Division III Title Game: Things to know

Division III Title Game: Things to know


Division III Title Game: Things to know


A capsule look at the Central Section Division III championship game:

No. 6 Ridgeview (8-5) at No. 5 Dinuba (9-3)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday, Claud Hebert Field, Dinuba

Catching Fire?: Emperor senior quarterback Marcus McMaryion is slated to sign his letter of intent in early February to attend Oregon State on a football scholarship, but he would love to cap his high school career with a Central Section title. McMaryion has had a solid season (2,490 yards passing, 27 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 54.8 completion rate), but the overall production is off from his 2012 Bob Mathias Award-winning campaign (3,477 yards passing, 43 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 60.8 completion rate). But he’s starting to get it in a groove. McMaryion has thrown for over 200 yards in each of Dinuba’s last three games with seven touchdowns.

The Wright Way: Dinuba’s passing game might not be as potent as it was in 2012, but the ground game has been in great hands all season with junior running back Michael Wright. Wright is among section leaders with 1,755 yards rushing and 32 total touchdowns. Wright is averaging 8.8 yards per carry.

Jekyll and Hyde: Ridgeview closed the regular season with a 5-5 record, and some of their blemishes were pretty ugly — a 55-7 loss to Liberty, a 26-0 loss to Washington Union, a 38-28 loss to West. The Wolf Pack did avenge their loss to Washington Union with a 24-6 win over the No. 3 Huskies in the quarterfinals. Ridgeview hasn’t had many problems with its offense since the defeat to Washington Union on Oct. 4. The Wolf Pack have scored at least 24 points in seven straight games, and have scored at least 38 points in four games during that span.

The Big Mystery: Aside from their Jekyll-and-Hyde routine this season, the Wolf Pack may have some quarterback issues heading into this game. In Friday’s 38-35 double-overtime win over Porterville, the Wolf Pack lost starting quarterback Lawrence White and back-up Darryn Blackshere to injury. The Wolf Pack rallied with freshman Ja’mar Moya, who rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries (Moya did not attempt a pass). Dinuba is hoping Moya isn’t an exact play-making clone of his older brother Kamari Cotton-Moya, now a defensive back at Iowa State. Cotton-Moya accounted for 397 yards of total offense and four touchdowns in last year’s Division III title game, a 55-14 win over Dinuba.

Top Keys for Dinuba

1. Best Defensive Game of the season: Dinuba has struggled this season against good offenses. Dinuba is facing a very good offense in Ridgeview — despite the Wolf Pack’s current quarterback issues. The Emperors have allowed 69 points over their two playoff games. Ridgeview is capable of scoring 69 points on Friday if the Emperors are unable to contain the Ridgeview ground attack. Ridgeview is averaging over 250 yards rushing per game.

2. Balanced anb Effective Offensive Attack: In one of the bigger strategic surprises of the season, the Emperors’ primary offensive game plan has centered on Wright not McMaryion. But if Dinuba head coach Kevin Scharton is able to get quality production from both players and the Emperors score early and often, Ridgeview may not have a viable passing attack that would be necessary for a second-half comeback.

3. Forget Last Year: If Ridgeview jumps out to an early lead, thoughts of last year’s Ridgeview rout might start to creep into the minds of Dinuba players. But the Emperors have to realize they have enough offensive experience and play-making ability to mount a comeback if necessary.

Calpreps prediction: Dinuba 35, Ridgeview 28.


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Division III Title Game: Things to know

A capsule look at the Central Section Division III championship game:

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