Division IV Preview: Blue Ridge looking to return to prominence

Arizona Sports News online

The Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets are back in the state title game but for coach Paul Moro, this group getting to the big stage must seem a little bit different.

Blue Ridge faced as much adversity as we have seen from them in quite some time. They got off to a rocky start in 2013 falling to Prescott as well as their rival, the Show Low Cougars. But since that loss, they have blow away the competition having not allowed more than seven points in a game since.

Blue Ridge’s two-headed monster at running back with 1,000 yard rusher Chris Johnson and the talented Nolan Cook provide a difficult task for any defense. Cook is also among the team leaders in tackles on the defensive side of the ball.

On the other side of the ball, River Valley has had a special 2013 season. Going 12-1 and a fantastic run through the state tournament which included wins over Snowflake and the defending champion Seton Catholic. Both were teams that many had as contenders for the DIV crown.

But in the end it is the Dust Devils who arrive for the big game and just like Blue Ridge, man can they run the football. With junior running back Brandon Long, River Valley is tough to defend. Long rushed the ball over 300 times in 2013 totaling 2,204 yards and an unbelievable 32 touchdowns. Sophomore running back Andreas Galvez and senior quarterback Derek Advocate are threats to run as well.

Defense it big for the Dust Devils as well. They have only allowed 103 points total for the season and are lead by sophomore outside linebacker Jacob Lee who led the team with 119 tackles on the year.

If you like old school, power football with great defense, this is your game. It kicks off at North Canyon high school on Saturday at 6:30pm.