Smudge Pot, CBL title up for grabs

Andre Ferguson (pictured),unfortunately for the Wildcats, will miss tonights game.(dislocated shoulder...

More than bragging rights and more than the coveted Smudge Pot trophy will be on the line tonight before an anticipated crowd of 7,000 at the University of Redlands.

 

Redlands will meet cross-town rival Redlands East Valley in the 10th Smudge Pot game, a series Redlands leads 7-2. But far more than intra-city dominance is at stake, as the winner will be a heavy favorite to capture the Citrus Belt League title.

 

Once one of the top football leagues in the state, the CBL has fallen on hard times. Due to new schools popping up and talent being diluted, former CBL heavyweights like Rialto Eisenhower (ranked No. 2 in the nation in 1993) and Fontana (No. 1 in 1987) are now struggling mightily.

 

Eisenhower failed to score a point during three non-league games. Fontana's program is on a 22-game losing streak.

 

But it's all good in the city of Redlands, a picturesque college town of nearly 60,000. Redlands under veteran coach Jim Walker is 3-0. Redlands East Valley is 1-2, but its losses have been to Kamehameha of Hawaii and Upland, both very strong teams.

 

"They have a heck of a team," Walker said of REV. "They have Ronnie (Fouch) and he does a lot of great things; he's the real deal."

 

Fouch, the University of Washington-bound quarterback, has completed 47 of 92 passes for 910 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

 

Slotback Chris Polk is another big threat for REV, with 19 receptions for 459 yards and five scores. Overall, he has eight touchdowns and averages 199.7 all-purpose yards per game.

 

The key for REV is defense after last week's 48-37 loss to Upland.

 

"We need to tackle," REV coach Kurt Bruich said. "We missed 78 tackles in 68 plays last week. It was just one after another; it was embarrassing."

 

REV did more contact work in practice this week to toughen itself for tonight's rivalry game. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, heavily recruited linebacker Andre Ferguson (dislocated shoulder) and strong safety Tony Carruthers (high ankle sprain) will miss the game.

 

Redlands has dominated this rivalry for the most part, but REV has won twice in the last four years since hiring Bruich, the son of legendary Fontana Kaiser coach Dick Bruich.

 

REV currently possesses the Smudge Pot and is the defending CBL champ.

 

Redlands wants that coveted pot back and the CBL title that will probably go with it.

 

The Terriers are a senior-dominated team led by quarterback Coy Glass (368 yards, four scoring passes), running back Jeff Duran (216 yards, three touchdowns) and wideout/defensive back Ryan Counce (12 catches, 247 yards, two TDs).

 

Like REV's Polk, Counce is a threat as a ballcarrier and kick returner.

 

The Smudge Pot Game is an event in Redlands, with fans jamming into the stadium, many of them wearing either Navy blue for Redlands or red for REV.

 

So what exactly is a Smudge Pot? In terms of this game, it's a four-foot high trophy painted half-blue and half-red with a plaque attached.

 

Throughout much of the 1900s, smudge pots were oil-burning devices used to prevent frost on fruit trees. The smudge pot has a large round base with a chimney coming out of the middle. It was placed between trees to allow the heat and smoke from the burning oil to keep the frost off the fruit.

 

Now smudge pots are museum artifacts or symbolic prizes for football rivalries, such as Redlands vs. REV.

 

Two other Southern California high schools, Bonita and San Dimas, also play for a smudge pot.

 


Athletic directors or coaches who would like to suggest a player, coach or game to be featured may contact PrepCA.com football editor John Faulkner at john4sf@hotmail.com or publisher Gary Trousdale at trous@cox.net

 


 



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