I.E.: Five questions to ponder after Week 3

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
6:27
PM PT
Outside of the Baseline League, which league race is the toughest to predict?
The Mojave River League looks about as wide open as, well, the Mojave River. Apple Valley, Sultana and Oak Hills are sporting 3-0 records, and Serrano probably has a slight edge on those three, despite owning a 2-2 record. That's because Serrano has played a much stiffer nonleague schedule so far, highlighted by a 10-point loss to Upland two weeks ago. Upland then turned around and battered Norco, 54-27.

Is the Big VIII League looking more like the Big II at this point?
That would be correct. Corona Centennial is running on all cylinders after trouncing Chaparral last weekend, and J.W. North thinks its 2001 again. Other than that, Norco took a big step backward with its loss to Upland, Roosevelt is sputtering like an '85 Yugo and Riverside Poly couldn't even beat a team from the Mountain Pass League last weekend. The Big VIII's combined record is 11-13, while the Baseline is 15-9.

What’s the most surprising 4-0 team?
Yucaipa is well known for its baseball and cross-country programs, but most of the top football players in area come down the hill and play for Redlands East Valley. However, the Thunderbirds defeated San Gorgonio, 42-31, on Friday night to run their record to 4-0 for the first time since 1997. Clayton Leach-Mead, a junior quarterback, has been the linchpin on offense for the Thunderbirds, passing for 370 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for 699 and seven scores. Defensively, senior inside linebacker Nate Pascale has five sacks, just one short of his total last season.

Which team has surpassed Roosevelt as the biggest disappointment in the I.E.?
Roosevelt got a much-needed victory last week, so now it’s Redlands that seems to be falling apart at the seams. The Terriers have lost three straight games to fall to 1-3 and it won’t get any easier as they play Rancho Cucamonga (4-0) at Los Osos High this week. With quarterback Mike Stallone returning this season, as well as talented running back Darryl Miller, Redlands was expected to make a run at REV for the Citrus Belt League title. At this rate, however, the once-mighty Terriers might have a hard time just getting into the playoffs.

Biggest gamble of last weekend?
Carter was trailing Lakeside, 7-0, in the fourth quarter Friday night and was just stopped on third down to bring out the punt team. A bad snap sent the punter, Clayton Atlas, into the end zone to retrieve the bouncing ball. Even though Atlas was not tackled and never went to the turf, one of the referees signaled a safety on the play. After the referees huddled, it was determined that the whistle was inadvertently blown and the kick would be replayed. On the second chance, Atlas kept the ball on a fake punt and ran 33 yards for a first down. The next play, Gaylon Maxie ran 48 yards for a touchdown and the Lions decided, 'Why not go for two points?' They won that gamble as well, taking an 8-7 lead in a game they eventually won, 14-7.

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