Los Angeles Preps: Arlington


League openers: Tonight – La Quinta @ Palm Springs; Xavier Prep @ Cathedral City; Indio # Palm Desert. Friday – Coachella Valley @ Palm Desert.

Last year’s finish: Palm Springs (12-0); Palm Desert (10-2); La Quinta (7-5); Indio (7-5); Cathedral City (3-9); Xavier Prep (3-9); Coachella Valley (0-12).

Players to watch: Quintin Taylor (Palm Springs), 6-2, Jr., G; Nick King (Palm Springs), 6-1, Sr., G; Xavier Thomas (Indio), 6-4, Sr., F; Abram Montoya (Indio), 6-2, Sr., G; Jonathan Serven (Palm Desert); 6-3, Sr., G; Robert Romero (Palm Desert), 6-5, Sr., F; Mike Releford (Cathedral City), 5-10, Sr., G; Taylor Pope (La Quinta), 6-0, Sr., G; Nathan Hill (La Quinta), 6-4, Jr., G; Creighton Chaney (Xavier Prep), 6-0, Sr., G.

Predicted order of finish: Palm Springs, Indio, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Cathedral City, Xavier Prep, Coachella Valley.


League openers: Tonight – Arlington @ Moreno Valley; La Sierra @ Ramona; Canyon Springs @ Rancho Verde; Vista del Lago @ Valley View.

Last year’s finish: Rancho Verde (11-3); Canyon Springs (11-3); Arlington (8-6); Ramona (8-6); Valley View (7-7); Vista del Lago (5-9); La Sierra (3-11); Moreno Valley (3-11).

Players to watch: Jordan Grace (Rancho Verde), 6-2, Sr., G; Kendall Schmidt (Rancho Verde), 6-0, Sr., G; Lance Jones (Rancho Verde), 6-3, Jr., F; Rajshah Head (Canyon Springs), 6-0, Sr., G; Joseph Esthers (Valley View), 5-10, Sr., G; Devonte Klines (Valley View), 5-11, So., G; Stephen Scroggins (Moreno Valley), 5-11, Sr., G.

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


League openers: Tonight – San Bernardino @ Rialto, Arroyo Valley @ Colton, Cajon @ Pacific. Saturday – Rialto @ Carter. Monday – Arroyo Valley @ San Bernardino.

Last year’s finish: San Bernardino (14-0); Cajon (11-3); Rialto (9-5); Arroyo Valley (9-5); Colton (5-9); San Gorgonio (4-10); Carter (3-11); Pacific (1-13).

Players to watch: Khleem Perkins (San Bernardino), 6-3, Jr., G; Javone Rabon (San Bernardino), 6-4, Sr., F; Jamie Jenkins (San Bernardino), 5-8, Sr., G; Richie Ragoo (Colton), 5-11, Sr., G; Devin Jones (Cajon), 6-0, Sr., G; Stephen Marshall (Arroyo Valley), Sr., G; Antonio Clemmons (Pacific), 6-0, Sr., G.

Predicted order of finish: San Bernardino, Cajon, Arroyo Valley, Rialto, Colton, Pacific, San Gorgonio, Carter.

Next up: Big VIII, Mojave River and Mt. Baldy leagues (open league play Wednesday).

I.E.: 5 questions to ponder after Week 4

October, 3, 2011
Is this the Chaparral team that we were expecting to see, or did Corona Centennial just borrow their uniforms? The shocker out of the Inland Empire last weekend wasn’t so much Upland’s victory against Loyola, or even Vista Murrieta’s triumph at Crespi, it was the 24-8 victory by Chaparral against visiting Tesoro. The Pumas were ranked No. 4 in the Inland Empire coming into the season, but they quickly dropped off the map after one-sided losses to Cajon, Oceanside and Corona Centennial. Tesoro, meanwhile, came up from the O.C. with their chests out after victories against Hart, Chino Hills and Narbonne. Chaparral should get another victory this week at Indio, and then the big test comes Oct. 14, when the Pumas host Vista Murrieta in a Southwestern League opener.

Best come-from-behind victory this season? This might go down as one of the all-time best come-from-behind victories in the history of the I.E. La Quinta was staring at a 34-0 deficit at the start of the third quarter Friday night at Ridgecrest Burroughs, but the Blackhawks forced four turnovers in the second half and John Mason scored three touchdowns to lift them to a 41-34 victory. By comparison, the largest comeback in NFL history remains the 1992 playoff game between Buffalo and the Houston Oilers, when the Bills came back from 32 points down to win, 41-38 in overtime.

Best come-from-behind victory by an unbeaten team? Valley View was trailing Arlington by nine points at the half of their Inland Valley League game Friday night, putting its unbeaten streak on the line. But the Eagles pinned their ears back on defense, shutting out the Lions in the second half while limiting them to 54 total yards. On offense, Matthew Sandoval sandwiched two field goals around an 11-yard touchdown run by Michael Harrison and Valley View (5-0, 2-0 in league play) came away with a 19-15 victory, their seventh straight in IVL play dating back to last season. Harrison, who rushed for 1,120 yards and 16 touchdowns in 11 games last season, already has 651 rushing yards and eight touchdowns this season. The Eagles will have to be even better Friday night, whey they host three-time defending league champion Rancho Verde, winner of 23 consecutive IVL games.

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

August, 13, 2011

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: Rancho Verde 28, Arlington 16

November, 12, 2010

RIVERSIDE — When the Moreno Valley Rancho Verde and Riverside Arlington football teams met Friday night, there were plenty of reasons to leave it all on the field.

Not only was there a Inland Valley League title at stake, but Arlington was playing without coach Pat McCarthy, who was recuperating in the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest before practice earlier in the week.

Rancho Verde was trying to wrap up an undefeated regular season in honor of Emil Smith, the Boise State-bound senior-to-be who was killed in a car accident over the summer.

In the end, Rancho Verde had a little too much firepower and the Mustangs held on for a 28-16 victory at Riverside Ramona High.

“These guys are fighters,” said Eric Seckinger, who was filling info McCarthy. “They were feeding off coach Mac.”

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Inland Empire: Games of the week

November, 11, 2010
The Inland Valley League showdown Friday night between Moreno Valley Rancho Verde and Riverside Arlington at Riverside Ramona High was expected to be an emotionally charged game, but that was taken to another level Monday when Arlington coach Pat McCarthy went into cardiac arrest before practice.

It was initially feared he had suffered a heart attack, but the Riverside Press-Telegram reported Wednesday that he has a severe infection that caused his pulse to weaken.

Rancho Verde (9-0, 6-0) has won 21 consecutive league games, but Arlington (8-1, 6-0) will be its toughest test of the season.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Three others to see:

Corona (5-4, 3-3) at Norco (7-2, 4-2), Friday – Corona can pass up Norco in the Big VIII League and finish third with a win, but will lose out on an automatic playoff berth with a loss and a victory Thursday night by Riverside King (4-5, 2-4) against visiting Riverside North (1-8, 1-5).

La Quinta (7-2, 3-1) at Palm Desert (6-3, 3-1), Friday – Palm Springs has already locked up the No. 1 playoff seeding from the Desert Valley League, but second and third will be settled here. La Quinta has won four straight against the Aztecs.

Perris Citrus Hill (6-3, 3-1) at San Jacinto (7-2, 3-1), Friday – The winner of this game is guaranteed a share of the Mountain Pass League title. That much is for certain. Beaumont (6-3, 3-1) and Hemet West Valley (5-4, 3-1) also play Friday night at San Gorgonio Middle School and the winner will also share in the league title. Figuring out the different playoff scenarios isn’t so simple.

Inland Empire: The top 10

September, 14, 2010
Norco leapfrogged Chaparral of Temecula in the rankings this week after the Cougars posted an impressive victory against visiting Crenshaw of Los Angeles. Meanwhile, down Interstate 15, Chaparral was getting knocked off its perch by Oceanside. Palm Springs wasn't impressive against short-handed Arroyo Valley, and Rancho Verde couldn't shake San Gorgonio until the fourth quarter.

1. (2) Vista Murrieta (1-0)

Jovonte Slater, eighth in the 100 meters at the state track and field finals last June, showed he's good on synthetic turf as well, running for two scores and returning a punt for another against Etiwanda. Last week: Beat Etiwanda, 49-27. Next: at Corona Santiago, Friday.

2. (3) Corona Centennial (1-0)

Barrinton Collins has made the move from wide receiver to running back look seamless and coach Matt Logan like a genius, rushing for five touchdowns against Birmingham of Lake Balboa. Last week: Beat Birmingham, 48-8. Next: vs. Mater Dei, Friday

3. (4) Norco (1-0)

Despite a sore hip, Kelsey Young rushed for just under 300 yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars came from behind to defeat Crenshaw of Los Angeles. Last week: Beat Crenshaw, 25-21. Next: vs. Etiwanda at Colony, Friday

4. (1) Temecula Chaparral (0-1)

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Pumas over the next three weeks, but coach Tom Leach wouldn’t have it any other way. Last week: Lost to Oceanside, 21-14. Next: vs. Fresno Central, Friday

5. (5) Riverside Arlington (1-0)

Superiorr Reid spoiled the grand opening of El Camino’s new stadium by catching the go-ahead touchdown with 39 seconds remaining. Last week: Beat El Camino, 14-10. Next: vs. Riverside Poly at Riverside Ramona, Friday

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Inland Empire: The Top 10

September, 6, 2010
1. Temecula Chaparral (Southwestern League), 0-0
The Pumas open their season Friday night against visiting Oceanside, the two-time defending Division I state bowl champion which is coming off a 31-7 drubbing at the hands of Servite last Thursday, ending its 39-game winning streak.

2. Vista Murrieta (Southwestern League), 0-0
The Broncos also had the luxury of scouting their first opponent in person last week. Etiwanda, which is scheduled to travel to Vista Murrieta on Friday, allowed 42 points in a seven-point loss Thurday against Summit High of Fontana. Summit doesn't have a bonafide quarterback, but Vista Murrieta surely does in three-year starter Derrick Brown.

3. Corona Centennial (Big VIII League), 0-0
Centennial has been chomping at the bit to get started this season and first up is an intersectional game at Birmingham High of Lake Balboa, which is coming off a 16-7 victory Friday against West Adams of Los Angeles, its first victory in a season opener since 2001.

4. Norco (Big VIII League), 0-0
One of the more intriguing intersectional matchups of the season will happen Friday when Norco hosts Crenshaw of Los Angeles. Crenshaw is led by running back De'Anthony Thomas, who has verbally committed to USC. Norco will lean on running back Kelsey Young, who has pledged to Stanford.

5. Riverside Arlington (Inland Valley League), 0-0
Arlington will open its season Friday against host El Camino of Oceanside, which scored on a blocked punt, a fumble return and a kickoff return in a 36-7 victory Saturday against Gardena. The Wildcats best defender is ophomore linebacker Justin Williams, who had three sacks against Gardena and scored on the fumble return.

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Inland Empire: Preseason Top 10

August, 31, 2010
1. Temecula Chaparral (Southwestern League)

The Pumas earned the right to strut after winning the Inland Division title last season, and they have the goods to back it up with the return of last season’s Inland Division co-offensive player of the year, Antoine Arnold, and co-defensive player of the year, Darius Guillory.

2. Vista Murrieta (Southwestern League)

Can we just fast forward to Oct. 14? Of course, that’s when the Broncos are scheduled to host Chaparral in their Southwestern League opener. Quarterback Derrick Brown, a three-year starter, has been eyeing that date since last December.

3. Corona Centennial (Big VIII League)

The 2008 Division I state bowl champions aren’t accustomed to looking up at others in the rankings. At least they’ll have a chance to do something about it, traveling to Chaparral for a nonleague game Sept. 24. Centennial is also led by a fleet-footed returning quarterback, senior Michael Eubank.

4. Upland (Baseline League)

Fresh off a Central Division title run, the Highlanders will bank on the depth of their running game and the health of quarterback Justin Nunes to make noise in the newly joined Inland Division. Two key transfers from Alta Loma won’t hurt either.

5. Norco (Big VIII League)

Norco has a Gerhart and another talented running back headed to Stanford. A few years ago, it was state career rushing leader Toby Gerhart. This season it’s senior running back Kelsey Young and freshman quarterback Coltin Gerhart, the youngest brother of Toby.

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