Los Angeles Preps: Clovis East

Inland Empire: Games of the week

September, 30, 2010
What started as a blip on the radar screen at the start of the season has quickly morphed into one of the marquee games in the Inland Empire.

Chino Hills (3-1) is set to play Redlands East Valley (3-0) on Friday night at University of Redlands, a meeting between two teams that are picking up momentum with each snap of the ball.

Chino Hills is led by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (pictured), rated the No. 1 cornerback in the state by ESPN. Ekpre-Olumu, who took an official recruiting trip to Oregon two weeks ago, has been spending much of his energy on the offensive side of the ball, leading the Huskies in rushing and receiving.

With opponents opting to throw away from his side of the field, Steve Smith has effectively covered his ground with four interceptions.

Redlands East Valley, ranked No. 4 in the Inland Empire by ESPNLA.com, lost three Division I college recruits to graduation, including three-year starting quarterback Tyler Shreve, but gained attention this season with wins against Clovis East and Orange Lutheran.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Other games to watch:

Rancho Cucamonga (4-0) at Redlands (3-0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Redlands has won all three games by a touchdown or less, but staying close to the speedy Cougars will be an uphill battle. Rancho Cucamonga is led by running back Sateki Finau and wide receiver Donovan Harden, who have combined for 14 touchdowns this season. ESPNLA.com’s pick: Rancho Cucamonga 31, Redlands 17.

No. 20 Eastvale Roosevelt (3-0) at Corona Santiago (1-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Roosevelt is up against its first real test of the season in this Big VIII League opener. The Mustangs will face a team that plays extremely well at home and had an extra week to prepare. Keeping running back Joey Legere (10 touchdowns) out of the end zone will be key for the Sharks. ESPNLA.com’s pick: Roosevelt 21, Santiago 14.

No. 23 Encino Crespi (3-1) at No. 7 Vista Murrieta (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Crespi returns to the Inland Empire for the first time since losing to Corona Centennial, 29-27, in 2006. The Celts are ranked 23rdin the latest ESPNLA.com top 25 and are building confidence after knocking off Clovis West, 34-33, two weeks ago. A matchup to watch is Vista Murrieta receiver Michael Mazur against Crespi defensive back Charles Washington. ESPNLA.com’s pick: Vista Murrieta 28, Crespi 14.
Taft of Woodland Hills earned the No. 4 seed in the CIF Division I state championship boys basketball tournament. Taft, ranked No. 10 in the West Region by ESPN Rise, will play Loyola in the first round of the Southern California bracket on Tuesday night.

Taft (24-5) is coming off a 70-60 loss to Westchester in the City Section Division I championship game. Bryce Jones scored 29 points and had 12 rebounds for Taft against Westchester.

Loyola (22-7), the No. 13 seed in the Southern California bracket, is coming off a 72-59 loss to Leuzinger in the semifinals of the Southern Section Division 1A playoffs.

In other games in the L.A. North region, Buchanan of Clovis plays Mater Dei, the top-seeded team in the Southern California bracket of the CIF Division I state championships.

Mater Dei (29-1) is ranked No. 7 nationally in the ESPN Fab 50 and No. 7 in the West Region by ESPN Rise. Mater Dei beat Etiwanda, 68-65, in the championship game of the Southern SectionDivision 1AA playoffs. Buchanan is 22-7 and the No. 16 seed in the Southern California bracket.

Clovis East (26-7) from the Central Section will play Santa Monica (24-7) in the first round of the Division I state championships.