Los Angeles Preps: A.J. Fanene

I.E.: Central Division second-round previews

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
7:06
PM PT
CENTRAL DIVISION

Second round, Friday

No. 1 Rancho Verde (11-0) at San Gorgonio (6-5), 7 p.m.

How they got here: Rancho Verde defeated visiting Don Lugo, 44-0; San Gorgonio won at La Quinta, 44-41.

Matchup to watch: San Gorgonio quarterback Monroe Offield (294 total yards last week) vs. Rancho Verde defense (hasn’t allowed a point in last 12 quarters)

Fast fact: These teams already met this season, with Rancho Verde winning, 37-10, against the visiting Spartans in Week 1. San Gorgonio also started and ended last season with losses to the Mustangs.

Prediction: Rancho Verde 34, San Gorgonio 14.

No. 4 Colony (10-1) at Moreno Valley (5-6), 7 p.m.

How they got here: Colony eliminated visiting Valley View, 28-14; Moreno Valley surprised host Cajon, 43-16.

Matchup to watch: Colony middle linebacker Eddie Martinez (7.6 tackles per game) vs. Moreno Valley running back Imeria Talia (867 rushing yards, nine TDs last four games).

Fast fact: Moreno Valley last won a playoff game in 2007, the same postseason that ended with a 29-14 loss to Colony in the Central Division semifinals.

Prediction: Moreno Valley 24, Colony 21.

No. 3 La Sierra (10-1) at Carter (10-1), 7 p.m.

How they got here: La Sierra defeated Chaffey, 23-6, at Norte Vista; Carter eliminated visiting Palm Desert, 48-22.

Matchup to watch: La Sierra defensive lineman A.J. Fanene (12 solo tackles last week, 24 sacks last two seasons) vs. Carter running back Gaylon Maxie (1,835 rushing yards, 24 TDs)

Fast fact: Carter won its first playoff game in school history last week while hosting its first postseason game.

Prediction: La Sierra 28, Carter 21.

No. 2 Palm Springs (11-0) at Chino (9-2), 7 p.m.

How they got here: Palm Springs shut out visiting Rialto, 35-0; Chino defeated visiting Arlington, 26-14.

Matchup to watch: Palm Springs linebacker Kyle Lass (13.2 tackles per game, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries) vs. Chino running back Xavier Browne (1,511 rushing yards, 16 TDs)

Fast fact: After finishing 0-10 in the 2009 season, Chino is 20-3 over the last two.

Prediction: Palm Springs 42, Chino 21.

I.E.: A closer look at the Inland Valley League

August, 13, 2011
8/13/11
7:27
PM PT
INLAND VALLEY LEAGUE

Last season’s results: Moreno Valley Rancho Verde (13-1, 7-0); Riverside Arlington (9-3, 6-1); Moreno Valley Valley View (6-5, 5-2); Riverside La Sierra (6-5, 4-3); Moreno Valley (3-7, 3-4); Moreno Valley Vista del Lago (4-6, 2-5); Moreno Valley Canyon Springs (2-8, 1-6); Ramona (0-10, 0-7).

Players to watch: As they say at Rancho Verde, the Mustangs don’t rebuild, they reload. They showed their skill in June during a seven-on-seven passing tournament at UCLA, finishing 8-0 behind senior quarterback Carlos Hernandez. He’ll have a pair of solid receivers to look to in senior Breon Redman, a returning first-team all leaguer, and junior Demorea Stringfellow, who already has a scholarship offer from UCLA. Kevin Shelton is a potential Division 1 recruit on the offensive line and he’ll be re-joined by all-leaguer Robert Rodriguez. The defense should be well anchored by all-Central Division linebacker Blair Brown and defensive backs DeVonte Collier and Leroy Holt. Rancho Verde should face some stiff competition from La Sierra, which boasts the league’s best front seven on defense. A.J. Fanene had a league-leading 18 sacks last season, ninth-most in the Southern Section, and piqued the interest of USC during spring combines. Noel Quiones led the IVL with 156 tackles, including seven sacks, and fellow linebacker Tim Mummert also produced seven sacks. Offensively, the Eagles will be directed by junior quarterback Johnny Salazar, a returning starter. Valley View features the league’s top returning running back. Michael Harrison racked up 1,120 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns last season. He surpassed the 100-yard mark in the final five regular-season games. The defense will be led by all-league linebacker Michael Khoury. Moreno Valley will also likely rely on its running game. Ieremia Talia ran for 971 yards last season, averaging 7.3 yards a carry en route to earning all-league honors. Canyon Springs should also improve with the return of its top two receivers, senior Jeff Hernandez and junior Kendrick Newburn. Arlington is expected to face a rebuilding year this season but the Lions have a strong pass defender in senior Alex Garcia, a first-team all-league selection.

Projected order of finish: Rancho Verde, La Sierra, Valley View, Arlington, Canyon Springs, Vista del Lago, Moreno Valley, Ramona.

Key games: Sept. 2 – Perris Citrus Hill vs. Canyon Springs @ Moreno Valley; Sept. 16 – Valley View vs. Riverside Patriot @ Riverside Rubidoux HS, Moreno Valley @ Palm Springs; Sept. 23 – Rancho Verde @ Romoland Heritage, Arlington @ La Quinta; Sept. 30 – Arlington vs. Valley View @ Ramona; Oct. 7 – Rancho Verde @ Valley View; Oct. 14 – Rancho Verde vs. La Sierra @ Riverside Norte Vista HS; Oct. 21 – La Sierra @ Valley View; Nov. 11 – Arlington @ Rancho Verde.

Alumni in the NFL: Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys (Rancho Verde ’08); D’Aundre Reed, Minnesota Vikings (Rancho Verde ‘06); Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith, Pittsburgh Steelers (Rancho Verde ’05); Derrick Ward, Houston Texans (Valley View ’98).

Fast fact: Rancho Verde has won 31 consecutive regular-season games but that success hasn’t carried into the postseason. The Mustangs did not advance past the semifinals in 2008 and 2009, and were upset by Colton in the Central Division finals last season, despite entering the playoffs as the top-seeded team in the division.

On the clock: Mt. Baldy League.

Inland Empire: Athletes of the week

November, 16, 2010
11/16/10
4:37
PM PT
A.J. Fanene, Riverside La Sierra, Jr.
The 6-foot-3, 270-pound nose tackle had three more sacks Friday in a 42-0 victory against Riverside Ramona, giving him 16 on the season, which is fourth-best in the Southern Section. Fanene, who is also one of the school’s top volleyball players, is averaging 9.2 tackles a game this season.

Bow Salotti, Palm Desert, Sr.
Shot a one-over par 73 on Wednesday at The Gold Club of Rancho California in Murrieta to share medalist honors and help the Aztecs finish third at the CIF-WSCGA Southern California championships and advance to the state championships for the first time in school history. The state finals will be held today at Red Hill Country Club in Rancho Cucamonga.

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