How can one-loss Corona Centennial continue to be ranked No. 1 in the I.E. ahead of unbeaten Redlands East Valley, Upland, Vista Murrieta and Rancho Cucamonga? By ranking standards, Centennial's two-point loss to St. Bonaventure was a long time ago. The Huskies were breaking in a new quarterback and running back that night in early September, and they were facing their toughest nonleague opponent at their most vulnerable part of the schedule. Starting about the third quarter of their second game against Mater Dei, the Huskies have been playing like the team of last season, when they went all the way to the Division 1 state bowl game. Redlands East Valley, Upland and Vista Murrieta each had the luxury of building themselves up for their best nonleague opponents, all the while Centennial was getting better too. Not sure there are too many other teams in the Southern Section that have the firepower to build a 42-6 lead over J.W. North with 10 ½ minutes still remaining in the first half. That's the same J.W. North team that beat Alemany earlier this season.
What team should probably be in the I.E. top 10 but isn’t? This goes back to the first week of the season as well, but the big difference between Centennial and Summit's season-opening losses is Summit's relates to head-to-head competition. Summit lost to Etiwanda, 49-36, in Week 0, and Etiwanda went on to put a big scare into top 10 members Norco and Vista Murrieta before losing by less than a touchdown each time. Summit has steadily gotten better too, posting shutouts in its last three games while scoring 40-plus points, the latest a 49-0 road win against Southwestern League member Murrieta Mesa. If it’s any consolation to the SkyHawks, Etiwanda also dropped out of the top 10 this week to make room for Corona Santiago, a 49-22 winner against previously No. 6 Norco. The Eagles will have a shot to get back into the top 10 when they host No. 3 Upland on Friday night in a Baseline League game. Summit, well, the toughest part of its schedule is in the rear-view mirror.
Which team doesn’t belong in the top 10 based on last week’s performance? Considering that the calpreps.com computer program had Cajon pegged to beat San Gorgonio by 34 points Friday night, the 20-16 come-from-behind victory by the Cowboys could easily be counted as a loss. We know, we know, ESPNLA did pick San Gorgonio to win the San Andreas League title during our preseason tour through the I.E., but that was before Cajon went out and demolished our preseason No. 4 team, Chaparral, in the season opener. Cajon (5-0) dropped a spot to No. 9 in the I.E. rankings this week, and likely would have fell another if not for the blowout loss by Norco. Good thing for Cajon, the team gets a breather this week against Pacific, which ended a 20-game losing streak with a 24-7 victory Friday night against San Bernardino, then faces a good test Oct. 21 at Rialto (4-1).
Which was the bigger surprise in the Big VIII League last Friday, Santiago pounding Norco or Roosevelt blasting Riverside Poly? Probably the latter as Roosevelt still doesn’t have last season’s starting quarterback, Aaron Crone, back from a shoulder injury, while Santiago welcomed two key players to the team this month, running back Roosevelt Monk and wide receiver Nik Little. Roosevelt received a magnificent performance from quarterback Brandon Rogers, who threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns in the 50-22 victory against Poly, one week after he was limited to 69 yards and intercepted three times in a 42-7 loss to Norco. One thing’s for sure, the race for the top four spots in the Big VIII has become a lot more crowded. Norco hosts J.W. North and Santiago travels to Roosevelt in what should be an interesting final week of the regular season.
The best game last weekend that didn’t involve Redlands East Valley? If you haven’t heard about REV’s 10-7 shocker Friday night against nationally ranked Mission Viejo, than you’re probably not reading this blog anyway. The game you likely didn’t read about was Chino’s victory against Chaffey in the Mt. Baldy League. The Cowboys scored with about two minutes remaining to win the game, 29-22, and run their league winning streak to eight games. Some interesting stats in this one, as Chaffey had 72 plays from scrimmage compared to 32 for Chino. Of those 72 plays, 56 were handoffs to running back Devon Samuels, who finished with 307 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Chino quarterback Sean Molles completed just seven passes, but they went for 188 yards and three touchdowns.