Redlands eager to win back the Smudge Pot

Redlands High School football coach Jim Walker, entering his 20th year at the school, has never been once to mince words. So his bluntness when asked about what his team needed to do to win its first Citrus Belt League title since 2006 was hardly surprising.

“REV is the champion and everyone in the league has to go through them,” Redlands coach Jim Walker said. “We know that to get where we want to be, we have to beat REV. We stress that all the time.”

Redlands hasn’t beaten its crosstown rival since that CBL championship season of 2006, losing a showdown of league undefeateds 37-7 last year. But with several key starters returning from last year’s team, the Terriers are confident in their ability to bring the Smudge Pot back to Redlands High School.

“We have the same goal every year, which is to win league, and we think we have the team capable of doing it,” Walker said. “We have a lot of key returning guys back and we are going to depend on their veteran leadership.”

As usual, that leadership comes from the lines. Redlands believes in smashmouth football up front and has the personnel to excecute that on both sides of the ball, with San Diego State verbal commit Jordan Smith (6-5, 255) and junior Kevin Gavigan (6-3, 245) anchoring the offensive line. Defensive tackle John Siliga (6-1, 285) and defensive end D.J. Brown (6-2, 232) return, as well as senior middle linebacker Paul Gonzales (5-11, 190).

Redlands also has the ability to have a dynamic passing attack. Senior quarterback Jojo Hernandez (5-11, 180) returns and will have an array of targets to use. Senior Kadyn Glass (5-11, 170) was the most dynamic receiver a year ago, with senior Dashawn Iverson (5-11, 175) adding speed. Junior Mike Stallone (5-11, 168) might have the most upside of the group.

The biggest hole for Redlands might be at running back, where Cameron Villalobos graduates after rushing for 14 touchdowns a year ago. Senior Eric Llamas (5-10, 155) and junior Jordan Howard (5-11, 185) are among the prime candidates to replace Villalobos.

Redlands 2010 schedule (Home game in CAPS, * indicates league game)

Sept. 3 – TEMECULA GREAT OAK
Sept. 10 – at Summit (Miller HS)
Sept. 17 – LOS OSOS
Sept. 24 – at Carlsbad La Costa Canyon
Oct. 1 – RANCHO CUCAMONGA
Oct. 15 – at Redlands East Valley* (U of Redlands)
Oct. 22 – at Yucaipa*
Oct. 29 – EISENHOWER*
Nov. 5 – MILLER*
Nov. 12 – at Fontana*