Just how important is Orlando Wallace to Cathedral City? We’ll find out Friday at Palm Desert.
The valley’s leading rusher will be suspended for this game after being ejected last Friday in a 46-0 win over Twentynine Palms. But unless Palm Desert has made some big changes on defense, it may not matter. The Aztecs have allowed more than 40 points per game in their first five, and they now face a Cathedral City team that has averaged more than 50 per game.
Not all of that is Wallace, either. The junior running back has racked up 702 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground in five games, but six other Cathedral City players have scored multiple touchdowns this season. That includes James Rodriguez, a senior wide receiver who has scored seven touchdowns and averages 21.6 yards each time he touches the ball on offense.
The Lions have not had to pass the ball much this season, yet head coach Richard Lee said recently that his team is able to throw with efficiency if defenses focus on stopping the run. Without Wallace, perhaps Friday might be an opportune time to prove that, against a Palm Desert defense that allowed four first half touchdowns last time it stepped onto the field.
Still, the Aztecs have a potent offense, led by do-it-all quarterback Kyle Kabeary and powerful running back Trae Riek. They’ll also be at home, with their backs against the wall. Palm Desert may need to finish in the top three of the Desert Valley League to snag a playoff spot. Beating Cathedral City would be a huge step toward accomplishing that.
This should be the most anticipated game in the valley since Palm Springs played at Palm Desert on Aug. 30. See you there.