The top three teams in the Desert Valley League are starting to separate themselves from the rest, each with big shutout victories against league opponents Friday. One other local team remained unscathed and rose, while other valley teams struggled in week seven.
Here are the latest power rankings after Oct. 9’s slate of games.
1. Palm Springs (last week No. 1): The Indians didn’t look quite as flashy on offense as they did a week ago against Coachella Valley, but the defense still held another league opponent scoreless, which is a good sign.
2. Palm Desert (last week No. 2): The Aztecs didn’t miss a beat after their bye week, as Beau Berryhill put up his biggest game of the season on the ground, and coach Pat Blackburn experimented with new quarterback Matthew Fitzgerald, who looked strong.
3. Rancho Mirage (last week No. 5): The Rattlers cemented their claim as a De Anza League contender, beating a team with a previously untarnished league record for the second week in-a-row. They could go untested until their final game against Shadow Hills.
4. La Quinta (last week No. 6): In their last five halves of football, the Blackhawks have given up just nine points. Sure, four of those have been against overmatched Indio and Cathedral City teams, but coach Dan Armstrong’s squad is picking up steam and confidence as they prepare for Palm Springs.
5. Desert Hot Springs (last week No. 3): The Golden Eagles couldn’t muster enough offensive firepower against Rancho Mirage on the road, but the defense held its own. DHS was still firmly in the game until the fourth quarter and should still be a big player in the De Anza League.
6. Shadow Hills (last week No. 7): The Knights fell apart in the second half after taking a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter against Twentynine Palms. Shadow Hills beat the Wildcats by 41 points just a year ago, but are no longer in the driver’s seat for a league title.
7. Desert Chapel (last week No. 4): The Eagles may still be the second-best team in eight-man Division 2 this season, but they were trounced on their home turf by No. 1 Joshua Springs 90-8. The Eagles may meet the Lightning in the finals this year, but they’ve got a lot of improvements to make before then.
8. Desert Christian Academy (last week No. 8): After trailing 22-20 in the second half, the Conquerors scored 20-straight with Wyatt Snellenberger under center with the defense holding strong for a solid comeback win after losing to Desert Chapel.
9. Coachella Valley (last week No. 9): The Arabs had a chance this week to put last week’s route by Palm Springs behind them, as they focus on beating Xavier Prep next Friday and staying alive in the playoff race.
10. Xavier Prep (last week No. 10): The Saints’ defense proved impressive against Palm Springs, holding their prolific offense to just three touchdowns, but the offense just doesn’t appear to have enough firepower to compete.
11. Desert Mirage (last week No. 11): The Rams lost their most winnable game in De Anza League play, with a late fumble giving Yucca Valley a chance to score a last-minute go-ahead score. The rough stretch for the Rams continues.
12. Palm Valley (last week No. 14): The Firebirds grabbed their second win of the season Saturday against Riverside Christian in blowout fashion. Still, closing out the season against the league’s top three teams – all ranked in the top 10 of the polls – will be rough.
13. Indio (last week No. 12): After two tough games against two of the league’s best, the Rajahs will have a chance to rest up before their best chance at victory in the DVL this season, an Oct. 23 meeting hosting Cathedral City.
14. Cathedral City (last week No. 13): The Lions haven’t scored in two games, and the Palm Desert defense they’ll face this week won’t make it much easier.