The Banning High School Broncos varsity football team has worked hard to turn their season around this year.
They defeated Indio 51-0 last week at Indio.
After a 0-3 start to their season, the Broncos have positioned themselves to be co-champions in the Desert Valley League.
There are two things need to happen for them to clinch that spot, though.
The first thing that needs to happen is the Broncos must win tonight’s home game against Coachella Valley High School’s Mighty Arabs football team.
Both teams are tied for second place with 5-1 records in league play.
They lost 78-50 to Coachella last year in a knock-down-drag-out brawl on the gridiron where both teams had a combined 1,000 yards of offensive plays.
Coachella went on to become league champs.
Banning’s head coach, Qua’sand Lewis, affectionately known by players and staff as “Coach Q,” knows this game is going to a tough one.
“They are going to be really tough to stop,” says Lewis of the Mighty Arabs offense. “They are known to have a strong offense.”
However strong the Coachella Valley offense is, the Banning defense are able to hold the line against any rival they face.
The Broncos have held their last four opponents to only 19 points with two of those teams not even being allowed to score.
That comes from dedication to practice even despite the winds this last week.
“Practice in the winds will help us know what to expect if it is windy (tonight),” Coach Lewis says. “We had good practices this week.”
The second thing that must happen for Banning to take the co-champion title is the first place Yucca Valley High School Trojans (6-0) must lose against Twentynine Palms High School Wildcats (4-2).
That game will be a close game with key indicators from past games pointing to a Twentynine Palms victory.
Despite that game, the Broncos must stay focused on the game they are playing tonight.
Their opponent tonight is fighting for the same position, Desert Valley League co-champs.
With the Bronco defense poised and ready to stop the Mighty Arabs, it will be up to the offense to get the ball past the goal line.
The Bronco offense will be lead by two quarterbacks, senior Mario Turley and sophomore Richard Hartley.
Together, these young men have led their team to victory in their last four consecutive games, earning a combined 151 points in those games.
It will be a combined effort by both the offense and defense this week against the Mighty Arabs.
Both sides will not only need to make the big plays as they come, but they will need to stick to the fundamentals that got them here.
Coach Lewis has been teaching his Broncos that lesson since before the season began.
“We play good ball at the right time,” says “Coach Q” about his Broncos.
The Broncos play at home tonight at 7 p.m. at the Banning High School stadium, 100 Westward Avenue.