Redlands East Valley holds off Miller in scuffle shortened game

Written by Bob on November 8th, 2009

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The Fontana A.B. Miller defense chases after Redlands East Valley’s Tyler Shreve during the REV Wildcats, 28-20, victory over the Rebels, Friday at the University of Redlands.
Photo By BOB OTTO / Writer & Photographer

REDLANDS, CA – There would be no celebrating, and there would be no repeat Citrus Belt League championship for the Fontana A.B. Miller Rebels football team.

The undefeated (9-0, 6-0 CBL) Redlands East Valley Wildcats saw to that. But the Wildcats breathed a huge sigh of relief when the game ended and they escaped with a 28-20 victory last Friday at the University of Redlands.

For the Rebels, the loss was especially agonizing and follows a 28-27 loss to he Redlands Terriers last Friday.

“Two weeks in a row we should have won games we didn’t,” said Rebels’ Head Coach, Jeff Strycula. “We are disappointed and we’re not very happy.”

The game was intense and physical throughout. And it ended with some bitterness on both sides. With 18 seconds left, the officials decided to end the game after tempers flared and a scuffle broke out.

Both coaches were upset about the way the game ended.

The Rebels trailed 21-6 at the half, but scored 14 fourth quarter points to pull within 28-20 on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Juan Flores to David Dash with 30 seconds left in the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Rebels attempted an onside kick, but the ball bounced down the field toward the Wildcats’ Tyler Shreve. The senior quarterback appeared to land on the ball after a mad scramble.

But it’s what happened after the play that had Strycula and the Rebels upset. When Shreve got to his feet, he allegedly threw a punch at a Rebel player. And that’s when tempers flared on both sides, resulting in a scuffle that was brought under control by the officials, coaches and game security.

After huddling together for several minutes and talking with the coaches, the officials decided end the game with 18 seconds left on the clock.

“I’m disappointed in Tyler Shreve for punching our kid to end the game,” Strycula said. “They have great kids, they do a great job, and have a great program. And when stuff like that happens it’s very disappointing.”

In the past two years, the games between the Rebels and Wildcats have been physical, hard fought, and close. Last season when the Rebels won the CBL championship (7-0 CBL, 11-1) they knocked off the second-place Wildcats, 18-15.

And in the 2007-2008 season, the Wildcats went undefeated (7-0) to claim the CBL title by holding off the second-place Rebels, 28-27.

So who would expect anything different in this game?

REV came into the game crushing and out scoring CBL opponents by a 38-point average. And after taking a 21-0 lead with 3:45 left in the first half, the Wildcats appeared on the verge of another dominating win.

But the Rebels (4-5, 4-2 CBL) scored with 12 seconds left when Juan Flores connected with Kenneth Bell on a 14-yard touchdown pass to pull within 21-6. And Miller had other scoring chances in the first half. Twice the Rebels marched inside the Wildcat’s 20-yard line, only to come up empty.

“We had this game,” said Flores, who passed for 162 yards and two touchdowns. “We should have won it. If we score, it’s a whole different ball game.”

In the second half, the Rebels defense stiffened, shutting out the Wildcats until the final 1:06 when Shreve hit Kevai Ellis on a 14-yard touchdown pass. Throughout much of the game, the Miller defense flushed Shreve out of the pocket and appeared to have him sacked. But time and again the scrambling quarterback escaped.

“It’s what he does,” said Bruich about Shreve, who passed for136 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for two more. “He’s like a (Ben) Rothlesburger (Pittsburgh Steelers). He takes huge sacks sometimes and other times he makes great plays.”

But Miller’s Ben Sanchez made Shreve pay for one of his scrambles. With 4:39 left in the game, Sanchez stripped the ball from Shreve and raced untouched 30-yards into the end zone to pull the Rebels within 21-12.

Miller added its final score when running back David Dash scored on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Flores with 31 seconds left in the game. Flores connected with Bell on the 2-point conversion to set up the onside kick and the resulting scuffle that ended the game.

“We recovered the ball, the refs gave it to us right away,” Bruich said. “I just wish we had shown more poise at the end.”

On Friday, Miller takes on Rialto Eisenhower (1-8, 1-5 CBL) at home in the final CBL game. Kick off is 7 p.m.

Citrus Belt League Standings

Redlands East Valley 6-0
Redlands 6-0
Fontana A.B. Miller 4-2
Yucaipa 3-3
Rialto Carter 3-3
Fontana 1-5
Rialto Eisenhower 1-5
Rialto 0-6

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