YUCAIPA -- Nobody expected it to be that easy.
Redlands East Valley and Yucaipa brought their undefeated records into the Citrus Belt League finale Thursday night and, based on comparative scores, it appeared to be a fairly even matchup.
Not even close.
Redlands East Valley scored four touchdowns in the opening quarter and three more in the second before taking its foot off the pedal and coasting to a 48-0 victory at Yucaipa High.
The game was so one sided, the Wildcats took a knee on three consecutive plays at the end of the firsthalf and punted the ball back to Yucaipa. They played their reserves the entire second half, which was contested with a running clock.
“We thought it was going to be a game,” said Redlands East Valley quarterback Austin Decoud. “But we came out and played almost perfect football.”
The Wildcats (10-0, 5-0), ranked No. 7 in this week's ESPNLA.com prep football Top 25 rankings, scored on offense, defense and special teams in building their first-half lead.
Jamal Ellis returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. Ellis then intercepted a pass from Yucaipa quarterback Clayton Leach-Mead on the Thunderbirds’ opening drive, leading to a five-yard touchdown run by Taylor Thompson.
“In practice we had been talking about how we wanted to come out firing like we did,” Decoud said. “I was surprised at how easily we did it.”
Decoud then connected with Jesse Riley on a 21-yard touchdown that began as a screen pass.
Thompson added two more touchdown runs and Decoud hit Zach Brown on a 41-yard touchdown strike before Daniel Gonzales finished off the scoring with a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“We are a really, really good football team,” said Redlands East Valley coach Kurt Bruich. “Everyone criticizes our offense, but we’ve got weapons and we unleashed them tonight.”
The Wildcats can sit back and wait for the Southern Section Inland Division playoff pairings to be released Sunday. Bruich says he expects his team will be seeded fourth in the highly competitive division.
“I’m looking forward to going as far as we can and playing like this every game,” Decoud said. “If we play like this every game, nobody will stop us.”