Welcome to Week 1 of the high school football season. Some big games on the docket Friday, several featuring inter-section and inter-county matchups that could go a long way toward determining regional bragging rights.
Let’s take a look at some of the best.
No. 9 Ventura St. Bonaventure (0-0) at No. 2 Corona Centennial (0-0), Friday (7:30 p.m) – Back in January, when this game was officially put to ink, folks were already talking about a clash of potential state bowl contenders. St. Bonaventure returns 13 starters from a team that reached the Northern Division semifinals, including 2,400-yard passer Marc Evans and 1,200-yard rusher Shaun Wick, but it’s the player who didn’t start last season that might have the biggest impact. Backup quarterback Nick Arbuckle drew immense praise while attending eight football camps across the country over the summer and he has been pushing Evans for the starting job. If he doesn’t start at quarterback, you can bet Arbuckle will be in the mix somewhere on offense. The Huskies, meanwhile, could be vulnerable at quarterback early on, as Hayden Gavett is scheduled make his varsity debut. Until he gets his feet wet, the defending Inland Division champions will have to depend on their experienced defense to keep the score close.
Prediction: Centennial 21, St. Bonaventure 20.
L.A. Crenshaw (0-1) at No. 18 Norco (0-0), Friday (7:30 p.m.) – Some would say the advantage in this type of evenly matched game would go to the team that has already played. Normally that would be true, but Crenshaw's confidence may have taken a step back in its 45-14 loss to Alta (Utah) last weekend, the Cougars worst defeat since a 36-point drubbing against Lake Balboa Birmingham in the 2007 City Section semifinals. Not only that, but Crenshaw was humbled by the Cougars last season, losing 25-21 on the same field. Throw in the bright lights of regional television coverage and this could be another long night for the Cougars.
Prediction: Norco 30, Crenshaw 18.
No. 21 Vista Murrieta (0-0) vs. Etiwanda (1-0) at Colony HS, Friday (7 p.m.) – Etiwanda had one of the more impressive victories last week, at least on paper, knocking off the Eastern Division’s top-ranked team heading into the season, Fontana Summit. The truth is, the Eagles really didn’t play all that great in the 49-36 victory. Etiwanda quarterback Larry Cutbirth managed to avoid the sticky fingers of Boise State-bound cornerback Donte Deayon, let’s see how he does dodging the pass rush of junior strong safety Su’a Cravens and defensive lineman Jeremy Castro (Washington).
Prediction: Vista Murrieta 31, Etiwanda 24.
Compton Dominguez (0-1) vs. Redlands East Valley (0-0) at Citrus Valley HS, Friday (7 p.m.) – Another LA-area team that’s licking its wounds after a Week 0 thrashing. Dominguez couldn’t keep up with Encino Crespi on defense and couldn’t move the ball on offense, adding up to a 48-6 romp. The big question now is, which Dominguez team is this, the one that finished 10-2 last season or 2-8 in 2008? Redlands East Valley, meanwhile, has some lofty predictions to live up to. Some publications have anointed the Wildcats as the second-best team in the Inland Empire, even though they’ve yet to prove they can win a big game outside of Citrus Belt League play.
Predication: Dominguez 27, Redlands East Valley 21.