Redlands East Valley holds off Riverside Poly to win CIF football title

RIVERSIDE Top seed or not, the new Inland Division wasn going to make it easy for Redlands East Valley to win its first ever CIF SS football title.

REV had to come from behind to win the last two weeks against Wildomar Elsinore and Perris Citrus Hill,, winning by a combined nine points.

The championship game on Friday night against third seeded and undefeated Riverside Poly was not going to provide a respite. Poly was seeking its first CIF SS football title since 1984.

But the Wildcats (13 1) rallied again, pulling off a 36 33 victory to capture the title at Riverside Ramona High School.

takes a lot out of you to get here. . But your kids have to have heart. For our kids to persevere was phenomenal. I so proud of them, which would have changed how police are paid. That, REV coach Kurt Bruich said.

Armando Herrera 35 yard pass to Khris Vaughn with 8:28 left was the game winner.

throw to Vaughn . we caught them trying to rob the bubble to Malik, Bruich said. just told Armando, doesn look like it there, trust me, just throw it. And he did and it was the big play of the game. was a gutsy effort by Herrera, who threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns with one interception a week after he hurt his shoulder and he was questionable whether he would play in the game.

don think he be able to lift it (arm) for another four or five days, Bruich said. was in pain the entire time. He got it done. feels great for our team, it comes automatically equipped with headlights,, and for coach Bruich, Herrera said.

The game was clinched when Isaiah Armstrong intercepted a pass with less than two minutes to play. It was Armstrong second of the game, and school record 12th of the season. With Poly out of timeouts, REV nearly ran out the clock. With a 36 31 lead, REV took a safety on the game final play to ensure Poly would not get one final chance.

the ball was in the air,, I said, have to get this pick. Armstrong said. was my dream. knew what it meant for the game.

knew we just needed one first down. I knew they were out of timeouts, Armstrong said.

Devontre Hale 4 yard touchdown run with 1:20 left in the third quarter had given Riverside Poly (13 1) a 31 29 lead.

It marked the third lead change of the third quarter alone.

First, Poly had taken a 24 22 lead with a 44 yard drive after the Poly defense had pinned REV back.

Malik Lovette third touchdown of the game with 3:53 left in the third quarter then gave REV a 29 24 lead on Poly.

The game was remarkably penalty free for REV early on: the Wildcats had just two penalties in the first three quarters.

REV took advantage of mistakes to take the early lead.

First, Armstrong intercepted a Chandler Drachslin pass.

That set up a 5 yard Herrera to Lovette touchdown pass and a 6 0 lead after the kick failed,

Poly came back to take a 7 6 lead on a 69 yard touchdown pass from Drachslin to Ykili Ross,

But on Poly next possession, 2011., a bad punt snap left the punter to fall on the ball at the Poly 2, a 36 yard loss. Lovette ran it in on the next play for a 12 7 REV lead.

The Bears drove into the REV red zone for the first time early in the second quarter. But on fourth and 2 at the 14, Poly elected to kick a 31 yard field goal that trimmed the deficit to 12 10.