Victor Valley aims to defend league title amid chaos

This offseason should have been a celebration for the Victor Valley High School football program, as the Jackrabbits completed a three-year ascent from Desert Sky League doormat to champion, winning the league and advancing to the CIF-SS Eastern Division quarterfinals under first-year coach Eric Perry.

But the Jackrabbits were turned upside down in June, when Perry’s contract was not renewed due to teaching credentialing issues. That caused him to take an assistant job at La Quinta and prompted Leland Eudy, who had spent 18 years as the head man at Victor Valley before serving as defensive coordinator a year ago, to return for his third stint of coaching the Jackrabbits.

“I quit coaching altogether in March but when this all went down in June, they wanted me to come back and I agreed,” Eudy said. “I’ve been coaching this group of kids since they were freshman, so that should help us move past this and build on what we’ve done these past few years.”

The Jackrabbits will lack the explosive passing game they’ve had in recent years, with all-league quarterback Zeke Julien and explosive receivers Isaiah Kepley and Traevon Beddard having graduated. Marcus Zamora (5-10, 170) is the only returning receiver.

“We are going to be a little more of a grind-it-out, ball-control team than we have been,” Eudy said. “We’ve been blessed with some great talent at the quarterback and wide receiver positions that we don’t have this year. We’ll still be pretty good, just different.”

Victor Valley does have talent returning on the offensive line, as seniors Vance Passquidicci (6-3, 225) and Justin Crouse (6-2, 175) return along with juniors Evon Robinson (6-0, 230) and Chris Gomez (5-8, 170). Junior Brandon Harvey (5-9, 175) will be the main threat at running back, while transfer Dante Hicks and sophomore Doug Walker will face off at quarterback.

The Jackrabbits will play a lot of their starters both ways, with Crouse and Robinson seeing time on the defensive line and Gomez, Harvey and Zamora getting time at linebacker. Senior Alberto Rivera (5-9, 180) leads the linebackers and will also play fullback offensively.

Victor Valley schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)

Sept. 2: RIVERSIDE PATRIOT
Sept. 9: at Rim of the World
Sept. 16: at Hesperia
Sept. 23: APPLE VALLEY
Sept. 30: at Sultana
Oct. 14: SILVERADO*
Oct. 21: at Oak Hills
Oct. 28: at Barstow*
Nov. 4: GRANITE HILLS*
Nov. 10: at Ridgecrest Burroughs*