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Thursday, December 16, 2010
Inland Empire: Table is set for Division I bowl game

By Dan Arritt

Two teams, 27 victories, zero losses.

One side will end the season on a perfect note Friday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, the other will feel the sting of defeat for the first time.

On paper, Corona Centennial seems to have the edge over Palo Alto in the Division 1 state bowl game, but this game won’t be played on paper. If forecasters are correct, a steady rain should be falling when the teams kick off around 7:30 p.m.

Slick, muddy fields and wet footballs have a way of neutralizing team speed and often benefit the better defense.

In that case, advantage Palo Alto.

But nothing has stopped the Huskies this season, so why would Mother Nature?

Their no-huddle, up-tempo offense would be tough to stop if it were run by a Pop Warner team, but Centennial features a talented group of fleet-footed thoroughbreds. Senior quarterback Michael Eubank, senior running back Barrinton Collins and senior receiver Larry Scott have been making defenses miserable all season with their ability to break big plays and break them often.

Centennial set a state record for total yards in a season during its 45-21 victory Friday night against Vista Murrieta in the Inland Division championship game. The Huskies have accumulated 7,551 yards through 14 games, roughly the distance between Palo Alto and Los Altos.

They’ve averaged 54.1 points a game this season. If they can score 40 more, they’ll move into second place among the state’s all-time highest-scoring teams.

If the rain doesn’t slow Centennial’s run-away train, it will be up to Palo Alto.

The Vikings have done a remarkable job against their opponents thus far, limiting them to an average of 9.4 points a game this season. They are led by Stanford-bound defensive end Kevin Anderson, who has 11 ˝ sacks.

Both schools have been here before–the Huskies twice, in fact.

Palo Alto lost to Orange Lutheran in the inaugural bowl series in 2006. The Huskies fell to Concord De La Salle in 2007, but came back to defeat the Spartans in 2008.

This is a new year, of course, with mostly new players.

Maybe it’s best to set aside the comparisons and just sit back and watch. And if you're not able to do that, check back here for some postgame analysis, video highlights and interviews.