Los Angeles Preps: Clayton Leach-Mead

Inland Division first-round previews

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
3:46
PM PT
INLAND DIVISION

First round, Friday

Redlands (4-6) at No. 1 Corona Centennial (9-1), 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Centennial won the Big VIII League championship; Redlands finished third in the Citrus Belt League:

Matchup to watch: Redlands junior running back Craig Lee (142-1,353, 15 TDs) vs. Centennial linebacker Edem Nassar (8.5 tackles per game).

Fast fact: Centennial has won six Southern Section titles since 2000.

Prediction: Centennial 49, Redlands 21.

Los Osos (6-4) at Chaparral (6-4), 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Chaparral finished runner-up in the Southwestern League; Los Osos finished third in the Baseline League.

Matchup to watch: Arizona State-bound offensive tackle Dylan LaFrenz of Los Osos (6-4, 280) vs. Chaparral defensive end Teddy Queen (6-3, 240).

Fast fact: The last time these teams met was in the second round of the 2007 playoffs, when Chaparral kicked a 27-yard field goal with a little more than a minute remaining, leading to an ugly shouting match between a few Los Osos coaches and fans.

Prediction: Chaparral 24, Los Osos 20.

Chino Hills (6-4) vs. Rancho Cucamonga (9-1) at Los Osos HS, 7 pm.

How they got here: Rancho Cucamonga finished second in the Baseline League; Chino Hills finished runner-up in the Sierra League.

Matchup to watch: Chino Hills junior receiver Jack Austin (45-726, 10 TDs) vs. Rancho Cucamonga secondary (five interceptions).

Fast fact: Rancho Cucamonga is 8-2 in the playoffs over the last three seasons.

Prediction: Rancho Cucamonga 31, Chino Hills 14.

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No. 7 Redlands East Valley 48, Yucaipa 0

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
11:11
PM PT


YUCAIPA -- Nobody expected it to be that easy.

Redlands East Valley and Yucaipa brought their undefeated records into the Citrus Belt League finale Thursday night and, based on comparative scores, it appeared to be a fairly even matchup.

Not even close.

Redlands East Valley scored four touchdowns in the opening quarter and three more in the second before taking its foot off the pedal and coasting to a 48-0 victory at Yucaipa High.

The game was so one sided, the Wildcats took a knee on three consecutive plays at the end of the firsthalf and punted the ball back to Yucaipa. They played their reserves the entire second half, which was contested with a running clock.

“We thought it was going to be a game,” said Redlands East Valley quarterback Austin Decoud. “But we came out and played almost perfect football.”

The Wildcats (10-0, 5-0), ranked No. 7 in this week's ESPNLA.com prep football Top 25 rankings, scored on offense, defense and special teams in building their first-half lead.

Jamal Ellis returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. Ellis then intercepted a pass from Yucaipa quarterback Clayton Leach-Mead on the Thunderbirds’ opening drive, leading to a five-yard touchdown run by Taylor Thompson.

(Read full post)

I.E.: Top games for Thursday

November, 9, 2011
11/09/11
2:54
PM PT
A clash of unbeaten teams highlights the final week of the regular season, but there’s plenty on the line in several other leagues. Here’s a look at the top games Thursday, when many teams have chosen to play to give their players an extra day to rest up and prepare for the playoffs.

A-Game

(Inland Empire rankings included)

No. 4 Redlands East Valley (9-0, 4-0) at Yucaipa (9-0, 4-0), Thursday (7 p.m.) – It’s not often you see a matchup of undefeated teams in Week 10, but that’s what’s happening this week in the Citrus Belt League. Yucaipa has flown under the radar this season, benefiting from a fairly light nonleague schedule and a couple of close calls in league play to reach this point. Redlands East Valley shocked the Southland with a 10-7 victory against nationally ranked Mission Viejo a month ago but also had some close calls in CBL play. Yucaipa junior quarterback Clayton Leach-Mead has thrown for 867 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for 1,206 and 14 scores. He has turned the ball over just three times. He’ll be up against a defense that has 23 sacks and forced 21 turnovers.

Calpreps.com computerized projection: Redlands East Valley 28, Yucaipa 7

ESPNLA: Redlands East Valley 21, Yucaipa 14

B-List

Cajon (8-1, 5-1) at No. 10 Carter (9-0, 6-0), Thursday (7 p.m.) – Cajon gets another chance to reclaim the San Andreas League title and earn the league’s No. 1 seeding for the Central Division playoffs, but they’ll have to do it without quarterback Edwin Martinez, who suffered a knee injury two weeks ago. The Cowboys still have Washington-bound wide receiver/defensive back Damontae Kazee and his brother, running back/linebacker Deontrae Kazee. Cajon has had success using the Kazee’s in a Wildcat formation this season, so don’t be surprised if they go with that look against Carter. Look for the Lions to lean heavily on senior running back Gaylon Maxie, the No. 2 rusher in the Central Section who has totaled 1,458 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns.

Calpreps.com: Cajon 24, Carter 19

ESPNLA: Carter 27, Cajon 24

No. 5 Rancho Cucamonga (8-1, 3-1) at Los Osos (6-3, 3-1), Thursday (7 p.m.) – This game will determine the runner up in the Baseline League behind Upland and drop a pretty good team into third place heading into the playoffs. Rancho Cucamonga quarterback Dimitri Morales hasn’t been as productive as last season, when he threw for 22 touchdowns and was intercepted just once in the last seven games, but he has the experience to guide the Cougars deep into the postseason. Los Osos knows who to play their inner-city rivals tough. The Grizzlies have lost four straight against Rancho Cucamonga, but all four were settled by a touchdown or less, and two went into overtime.

Calpreps.com: Rancho Cucamonga 27, Los Osos 19

ESPNLA: Rancho Cucamonga 28, Los Osos 21

2 more to C

Charter Oak (8-1, 4-0) at Chino Hills (6-3, 4-0), Thursday (7 p.m.)

Chaparral (5-4, 3-1) at Murrieta Valley (7-2, 3-1), Thursday (7 p.m.)

Last week’s picks:

Calpreps: 4-0.

ESPNLA: 3-1.

Overall:

Calpreps: 26-7.

ESPNLA: 22-11.

I.E.: Five questions to ponder after Week 3

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
6:27
PM PT
Outside of the Baseline League, which league race is the toughest to predict?
The Mojave River League looks about as wide open as, well, the Mojave River. Apple Valley, Sultana and Oak Hills are sporting 3-0 records, and Serrano probably has a slight edge on those three, despite owning a 2-2 record. That's because Serrano has played a much stiffer nonleague schedule so far, highlighted by a 10-point loss to Upland two weeks ago. Upland then turned around and battered Norco, 54-27.

Is the Big VIII League looking more like the Big II at this point?
That would be correct. Corona Centennial is running on all cylinders after trouncing Chaparral last weekend, and J.W. North thinks its 2001 again. Other than that, Norco took a big step backward with its loss to Upland, Roosevelt is sputtering like an '85 Yugo and Riverside Poly couldn't even beat a team from the Mountain Pass League last weekend. The Big VIII's combined record is 11-13, while the Baseline is 15-9.

What’s the most surprising 4-0 team?
Yucaipa is well known for its baseball and cross-country programs, but most of the top football players in area come down the hill and play for Redlands East Valley. However, the Thunderbirds defeated San Gorgonio, 42-31, on Friday night to run their record to 4-0 for the first time since 1997. Clayton Leach-Mead, a junior quarterback, has been the linchpin on offense for the Thunderbirds, passing for 370 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for 699 and seven scores. Defensively, senior inside linebacker Nate Pascale has five sacks, just one short of his total last season.

Which team has surpassed Roosevelt as the biggest disappointment in the I.E.?
Roosevelt got a much-needed victory last week, so now it’s Redlands that seems to be falling apart at the seams. The Terriers have lost three straight games to fall to 1-3 and it won’t get any easier as they play Rancho Cucamonga (4-0) at Los Osos High this week. With quarterback Mike Stallone returning this season, as well as talented running back Darryl Miller, Redlands was expected to make a run at REV for the Citrus Belt League title. At this rate, however, the once-mighty Terriers might have a hard time just getting into the playoffs.

Biggest gamble of last weekend?
Carter was trailing Lakeside, 7-0, in the fourth quarter Friday night and was just stopped on third down to bring out the punt team. A bad snap sent the punter, Clayton Atlas, into the end zone to retrieve the bouncing ball. Even though Atlas was not tackled and never went to the turf, one of the referees signaled a safety on the play. After the referees huddled, it was determined that the whistle was inadvertently blown and the kick would be replayed. On the second chance, Atlas kept the ball on a fake punt and ran 33 yards for a first down. The next play, Gaylon Maxie ran 48 yards for a touchdown and the Lions decided, 'Why not go for two points?' They won that gamble as well, taking an 8-7 lead in a game they eventually won, 14-7.

I.E.: A closer look at the Citrus Belt League

August, 11, 2011
8/11/11
10:53
PM PT
CITRUS BELT LEAGUE

Last season’s results: Redlands East Valley (8-3, 5-0); Redlands (7-3-1, 3-2); Yucaipa (6-5, 3-2); Fontana A.B. Miller (5-5, 3-2); Rialto Eisenhower (1-9, 1-4); Fontana (0-10, 0-5)

Players to watch: Redlands East Valley will have the luxury of a 1-2 punch in the backfield. Jesse Riley was a first-team all-league selection as a junior last season, playing a key role in a 24-22 victory against rival Redlands by rushing for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll be joined by junior Taylor Thompson, who brings a more bruising running style. REV also returns quarterback Austin Decoud and a dominant offensive lineman in Dominique Robertson, who reportedly has an offer on the table from Arizona State. Edmund Faimalo also returns up front, as well as junior tight end Blake Braun, both first-team all-league picks a year ago. Defensively, the Wildcats will lean on defensive lineman Justin Sedivy and outside linebacker Trevor Douglass. Redlands figures to provide the biggest obstacle for REV again this season. The Terriers also return their quarterback, senior Mike Stallone, and a gifted ball carrier in junior Darryl Miller, who left an impression at the end of last season by rushing for 137 yards and two touchdowns in a first-round playoff loss to Norco. The most heralded newcomer to the CBL is Reshawn Hooker of A.B. Miller. Hooker, a senior linebacker who transferred from San Bernardino Arroyo Valley in the offseason, is rated as the 49th best player in the state by Rivals.com. He reportedly has scholarship offers from six Pac-12 schools, including UCLA. Boise State is also high on his preference list. Yucaipa made the playoffs last season as the league’s third-place team and the Thunderbirds will be counting on junior quarterback Clayton Leach-Mead to continue his improvement. Nate Pascale led their defense with six sacks last season.

Projected order of finish: Redlands East Valley, Redlands, A.B. Miller, Yucaipa, Eisenhower, Fontana.

Key games: Sept. 9 – Compton Dominguez vs. Redlands East Valley @ Perris Citrus Hill HS, Fontana Summit @ Redlands; Sept. 16 – A.B. Miller @ Arroyo Valley; Sept. 23 – Los Angeles Dorsey vs. Redlands East Valley @ Citrus Hill, Etiwanda @ A.B. Miller; Sept. 30 – Redlands vs. Rancho Cucamonga @ Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos HS, Redlands East Valley @ Chino Hills; Oct. 7 – Mission Viejo vs. Redlands East Valley @ Univ. of Redlands; Oct. 21 – Redlands East Valley @ Redlands; Oct. 28 – Yucaipa @ Redlands; Nov. 4 – A.B. Miller @ Yucaipa; Nov. 10 – Redlands East Valley @ Yucaipa, Redlands @ A.B. Miller.

Alumni in the NFL: Nick Barnett, Buffalo Bills (A.B. Miller ’99); Victor Butler, Dallas Cowboys (Eisenhower ’05); Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos (Eisenhower ’04).

Fast fact: The Inland Empire has developed some intense rivalries in recent years but none have quite reached the level of Redlands East Valley and Redlands. It was one-sided at first, with Redlands winning the first five meetings between 1998 and 2002 by a combined score of 237-6. Since then, Redlands East Valley has taken control, winning six of the last eight, including four straight.

On the clock: Desert Valley League.

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