With less than seven minutes to play in the Eastern Division title game, with a CIF Southern Section championship on the line, Ray Mullen made what may have been the decisive play of the game.
Mullen hauled in a William Olvera pass over the middle of the field and scampered almost 25 yards for a 38-yard gain to set up the go-ahead score in a 24-21 win over Serrano High on Dec. 5.
Over the course of the season, Mullen was arguably the best wide receiver in the valley. He caught 90 balls for 1,211 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. He also snagged three interceptions on defense, and was a catalyst for the Indians’ late-season surge. For his efforts, he was named an All-Desert Valley League selection and also earned All-CIF recognition.
This week, he signed a letter of intent and accepted a scholarship to play at Missouri Science & Technology, a Division II program in the Midwest. He’s one of five Palm Springs seniors who have made arrangements to play college ball this fall, joining Noah Collins, Riley Hagar, Marcos Sainz and Tyler Smith.
“It’s a great blessing to have this opportunity,” Mullen said. “A lot of us put a lot of work in last offseason, and it all came together in winning CIF.”
Collins, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman and an honors student, will join La Quinta’s Charles Hays on the football team at UC Davis.
Hagar was an All-DVL performer who played offense, defense and was the Indians’ punter last season. He is expected to sign with Black Hills State (S.D.), a Division II school, this week.
Sainz, a 6-3, 230-pound All-CIF defense end, will choose this week between six different offers, and linebacker Tyler Smith has offers from two Midwest schools. They both are expected make their choice this week and sign, with Hagar, on Friday.
Palm Springs had a strong junior class this year, and in turn could make another CIF title run with that core group this fall.
But the team will lose some talent and senior leadership. It’s becoming more evident just how important those seniors were to Palm Springs winning a championship.
“It was a privilege to coach these guys this year,” Palm Springs head coach Dan Murphy said last month. “We had a lot of kids that put in a lot of work, and I’m extremely proud of them.”
La Quinta football opening
La Quinta High School has an immediate opening for a head freshman football coach for the 2015 season. Applicants may reach out to athletic director Dan Armstrong at (760)772-4150, ext. 25103, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.