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Thursday, December 8, 2011
Preview: Desert Chr. at Rio Hondo Prep

By Sean Ceglinsky

SOUTHERN SECTION FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS

Who: Lancaster Desert Christian (11-2) vs. Arcadia Rio Hondo Prep (12-1)

What: Northeast Division championship game

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Rio Hondo Prep school.

How Desert Christian got here: The Knights were impressive in a 57-12 first-round victory over Perris California Military Institute. Things became a bit more difficult thereafter. They defeated Bishop, 14-7. Los Angeles Salesian also put up a good fight before losing 33-22 in last week's semifinal showdown.

How Rio Hondo Prep got here: The Kares had little, or no, problems in their first-round game and ended up defeating Anza Hamilton, 61-0. They nearly duplicated the feat the following week against California City in a 55-0 victory. Boron did not offer much resistance in a 27-8 loss in the semifinals.

Key players for Desert Christian: Don't expect to see this group pass the ball much. The Knights prefer to keep the ball on the ground. And just when you think they have run the ball enough, they run some more. Kiel Alcarez has rushed for 1,286 yards and 18 touchdowns. Not to be outdone, his backfield counterpart, Chase Gusbeth, has picked up another 1,261 yards rushing and scored 13 times.

Key players for Rio Hondo Prep: A balanced attack is the Kares biggest strength. Quarterback Colby Rivera has passed for 1,246 yards and 22 touchdowns. He only has four interceptions. His main target is Jake Holguin, who is averaging 17 yards per catch and has 10 touchdowns. Desert Christian also has four players with more than 300 yards rushing this season, highlighted Alex Tayco's 801 yards.

Prediction: Rio Hondo Prep 28, Desert Christian 14