Los Angeles Preps: Darryl Miller

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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