Los Angeles Preps: Corona Santiago

NorcoMartin Henderson/For ESPNLA.comNorco, ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN HS, won the CIF-SS Division 1 title Saturday.

IRVINE -- Every champion deserves a worthy rival, and Norco has Corona Santiago. The two powers from the Big VIII League have engaged in countless battles over the years, and have combined for six Southern Section championships since 1998.

The seventh championship belonged to Norco, which made plays, got key hits and clutch pitching to score a 6-4 victory Saturday to win the Division 1 championship at Barber Park.

The championship is Norco's third, to go with season-ending victories in 2003 and 2009, in which it beat Santiago. It also capped a season in which the Cougars will finish as the No. 1 team in the nation.

Santiago (23-10), which upset Garden Grove Pacifica -- while it was No. 2 in the nation at the time -- was trying to win its second championship in a row. It also won titles in 1998, 2004 and 2006.

Santiago appeared to be out of the game, but scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull to 6-4.

"They're a great opponent," said Norco coach Rick Robinson. "We had a 6-0 lead and I told them to play like it was 0-0.

"I was concerned the entire time."

The tying run was at the plate when the game ended, on Yvon Minogue's line drive back at pitcher Emily Lockman. The Nebraska recruit speared the ball and history.

"It's just really awesome to know I helped my team, I gave 100 percent and in the end we won."

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I.E: Final boys basketball top 10

March, 26, 2012
3/26/12
4:27
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1. Etiwanda, 30-3: The Eagles finished with their third 30-win season in the last seven and should be in good shape for the next couple years with the return of sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin, who averaged a team-high 17.8 points. Etiwanda was taken out by Long Beach Poly in the Division 1AA semifinals for the second straight season, then fell to Loyola in a Southern California Regional second rounder.

2. Eisenhower, 20-8: The Eagles established their run-and-gun identity as the season moved along, and had one of the top players in the I.E. to facilitate that style in shooting guard Marvelle Harris, whose play helped him earn a scholarship from Fresno State in the process. Eisenhower’s season ended with a close loss to Long Beach Poly in the quarterfinals.

3. Elsinore, 28-5: The Tigers came up short of their first section final appearance since 1974, losing by nine points to Mayfair in the Division 2A semifinals. They came back to beat Thousand Oaks in the program’s first SoCal Regional appearance before losing to Inglewood in the second round of Division 2. E.J. Twyman played up to expectations entering his senior year, averaging 26.9 points.

4. Colony, 22-10: Two straight losses to end the season didn’t dampen an otherwise strong run by the Titans. Their season was highlighted by a 73-71 victory against second-seeded Compton in a Division 2A quarterfinal. Colony then lost a back-and-forth game against Righetti to prevent the program from advancing to the championship game for the second time in four seasons.

5. Murrieta Valley, 25-3: Righetti took out the third-seeded Nighthawks the round before they beat Colony, ending an otherwise strong season. They won three tournaments prior to Southwestern League play, then defended that title. Darius Butler scored in double figures in every game en route to averaging a team-high 19.6 points, while Reid Shackelford proved to be one of the I.E.’s most improved players, averaging 16.8.

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Roundup: Third-seeded Taft loses

March, 10, 2012
3/10/12
11:39
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The Woodland Hills Taft boys’ basketball team, seeded third in the Southern California Regional Division I playoffs, was upset Saturday night by visiting Fresno Bullard, 70-63.

Taft led by nine points at the half and appeared headed to a semifinal meeting against second-seeded Long Beach Poly, but Bullard opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run en route to outscoring the Toreadors, 48-32, in the second half.

Kris Yanku scored 18 points to lead Taft and Anthony January had 14 before fouling out with 25 seconds remaining.

Corey Silverstrom scored 23 points to lead Bullard to its biggest victory in program history.

In Division II:
Inglewood 60, Elsinore 55 -- The fifth-seeded Sentinels knocked off the fourth-seeded Tigers and earned a semifinal matchup Tuesday at top-seeded La Costa Canyon. Second-seeded Mayfair advanced to the semifinals in the bottom half of the bracket, knocking off San Joaquin Memorial, 49-48, and will host third-seeded San Diego Lincoln.

In Division III:
San Diego Cathedral Catholic 89, Oak Park 79 (2OT) -- After letting a four-point lead slip away at the start of the fourth quarter, Oak Park climbed back from a seven-point deficit with two minutes remaining to force the first overtime. The fifth-seeded Eagles then hit a buzzer-beating 3-point shot to force the second extra period. Oak Park scored the first three points of the second overtime before the fourth-seeded Dons seized control for good.

Pasadena 77, Bell 44 -- Pasadena senior shooting guard Blake Hamilton scored 23 of his 25 points in the opening half as the second-seeded Bulldogs built a 53-17 lead. Pasadena will meet sixth-seeded St. John Bosco in the semifinals Tuesday at Monrovia High. St. John Bosco upset third-seeded Calabasas in another quarterfinal.

In Division IV:
Pacific Hills 62, Crespi 54 – The fifth-seeded Bruins trailed by nine points at the half but stormed back over the final two quarters to beat the fourth-seeded Celts. Pacific Hills will meet top-seeded Gardena Serra in Tuesday’s semifinals. Serra knocked off ninth-seeded San Diego Francis Parker, 53-31.

La Verne Lutheran 57, Visalia Central Valley Christian 52 – Lutheran forward Grant Jerrett scored 27 points to lead the second-seeded Trojans to the victory. Lutheran advanced to play Price, a 67-51 winner against La Jolla Country Day in another quarterfinal. Lutheran beat Price by two points in the regular-season finale.

In girls’ Division I:
Summit 45, Corona Santiago 44 – The fifth-seeded SkyHawks held on to beat the fourth-seeded Sharks. Summit took a six-point lead with 1:37 remaining, but Santiago sophomore Chrishae Rowe converted a four-point play with a minute left to pull the Sharks back to within two. Summit didn’t give up the lead, however, and moves on to a semifinal meeting Tuesday against top-seeded Mater Dei.

Second-seeded Brea Olinda will host third-seeded Long Beach Poly in the other semifinal.

In Division II:
Foothill 50, Ventura 48 – A steal and layup by Dayanara Armenta with 2:49 remaining gave fifth-seeded Foothill a 45-36 lead, and the Knights held on to beat fourth-seeded Ventura. Foothill will meet top-seeded Lynwood in one semifinal, while second-seeded J.W. North and sixth-seeded Palisades will play in the other.

Girls: Mater Dei 71, Cor. Santiago 32

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
5:49
PM PT


ANAHEIM -- The Mater Dei girls’ basketball team has a way of making good teams look bad.

The second-seeded Monarchs took on unbeaten Corona Santiago on Tuesday afternoon in a Southern Section Division 1AA semifinal and wasted no time sprinting away from the third-seeded Sharks en route to a 71-32 victory at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

Mater Dei Girls
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comA 25-0 run that began in the first quarter fueled Mater Dei to an easy win over previously undefeated Corona Santiago.
Mater Dei used a 25-0 run that stretched from the first quarter and into the second to take a 20-point lead and the Monarchs never looked back.

“Coming into an arena-type setting, to shoot as well as we did in the first quarter, I think that gave us a huge advantage,” said Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan.

Santiago (30-1) scored the game’s first five points before the Monarchs finally got on the board on a three-point basket by Kaija Powell with 5:14 left in the first quarter.

Mater Dei (29-3) kept on scoring, ending the first quarter on a 22-0 run and then scoring the first three points of the second. The Monarchs shot 6-for-10 from beyond the three-point stripe in the opening quarter.

“Usually, it’s harder to shoot the threes in this type of setting, but we’ve been shooting pretty well lately,” Kiernan said. “I think that got us off to a great start.”

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I.E.: Boys' basketball Top 10

February, 5, 2012
2/05/12
10:53
PM PT
Most of the top teams in the I.E. held their ground last week, with several clinching outright league titles, or at least a share, heading into the final week of the regular season.

1. (1) Etiwanda, 24-1: Sam Flemming scored with 15 seconds remaining to lift the Eagles to a 70-69 victory Tuesday at Upland, keeping them perfect in Baseline League play. Etiwanda came back to win its 21ststraight game Friday night and clinch the outright league title at Los Osos. Next: Tuesday @ Alta Loma.

2. (2) Eisenhower, 16-7: The Eagles clinched their third consecutive outright Citrus Belt League title with victories last week against visiting A.B. Miller (79-49) and at Redlands East Valley (61-34). Eisenhower wasn’t able to keep up with Fairfax on Saturday afternoon at the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei and lost, 73-67. Next: Wednesday @ Redlands.

3. (4) Elsinore, 22-3: The Tigers are well on their way to a fourth straight Sunbelt League title after defeating Temescal Canyon (64-57) and Perris (57-55) last week. Elsinore has won 29 consecutive league games. Next: Wednesday @ Heritage.

4. (5) Murrieta Valley, 21-2: The Nighthawks maintained their one-game lead on Vista Murrieta in the Southwestern League with wins last week at Great Oak (46-35) and Murrieta Mesa (60-39). Reid Shackelford sank five of seven three-pointers against Murrieta Mesa. Next: Tuesday vs. Vista Murrieta.

5. (3) J.W. North, 19-5: Last week began with another hiccup in Big VIII League play, an 11-point loss at Riverside Poly, but the Huskies came back with wins against visiting Roosevelt (64-49) and at Corona Santiago (53-48) to clinch at least a share of the league title with two games remaining. Next: Monday @ Riverside King.

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I.E.: Boys' basketball top 10

January, 16, 2012
1/16/12
9:48
AM PT
The top seven teams from last week’s rankings went unbeaten, while the Big VIII League did some reshuffling as J.W. North reemerged as the team to beat.

1. (1) Etiwanda, 17-1: Sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin continues to be the model of consistency, scoring 21 points in a 56-35 win at Glendora and 20 in a 61-43 victory against visiting Upland. Next: Tuesday vs. Los Osos.

2. (2) Murrieta Valley, 16-1: The Nighthawks opened Southwestern League play with victories last week against Temecula Valley and Great Oak. Reid Shackelford was the high scorer of the week with 25 points Thursday against Great Oak. Next: Tuesday vs. Murrieta Mesa.

3. (3) Elsinore, 13-2: The Tigers opened Sunbelt League play Wednesday with a 68-47 victory against Lakeside. E.J. Twyman and Lawrence Chamberlain scored 24 points each for Elsinore, which came back to defeat Temescal Canyon on Friday. Next: Monday vs. Leuzinger at St. Bernard HS.

4. (4) Eisenhower, 9-6: The Eagles are off to a 2-0 start in Citrus Belt League play after downing Yucaipa (59-48) and A.B. Miller (74-39) last week. Marvelle Harris scored 22 of his game-high 27 points in the first half Friday night against Miller. Next: Monday vs. Ayala at Los Osos HS.

5. (5) Summit, 13-6: Isaiah Taylor was the high scorer in victories last week against visiting Jurupa Valley and Bloomington. The 6-1 senior guard scored 22 in the 74-54 victory Wednesday against Jurupa Valley and 27 on Friday in the 87-43 win against Bloomington. Next: Wednesday at Norte Vista.

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I.E.: The final Top 10

December, 19, 2011
12/19/11
12:18
AM PT
Well, that’s a wrap on the 2011 high school football season. The Inland Empire is certainly more respected than ever for what it accomplished this fall, beating Pac-5 Division foes Mission Viejo, Alemany, Crespi, Loyola, Tesoro and Mater Dei. They also staged a few memorable matchups against each other, none better than Vista Murrieta’s 35-28 come-from-behind victory against defending champion Corona Centennial in the Inland Division championship game. Here’s a look at the final top 10 of the season.

1. Vista Murrieta, 9-5 – The Broncos went undefeated on the field, beating state-ranked J.W. North, Upland and Centennial in the final three rounds of the Inland Division playoffs. Vista Murrieta self-reported an ineligible player prior to Southwestern League play -- a player who would quickly become eligible --leading to the forfeiture of all five nonleague victories. Many believe the Broncos deserved a state bowl bid but were passed up in favor of two-loss Santa Margarita, largely due to their forfeits. Vista Murrieta will be an early favorite to make the trip next season, as its best player, running back/strong safety Su’a Cravens, is set to return, as well as quarterback Nicholas Stevens and middle linebacker Bryce Smith, the Inland Division’s leading tackler.

2. Corona Centennial, 12-2 – Before the season, Centennial coach Matt Logan said the Huskies would need four or five games to find their footing. Try six quarters. The Huskies won 12 straight after their season-opening loss to St. Bonaventure, all but one by a wide margin. They quickly developed chemistry between a veteran offensive line and first-year senior starters Hayden Gavett at quarterback and Romello Goodman at running back and churned out yardage like past seasons. They came up one drive short against Vista Murrieta, however.

3. Upland, 12-1 – For most of the season, the Highlanders seemed like the front runner to unseat Centennial, but they ran into the same Vista Murrieta storm as the Huskies and saw their run end with a 39-18 semifinal loss. Still, they opened plenty of eyes with a 38-23 nonleaguue victory against L.A. private-school power Loyola and another one-sided victory against Baseline League foe Rancho Cucamonga.

4. Rancho Cucamonga, 11-2 – With 14 starters back from a team that lost in double overtime of the 2010 Inland Division semifinals, the Cougars came into this season ranked No. 2 in the ESPNLA Inland Empire preseason rankings. They weren’t as prepared as Upland and lost that clash, but got off the mat to beat fourth-seeded Redlands East Valley in the Inland Division quarterfinals and then put a scare into top-seeded Centennial in the semis before ultimately losing, 41-21.

5. Redlands East Valley, 11-1 – Give the Wildcats credit for turning the national spotlight on the I.E. in Week 5 with their 10-7 victory against nationally ranked Mission Viejo. They went on to finish the regular season undefeated but fell back into their habit of losing early in the playoffs. A nonleague victory against City Section-power Dorsey also stands bright on their resume.

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L.A. South: Top first-round playoff games

November, 18, 2011
11/18/11
9:30
AM PT
It's win or go home now. Here are Friday night’s top first-round playoff games in south Los Angeles County:

Pac-5: Huntington Beach (8-2) vs. No. 16 Loyola (8-2) at L.A. Valley College, 7 p.m. — The Loyola Cubs have some momentum after coming back from a 15-point deficit in the Serra League finale against Crespi. Loyola tailback Wyatt Bradford could eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, and senior quarterback Nick Cotton is coming off his best game of the season (17 of 28 for a season-high 208 yards and four touchdowns). The impressive thing about the Cubs is that if opposing teams want to grind it out, they will too.

Inland: Corona Santiago (7-3) at No. 19 Charter Oak (9-1), 7 p.m. — The Sierra League champion Charter Oak Chargers might be the league's only hope for a playoff win, given that third-place Damien plays at Vista Murrieta and runner-up Chino Hills heads to Rancho Cucamonga. An attractive matchup against undefeated Upland looms in the second round, but senior quarterback Travis Santiago (2,629 passing yards and 21 touchdowns) will have to steer his group clear of overlooking Corona Santiago.

Southeast: Bonita (6-4) at Arcadia (8-2), 7 p.m. — The defending Southeast Division runner-up Bonita Bearcats capped the regular season with four consecutive wins, so they've got a bit of swagger heading into this one. It's not the same team coach Eric Podley had last year but running backs Cameron Griffin and Reggie Turner and receiver Garrett Horine were capable weapons during the season. And speaking of weapons, Arcadia has its share in quarterback Myles Carr, the top-rated signal caller in the area according to ESPNU Recruiting, and Washington-bound receiver Taylor Lagace.

Mid-Valley: Pomona (6-4) at Monrovia (7-3), 7 p.m. — Will defending Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia take its first step toward a repeat? Highly touted defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, rising linebacker prospect George Frazier and the rest of the Wildcats defense appears to have found its groove in Rio Hondo League play, allowing under six points per game on average. Monrovia might be on upset alert, though: Three of Pomona's four losses were by a combined 10 points, and the Red Devils gave top-seeded Covina all it could handle.

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.

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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I.E.: The Top 10

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
10:25
PM PT
The regular season came to a close last weekend and the top teams retained their momentum heading into the Southern Section playoffs. Another undefeated team makes its debut in the top 10, but it’s one-loss Corona Centennial that remains the team to beat.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 9-1 – Hayden Gavett passed for a career-high 356 yards, all in the first half, in a 58-3 victory Thursday against Riverside King. Believe it or not, he was out-shined by King kicker Garrett Swanson, who booted a 60-yard field goal to become the first I.E. kicker to hit from that distance. Next: vs. Redlands, Friday.

2. (2) Upland, 10-0 – The Highlanders began looking forward to the playoffs at halftime, as they led Alta Loma, 42-3, before finishing off with a 49-3 victory Thursday night. Ten different players carried the ball for Upland. Next: vs. Murrieta Valley, Friday.

3. (3) Vista Murrieta, 5-5 – The Broncos bucked off Murrieta Mesa in a 51-20 victory Thursday night, but now the defense has some question marks after allowing 20 or more points for the fifth time this season. Next: vs. Damien, Friday.

4. (4) Redlands East Valley, 10-0 – The Wildcats appear to be rolling on all cylinders after defeating Yucaipa, 48-0, in a matchup of undefeated teams Thursday night. REV scored all its points in the first half. Next: vs. Norco, Friday.

5. (5) Rancho Cucamonga, 9-1 – The Cougars scored 31 consecutive points after giving up the first touchdown Thursday night against Los Osos and went on to win, 38-14, to secure second place in the Baseline League. Next: vs. Chino Hills, Friday.

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I.E.: The Top 10

November, 6, 2011
11/06/11
11:39
PM PT
The Inland Empire top 10 went unbeaten last week. In fact, nine teams won by at least 20 points and seven clinched at least a share of a league championship.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 8-1 – The Huskies faced an injury-depleted Roosevelt team Friday night and didn’t show any mercy in the 45-24 victory, which all but sewed up another outright Big VIII League title. Next: at Riverside King, Thursday.

2. (2) Upland, 9-0 – The Highlanders found themselves tied late in the second quarter Friday against Los Osos, then stepped on the gas and scored five consecutive touchdowns in the 49-21 victory, clinching at least a share of the Baseline League title. Next: vs. Alta Loma, Thursday.

3. (3) Vista Murrieta, 4-5 – The Broncos also wrapped up at least a share of the Southwestern League title and a likely top four seeding for the Inland Division playoffs with a 23-14 victory against Murrieta Valley. Next: vs. Murrieta Mesa, Thursday.

4. (4) Redlands East Valley, 9-0 – The Wildcats finally put some distance between themselves and their opponent in a 49-0 victory Friday against Fontana. Now they need to prepare for another tough battle in their Citrus Belt League finale. Next: at Yucaipa, Thursday.

5. (5) Rancho Cucamonga, 8-1 – Dimitri Morales and Jermel Walker hooked up on two long touchdown passes Friday night in a Baseline League game against Glendora, and the Cougars needed every yard in the 34-13 victory. Next: at Los Osos, Thursday.

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I.E.: The Top 10

October, 30, 2011
10/30/11
11:47
PM PT
There was no letting up for the top seven teams in last week’s rankings, but there was some turnover at the bottom. Two additional undefeated teams make their debut after winning key league games last week. Meanwhile, a Big VIII League team dropped out of the top 10 for the second consecutive week.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 7-1 – For the third consecutive game, the Huskies punted the ball just once, and for the sixth straight game they scored at least 48 points in a 49-6 victory Friday at Corona. Next: vs. Roosevelt, Friday.

2. (2) Upland, 8-0 – Upland fullback/defensive lineman Christian Powell landed a scholarship offer from Washington last week, then went out Friday night and scored a touchdown on both offense and defense in a 49-3 victory against Glendora at Citrus College. Next: vs. Los Osos, Friday.

3. (3) Vista Murrieta, 3-5 – The Broncos forfeited five games last week for using an ineligible player but returned to winning games on the field in a 45-24 victory Friday against Great Oak. Su’a Cravens rushed for three touchdowns in the victory. Next: vs. Murrieta Valley, Friday.

4. (4) Redlands East Valley, 8-0 – The Wildcats had five more sacks in a 34-14 victory Friday against Eisenhower, raising their season total to 23. REV surged to a 27-0 halftime lead. Next: vs. Fontana at Citrus Valley HS, Friday.

5. (5) Rancho Cucamonga, 7-1 – The Cougars returned two kickoffs for touchdowns Friday in a 30-27 victory against Etiwanda, the second coming by Chris Hawkins with 3:30 remaining, providing Rancho Cucamonga its final three-point edge. Next: vs. Glendora at Los Osos HS, Friday.

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I.E.: The Top 10

October, 23, 2011
10/23/11
11:25
PM PT
Two ranked teams dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten last weekend and another needed overtime to keep its perfect record intact. Nine unbeaten teams remain in all from the Inland, Central and Eastern divisions, including one top 10 newcomer.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 6-1 – The Huskies passed their final true test of the regular season with flying colors Friday night, using the tandem of quarterback Hayden Gavett and running back Romello Goodman to dismantle Norco, 45-18. Next: at Corona, Friday.

2. (2) Upland, 7-0 – The Highlanders once again proved they might be the only Inland Division team capable of staying with Centennial come playoff time, delivering another solid all-around performance in a 31-17 victory Friday against visiting Rancho Cucamonga. Next: vs. Glendora at Citrus College, Friday.

3. (5) Vista Murrieta, 7-0 – The Broncos are another team that has the defense to compete with anyone in the Inland Division, they just need to find a bit more offense. They held Temecula Valley to 64 total yards Friday night in a 41-3 victory. Next: at Great Oak, Friday.

4. (3) Redlands East Valley, 7-0 – The Wildcats had to rally late against Redlands to avoid being part of the second-biggest upset in the Inland Empire this season. They scored a touchdown with five minutes remaining Friday to tie Redlands and then won in overtime, 21-14. Next: at Eisenhower, Friday.

5. (4) Rancho Cucamonga, 6-1 – The Cougars finally got a chance to play a top 25 opponent and they likely learned a few things in the 31-17 loss to Upland. Mainly, win the turnover battle and you have a much better chance to win the game. Next: vs. Etiwanda at Los Osos, HS, Friday.

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I.E.: Games of the Week

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
7:42
PM PT
League play kicks off this week for the remainder of the I.E., and the Southwestern League doesn't waste any time, opening up with two excellent matchups. Meanwhile, the Big VIII League will feature its only remaining undefeated teams in a cross-town showdown, and the Baseline League opens up with a potential high-scoring affair.

A-Game

(Inland Empire top 10 rankings included)

No. 13 Vista Murrieta (5-0) at Chaparral (2-3), Friday (7:30 p.m.) – These programs don’t own a long history but what they have experienced is pretty energized. Vista Murrieta is 5-3 in the series but Chaparral owns the biggest win, a 13-7 victory against the Broncos in the 2009 Inland Division final. Four of the meetings have been settled by three points or fewer, with two stretching into overtime. The player to watch for Vista Murrieta is junior Su’a Cravens, a strong safety by trade but a major part of the offense this season as well. Out of necessity, Cravens has been playing running back for the Broncos, giving them a great weapon as a runner or receiver. Chaparral will need San Diego State-bound quarterback Matt Morin to be consistently sharp, something he has struggled with this season. The Pumas have their own stellar strong safety in Arizona State-bound senior C.J. Dozier.

Calpreps.com computerized projection: Vista Murrieta 34, Chaparral 6

ESPNLA: Vista Murrieta 26, Chaparral 20

B-List

No. 14 Upland (5-0) vs. Etiwanda (3-2) at Colony HS, Friday (7 p.m.) – Two of the top three teams in the Baseline League square off in the league opener. Both teams have offenses that should keep the scoreboard operator busy. Upland is led by running back Donta Abron and wide receiver Kenny Lawler, who have immense big-play ability. The Eagles will count on quarterback Larry Cutbirth to match Upland point for point. Look for the game to turn on the game’s first non-scoring change of possession, whether it’s a turnover, missed field goal or simply a punt.

Calpreps: Upland 42, Etiwanda 28

ESPNLA: Upland 56, Etiwanda 35

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

October, 10, 2011
10/10/11
6:24
PM PT
How can one-loss Corona Centennial continue to be ranked No. 1 in the I.E. ahead of unbeaten Redlands East Valley, Upland, Vista Murrieta and Rancho Cucamonga? By ranking standards, Centennial's two-point loss to St. Bonaventure was a long time ago. The Huskies were breaking in a new quarterback and running back that night in early September, and they were facing their toughest nonleague opponent at their most vulnerable part of the schedule. Starting about the third quarter of their second game against Mater Dei, the Huskies have been playing like the team of last season, when they went all the way to the Division 1 state bowl game. Redlands East Valley, Upland and Vista Murrieta each had the luxury of building themselves up for their best nonleague opponents, all the while Centennial was getting better too. Not sure there are too many other teams in the Southern Section that have the firepower to build a 42-6 lead over J.W. North with 10 minutes still remaining in the first half. That's the same J.W. North team that beat Alemany earlier this season.

What team should probably be in the I.E. top 10 but isn’t? This goes back to the first week of the season as well, but the big difference between Centennial and Summit's season-opening losses is Summit's relates to head-to-head competition. Summit lost to Etiwanda, 49-36, in Week 0, and Etiwanda went on to put a big scare into top 10 members Norco and Vista Murrieta before losing by less than a touchdown each time. Summit has steadily gotten better too, posting shutouts in its last three games while scoring 40-plus points, the latest a 49-0 road win against Southwestern League member Murrieta Mesa. If it’s any consolation to the SkyHawks, Etiwanda also dropped out of the top 10 this week to make room for Corona Santiago, a 49-22 winner against previously No. 6 Norco. The Eagles will have a shot to get back into the top 10 when they host No. 3 Upland on Friday night in a Baseline League game. Summit, well, the toughest part of its schedule is in the rear-view mirror.

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