverado 48-27 in the first round of the Eastern Division playoffs for the school’s first postseason win in over two decades.
But the bulk of that offensive line is gone, with its expected replacements expected to be much smaller that the guys who left. Apple Valley also loses its thumper at running back, Daryon Mosley, who ran for 1,628 yards and 21 touchdowns. So look for a much leaner Sun Devils team than what has been seen in the recent past.
“We aren’t very big,” Apple Valley coach Frank Pulice said. “We are thin in numbers and in size up front. Instead of trotting out 6-3, 250-pound guys like we have been doing, we are going to be throwing out 5-10, 205-pound guys. We can be effective with that type of player, but we’ll have to be a bit different.”
Pulice expects the Sun Devils to do a bit more pulling and trapping to take advantage of his new line’s mobility. It’s not all doom and gloom on the offensive line though, as Apple’s best player, Kyle Jerkins. will anchor the line. Jerkins (6-3, 255) brings size, experience and quickness to both lines and is receiving attention from Division I schools.
“He’s an outstanding athlete and an outstanding young man,” Pulice said. “He’s the type of guy you want to build around. We lost a lot of seniors from last year’s team and we are going to need people to step it up. I know Kyle is up for it.”
The Sun Devils might also spread things out on offense a bit to take advantage of the skill-position talent they do have. Ben Quiroz (5-10, 165), who played wide receiver last year, will play quarterback this time around with Jermaine Lowe (5-7, 180) getting time as the primary tailback. Lowe was the No. 3 option at RB last year behind Mosley and Greville Deandrade.
Apple Valley will have receivers to throw to in senior Cavion Flournoy (6-1, 160) and junior Kennedy Smith (5-7, 150). Smith will also be the Sun Devils’ starting free safety, with Lowe and junior Malcolm Moore (5-10, 150) manning the starting spots at corner.
Apple Valley 2010 schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 3 – at Barstow
Sept. 10 – at Palm Desert
Sept. 17 – GRANITE HILLS
Sept. 24 – VICTOR VALLEY
Oct. 2 – INDIO
Oct. 15 – SERRANO*
Oct. 22 – at Hesperia*
Oct. 29 – SILVERADO
Nov. 5 – SULTANA*
Nov. 12 – at Oak Hills*