Inland Empire: The Top 10


It was a brutal weekend for the Inland Empire, unless you’re from Corona Centennial or Norco, of course. Vista Murrieta lost to a team that traveled 100 miles to get to the I.E., Redlands East Valley couldn’t score against a team missing its best defender, Upland was no match for an opponent that had lost three straight, Rancho Cucamonga squandered a 13-0 second-half lead, and Eastvale Roosevelt couldn’t keep up with a sophomore quarterback. What we’re left with is a Division V team ranked No. 4.

1. (1) Centennial (4-0)

The Huskies can moonwalk through their next two games before competition gets serious again. It’s a bummer we’ll never see them go head-to-head with Servite, Westlake or Mission Viejo this season. Last week: Beat Riverside King, 66-14. Next: vs. Riverside Poly, Friday.

2. (2) Norco (4-0)

Playing on a tender ankle last weekend, Kelsey Young scored four more touchdowns for the Cougars. Imagine what he’ll do when healthy again. Last week: Beat Riverside North, 38-7. Next: vs. Roosevelt, Friday.

3. (3) Vista Murrieta (3-1)

The Broncos have a soft spot in their defense and Encino Crespi exposed it Friday night with 493 passing yards. Whether other teams can follow the blueprint is yet to be seen. Last week: Lost to Crespi, 45-31. Next: at Palisades, Friday.

4. (10) Fontana Kaiser (4-0)

The Cats haven’t been scored on since the fourth quarter of Week 1 and they haven’t exactly been playing pushovers. They could easily extend their shutout streak through this month. Last week: Beat Palm Desert, 48-0. Next: vs. Hesperia, Friday.

5. (NR) Corona Santiago (2-2)

The Sharks took a bite out of Roosevelt last weekend, earning the right to be labeled the best team in the Big VIII League not named Centennial and Norco. Last week: Beat Roosevelt, 40-33. Next: at Riverside King, Thursday.

6. (7) La Quinta (3-1)

The Blackhawks have become the Rodney Dangerfield of the Inland Empire. They’re still ranked behind Colton in the Central Division coaches’ poll, even though they won at Colton in Week 2. Last week: Beat Ridgecrest Burroughs, 50-24. Next: vs. Yucaipa, Friday.

7. (NR) Chino Hills (4-1)

The loss to Corona Santiago in Week 1 isn’t looking so bad after all, especially after wins against Tesoro and Redlands East Valley. The defense should get all the credit. Last week: Beat Redlands East Valley, 14-3. Next: at Claremont, Oct. 15.

8. (NR) Redlands (4-0-1)

If the Terriers can keep winning the close ones, they have a shot at winning their first league title since 2006. Their next game should be a deciding factor. Last week: Beat Rancho Cucamonga, 21-13. Next: vs. Redlands East Valley at University of Redlands, Oct. 15.

9. (8) Moreno Valley Rancho Verde (4-0)

Same old formula for the Mustangs; weak opponent = easy victory. It’ll be interesting to see how their marshmallow schedule prepares them for the postseason. Last week: Beat Moreno Valley, 49-14. Next: vs. Moreno Valley Valley View, Friday.

10. (6) Roosevelt, 3-1

The Mustangs remain in the top 10 by a nose, but next up is their toughest test of the season. Are they graded stakes material or just a claimer? Last week: Lost to Corona Santiago, 40-33. Next: at Norco, Friday.

Dropped out: Upland, Redlands East Valley, Rancho Cucamonga