Los Angeles Preps: Curtis Dozier

I.E.: Inland Division second-round previews

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
7:04
PM PT
INLAND DIVISION

Second round, Friday

Chaparral (7-4) at No. 1 Corona Centennial (10-1), 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Centennial defeated visiting Redlands, 49-35; Chaparral knocked off visiting Los Osos, 38-14.

Matchup to watch: Centennial running back Romello Goodman (1,913 rushing yards, 32 TDs) vs. Arizona State-bound strong safety Curtis Dozier of Chaparral (5.5 tackles per game).

Fast fact: This will be the ninth meeting between the teams since 2006. Centennial owns a 6-2 record against the Pumas, 2-2 in the postseason.

Prediction: Centennial 35, Chaparral 24.

Rancho Cucamonga (10-1) vs. No. 4 Redlands East Valley (11-0) at Citrus Valley HS, 7 p.m.

How they got here: Redlands East Valley beat visiting Norco, 20-15; Rancho Cucamonga edged visiting Chino Hills, 39-38.

Matchup to watch: Rancho Cucamonga offensive line (averages 300 pounds) vs. Redlands East Valley defensive line (averages 275 pounds).

Fast fact: The fathers of Rancho Cucamonga coach Nick Baiz and Redlands East Valley coach Kurt Bruich are also former longtime high school coaches in the area. Dick Bruich, who coached at Fontana and Kaiser, and Bob Baiz, who was at Claremont, teamed up last summer to coach in an inaugural SoCal vs. Arizona all-star game.

Prediction: Rancho Cucamonga 24, Redlands 21.

Charter Oak (10-1) at No. 2 Upland (11-0), 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Upland routed visiting Murrieta Valley, 59-21; Charter Oak rolled visiting Corona Santiago, 63-21.

Matchup to watch: Upland 6-foot-3 wide receiver/defensive back Kenny Lawler (23.2 yards-per-catch average, five TDs last two games, three interceptions) vs. Charter Oak’s 5-8 wide receiver/defensive back Aaren Vaughns (59 receptions, 1,061 yards, 10 TDs, four interceptions).

Fast fact: Charter Oak’s only loss this season came against Rancho Cucamonga, 21-13, in Week 4. Upland beat the Cougars three weeks later in Baseline League play, 31-17.

Prediction: Upland 38, Charter Oak 28.

No. 3 Aaren Vaughns (6-5) vs. J.W. North (10-1) at Riverside College, 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Vista Murrieta defeated Damien, 38-13; J.W. North knocked off Yucaipa, 27-13.

Matchup to watch: Vista Murrieta junior middle linebacker Bryce Smith (Inland Division-leading 13.5 tackles per game) vs. J.W. North rushing attack (213 yards per game).

Fast fact: J.W. North senior quarterback Justin Gheorghe is the only member of the football team who was also on the school’s Division 1 championship baseball team last June.

Prediction: Vista Murrieta 24, J.W. North 17.

Football: No. 21 Chaparral

August, 21, 2011
8/21/11
12:08
PM PT
Temecula Chaparral swallowed enough pride last season to feed an army. The Pumas came into the year ranked 11th in the state by Cal-Hi Sports — ahead of such powerhouses as Mission Viejo, Corona Centennial and Oceanside — but quickly learned they were either very over-hyped or considerable underachievers.

Chaparral proceeded to lose its first four games and five of its first six and never lived up to expectations. The season bottomed out when the Pumas lost to Temecula Great Oak toward the end of Southwestern League play. Two months after the season ended, coach Tom Leach was fired by the school principal for reasons still unclear.

But the Pumas have a new coach and a new attitude this season, as well as some pretty good players who are eager to turn things around.

Here’s a closer look at the Pumas:

Team: Chaparral.

Coach: Ryan Tukua, first season.

2010 Record: 4-7, lost to Upland in the first round of the Inland Division playoffs.

Returning starters: 12 total. Five on offense, seven on defense.

Key players on offense: QB Matt Morin, RB Skyler Seibold, OL Matt Adamson, OL Pat Clifford, RB Justin Harris.

Key players on defense: SS Curtis Dozier, LB Josh Ponder, LB Joe Robinson, DE Teddy Queen, LB Marquis Cobb.

Difference maker: Morin seemed a bit out of sync early last season. The junior quarterback had transferred from Murrieta Valley and was taking over a team that was stacked with talent and moved with a heavy swagger. But the Pumas got off to the rocky start and Morin also struggled. The left-hander finally showed some moxie in 40-35 loss to Upland in the first round of the playoffs, throwing for 242 yards and two touchdowns. He then impressed enough at spring combines to generate a few scholarship offers, and committed to San Diego State earlier this month. Now a senior, Morin's performance could make or break the season.

Newcomers: LB Tanner Ritayik, WR Chris Stratton.

Not to be missed: at Corona Centennial, Sept. 23. These programs headed in opposite directions last season. Chaparral won the Inland Division title in 2009 and was expected to repeat, but instead it was Centennial that ran the table, including a 45-12 victory at Chaparral in Week 3. On paper, it appears the Pumas have re-closed the gap but this game won’t be played on paper, rather the intimidating confines at Centennial.

Coach’s comment: “We’re excited to compete and can’t wait until Sept. 2,” Tukua said of the season opener against visiting San Bernardino Cajon. “The players and coaches did a lot of hard work in the offseason.”

Final analysis: The Pumas are motivated to put last season in the rearview mirror. Following the dismissal of their popular head coach, the administration made a wise move and promoted Tukua from defensive coordinator. He inherited enough quality players to move Chaparral back atop the Inland Division, and won't have to guide the Pumas through such a cut-throat nonleague schedule as last season. That should allow his team to build confidence heading into Southwestern League play. With a staunch defense and an experienced quarterback, the Pumas might just reclaim their elite status.

I.E.: A closer look at the Southwestern League

August, 17, 2011
8/17/11
6:49
PM PT
SOUTHWESTERN LEAGUE

Last season’s results: Vista Murrieta (12-2, 5-0); Murrieta Valley (6-5, 3-2); Temecula Chaparral (4-7, 3-2); Temecula Valley (5-5, 2-3); Temecula Great Oak (4-6, 2-3); Murrieta Mesa (2-8, 0-5).

Players to watch: It’s shaping up to be the year of the quarterback in the Southwestern League. Three of the league’s top four signal callers return this season, led by Matt Morin of Chaparral, who committed to San Diego State earlier this month. Morin threw for 1,719 yards and 12 touchdowns last season after transferring from Murrieta Valley. He was named the top quarterback last spring at the Nike Combine at USC. Andrew Blake also returns behind center after a successful sophomore season at Murrieta Valley. In nine games, Blake threw for 1,708 yards and seven touchdowns. Temecula Valley quarterback Derrick Tarin returns after throwing for 1,574 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games. Vista Murrieta, coming off its second consecutive loss in the SS-Inland Division finals, graduated its best offensive skill players from last season, but mounting drives against its defense will remain a challenge. Su’a Cravens is a highly disruptive strong safety and one of the nation's top prospects in the class of 2013. He’ll be joined by defensive lineman Jeremy Castro, a Washington commit who had 11 sacks last season, linebacker Randy Perez (four interceptions) and defensive back Darion Williams. Perez and Williams were all-Inland Division selections last season, as well as senior offensive lineman Corey Whitaker. The Broncos also feature one of the I.E.’s top place kickers in senior Tyler Rausa. Chaparral received a big lift when senior linebacker Curtis Dozier returned to the team this summer. He had transferred to Bellflower St. John Bosco in the spring but returned after his mother was unable to secure a job transfer, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported. Dozier, who has committed to Arizona State, led the Pumas with four sacks and 113 tackles last season. He's reportedly switching to strong safety this season, where he'll be supported by senior linebacker Joe Robinson and senior defensive end Teddy Queen, both Division 1 recruits. Temecula Valley has the personnel to push both Chaparral and Vista Murrieta for the SWL title. In addition to Tarin, the Golden Bears return the league’s leading rusher, senior Kason Kennedy, who scampered for 1,392 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He surpassed the 200-yard mark three times. Temecula Valley also features the league’s top returning receiver, senior Daniel Manning, who caught 32 passes for 516 yards and two touchdowns. The Golden Bears also return one of the league’s top pass rushers in senior defensive lineman Jerome McElroy, who produced a league-leading 15 sacks.

Projected order of finish: Chaparral, Vista Murrieta, Temecula Valley, Murrieta Valley, Great Oak, Murrieta Mesa.

Key games: Sept. 2 – San Bernardino Cajon @ Chaparral; Sept. 9 – Great Oak vs. Rancho Cucamonga @ Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos HS, Vista Murrieta vs. Etiwanda @ Ontario Colony HS; Sept. 16 – Eastvale Roosevelt @ Murrieta Valley; Sept. 22 – Murrieta Mesa @ Perris Citrus Hill; Sept. 23 – Chaparral @ Corona Centennial, Temecula Valley @ Elsinore; Sept. 30 – Vista Murrieta @ Encino Crespi, Elsinore @ Murrieta Valley; Oct. 14 – Vista Murrieta @ Chaparral, Murrieta Valley @ Temecula Valley; Oct. 21 – Temecula Valley @ Vista Murrieta; Oct. 28 – Chaparral @ Temecula Valley; Nov. 4 – Murrieta Valley @ Vista Murrieta; Nov. 11 – Chaparral @ Murrieta Valley.

Alumni in the NFL: Talmadge Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (Chaparral ’07).

Fast fact: A year after winning the Inland Division title, Tommy Leach was fired last February as coach at Chaparral. School principal Gil Compton was fairly close-lipped about his decision, citing personnel issues. Leach's departure was unpopular among many players and parents, who protested at the school in the days afterward. Ryan Tukua, the defensive coordinator under Leach, took over the program. Leach is now a defensive assistant at Norco.

On the clock: Sunbelt League.

Inland Empire: Chaparral vs. Vista Murrieta still has some importance

October, 13, 2010
10/13/10
4:29
PM PT
OK, so it’s not the preeminent game in the Inland Empire this season.

That doesn’t mean Temecula Chaparral and Vista Murrieta won’t be grinding on their mouthpieces when they take the field Thursday night for their Southwestern League opener at Vista Murrieta High.

The last time these teams met was in the Inland Division championship game in December, when Chaparral pulled out a 13-7 victory to avenge a one-sided loss to the Broncos in league play.

The Pumas came into this season ranked as the best team in the Inland Empire by a number of publications, with Vista Murrieta a close second.

However, those roles were short-lived, especially for Chaparral, which lost its first four games by an average of 19 points.

During the same stretch, Vista Murrieta allowed 27 points to Etiwanda, squeaked by Corona Santiago and was then overrun by visiting Encino Crespi, 45-31.

What had been the featured match-up in the Inland Empire just a month ago was now just another league rivalry.

(Read full post)

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