Los Angeles Preps: Devon Blackmon

Vista Murrieta defends its boys' Division 1 crown

May, 21, 2011
Elias GedyonKirby Lee/US PresswireElias Gedyon swept his three events and helped Loyola to the CIF-SS Division 2 boys track and field title.

CERRITOS — Heading into the final event, the goal was simple for the Vista Murrieta boys’ track and field team. Finish in the top four in the 1,600-meter relay and the Broncos would clinch a second consecutive Southern Section Division 1 title.

They hit their mark once again Saturday at Cerritos College, finishing second in the four-lap relay to win the team title over Long Beach Poly, 65-61, and fend off another challenge from one of the state’s most decorated programs.

“I’m ecstatic right now,” said senior Jovonte Slater, who won the only event for Vista Murrieta, a soaring leap in the long jump, but also took second in the 100, third in the 200 and ran the second leg on the final relay.

The Broncos entered the final event one point behind El Toro and six ahead of the Jackrabbits. El Toro did not have a team in the relay, so Vista Murrieta’s biggest challenge was keeping Poly within its sights during the race.

Slater, who is headed to USC on a track scholarship, took the baton and circled the track in just over 47 seconds, passing two runners on his final straightaway and catching up with Poly’s lead runner.

“I was impressed with the 47 split because I didn’t know my legs had it in me after three events,” he said. “I just did everything in my power and my body and my spirit to do it. I went out there and just ran.”

Elias Gedyon of Los Angeles Loyola ran even more.

The Oregon-bound senior swept the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 in Division 3, helping the Cubs run away with the team title.

Without being pressed, Gedyon strode to victory in the 1,600 in 4:11.15, followed by the 800 in 1:54.20 and finally the 3,200 in 9:00.37.

(Read full post)

Recruiting: Serra provides region's top WR again

February, 22, 2011
George FarmerCourtesy of Anthony WatsonSerra's George Farmer, above, will join former high school teammate Robert Woods at USC next season.

Editor's note: In the latest of a postseason series on West Coast prep football prospects, recruiting expert Greg Biggins takes a look at the region's top wide receivers now that national signing day has come and gone:

It was an overall strong year at the receiver position as several highly touted players lived up to their pre-season hype and several other players emerged as legitimate prospects with big senior seasons.

For the second year in a row, a player from Serra (Gardena, Calif.) tops our wide receiver rankings. Last year, it was Robert Woods, a freshman All-American at USC. This year, it’s Cavaliers standout George Farmer who earned the top spot.

Farmer did it all for the Cavs catching 65 balls for 1,514 yards and 14 touchdowns, added two more scores on the ground and took four kicks to the house as well. He has incredible speed and could run a sub 10.4 100 meters this year. He played full time in the secondary and some feel Farmer could be an All-American safety in college but receiver is definitely where he’ll start out and it wouldn’t be surprising if he has the same early impact as Woods.

Kasen Williams finished his career as one of the most prolific receivers in state history. He’s a big athlete who can run and shattered just about every school record while playing in four state championship games at Skyline. He ended his high school career with 232 catches, for 4,121 yards and an amazing 56 touchdowns and will be counted on to play the minute he hits the field next fall.

Brandin Cooks does everything well and has the talent to make an impact right away in college. He’s explosive with a great burst off the line and has the softest hands in the region. He’s a pure route runner and caught 66 passes for 1,125 yards and 10 touchdowns this past season.

Devon Blackmon could end up the top receiver on this list or drop down a few notches. He has tremendous speed and runs very well after the catch. He’s one of the few players capable of catching a short hitch, making five guys miss and going the distance. He must work on his hands and consistency catching the ball however as he’s still relatively new to the receiver position.

Injuries are the only thing that have slowed down Victor Blackwell the last two seasons. When healthy, he has game breaking speed and is a true deep threat. He’s wiry strong, is an advanced route runner and finished his season on a high note catching 50 balls for 976 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The Top 10

1. (1) George Farmer, 6-2, 190, Gardena (Calif.) Serra -- USC
Lived up to the preseason hype and had a dominant year on both sides of the ball.

2. (2) Kasen Williams, 6-2, 205, Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline -- Washington
Some are calling Williams the best WR in state history.

3. (5) Brandin Cooks, 5-10, 160, Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln -- Oregon State
Underrated regionally and nationally but should shine in Beavers offense.

4. (3) Devon Blackmon, 6-0, 155, Fontana (Calif.) Summit -- Oregon
Game breaker who will stretch the field right away for the Ducks.

5. (4) Victor Blackwell, 6-1, 190, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei -- USC
Has all the tools to shine at the next level.

6. (8) Devin Lucien, 6-1, 190, Encino (Calif.) Crespi -- UCLA
Blew up as a senior and might have the strongest hands in this group.

7. (7) B.J. Kelley, 6-2, 175, Fresno (Calif.) Central -- Oregon
Explosive with good hands, could play before Blackmon.

8. (12) Patrick Onwuasor, 6-2, 195, Inglewood (Calif.) -- Arizona
Great frame, tough and physical and can get deep.

9. (11) Nelson Spruce, 6-2, 190, Westlake (Calif.) -- Colorado
Polished route runner with good size and great hands.

10. (NR) Marvin Hall, 5-10, 175, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey -- Washington
Undersized but has game-breaking speed and is very productive.

The Next 10:
11. (14) Richard Mullaney, 6-2, 185, Thousand Oaks (Calif.) -- Oregon State

12. (17) Blair Holiday, 6-2, 185, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian -- Duke

13. (NR) Dominique Williams, 6-4, 185, Pomona (Calif.) Garey -- Washington State

14. (16) Tyler Trosin, 6-0, 170, Folsom (Calif.) -- Oregon State

15. (10) David Richards, 6-2, 200, Palmdale (Calif.) -- Arizona

16. (NR) Michael Thomas, 6-2, 180, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft -- Unsigned

17. (13) Rahmel Dockery, 5-10, 160, University Place (Wash.) Curtis -- Washington State

18. (19) Josh Perkins, 6-4, 180, Cerritos (Calif.) Gahr -- Washington

19. (9) Jamaal Jones, 6-2, 175, Graham (Wash.) Graham -- Kapowsin- Washington

20. (NR) Quinton Pedroza, 6-3, 205, Chino (Calif.) -- Utah

Previous posts:
Running backs

Greg Biggins is an occasional contributor to the ESPNLosAngeles.com Preps Blog. For more recruiting news, check out his Insider blog on West Coast recruiting.

Inland Empire: Updated list of high school football recruits

February, 2, 2011
Below is an updated list of high school football recruits from the Inland Empire and where they're headed.

Tight end Junior Pomee and cornerback Ryan Henderson of Moreno Valley Rancho Verde are expected to announce their decisions at 5:30 p.m. Reports indicate they're headed to USC.

Corona Centennial quarterback Michael Eubank just announced he will stick with Arizona State. His decision will be broadcast on FS West at 7 p.m. He had also considered Pittsburgh and Utah.

Eubank committed to the Sun Devils in December but recently had taken a recruiting trip to Pittsburgh. Vista Murrieta quarterback Derrick Brown recently switched his commitment from Utah to Washington, which had opened a possible spot for Eubank.


Junior Pomee, TE, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde

Ryan Henderson, DB/RB, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde


Quinton Pedroza, WR/DB, Chino

Brent Walker, OL, Norco

Michael Eubank, QB, Corona Centennial


Jake Van Ginkel, K, Upland


Adam Pulsipher, LB, Temecula Valley


Greg Henderson, DB, Norco


Nuuvali Faapito, F/LB, La Quinta


Ejiro Ederaine, LB, Corona Santiago

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Inland Empire: High school football commitments

February, 1, 2011
With the National Signing Day set for Wednesday, a number of Inland Empire football players have given verbal commitments to various schools across the country. Nothing is official until the papers are signed and returned to the respective colleges, but San Diego State and Oregon have received the most pledges from I.E. athletes. Here's the list of players and where they've committed.

Michael Eubank, QB, Corona Centennial
Quinton Pedroza, WR/DB, Chino
Brent Walker, OL, Norco

Jake Van Ginkel, K, Upland

Adam Pulsipher, LB, Temecula Valley

Greg Henderson, DB, Norco

Nuvali Faapito, F/LB, La Quinta

Ejiro Ederaine, LB, Corona Santiago

Promise Amadi, Ath., Chino

Dion Bass, DB, Corona Centennial
Todd Handley, RB, Riverside King

David Irving, DE/TE, San Jacinto

Nate Harris, RB/DB, Chino Hills

Desman Carter, DB, Fontana Kaiser
Superrior Reid, RB, Riverside Arlington

Devon Blackmon, WR, Fontana Summit
Rodney Hardrick, LB, Colton
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, S, Chino Hills
Jamal Prater, OL, Etiwanda

Larry Scott, WR, Corona Centennial

John Taylor, OL, Colton
Blake Robertson, WR, Corona

Darius Guillory, LB, Temecula Chaparral
Jemond Hazely, WR, Corona Santiago
Ryan Jack, LB, Corona Centennial
Paul Pitts, WR, Los Osos
Paul Rodriguez, OL, San Bernardino San Gorgonio
Jonathan Sanchez, DL, Vista Murrieta
Jordan Taylor, OL, Redlands

Simon Connette, DB, Corona Santiago
Tyler Ervin, RB, Colton
Sam Boyd, TE, Eastvale Roosevelt

Kelsey Young, RB, Norco

Ryan Henderson, DB/RB, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde

DeVante Wilson, DE, Corona

Derrick Brown, QB, Vista Murrieta

Marcus Mason, RB, Etiwanda

Barrinton Collins, RB, Corona Centennial

Inland Empire: Corona Centennial highlights Inland Division selections

January, 27, 2011
The All-Southern Section 11-man football teams were released Thursday and, as expected, Corona Centennial had several players representing the Inland Division.

The Huskies had five players selected to the 22-man offensive team, including quarterback Michael Eubank, the division’s offensive player of the year.

Eubank, who is expected to sign with Arizona State next week, threw for 2,831 yards and 22 touchdowns while leading Centennial to the Inland Division title and a Division I state bowl berth. Eubank also ran for 1,329 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Centennial defensive back Chris Gonzalez was named the division’s defensive player of the year over San Diego State-bound teammate and leading tackler, linebacker Ryan Jack. Gonzalez led the Huskies with seven interceptions and was second on the team in tackles. Milo Jordan, a junior lineman and top recruit for next year, was the other Centennial player selected to the defensive team.

Matt Logan completed the sweep for Centennial, winning coach of the year honors.

Inland Division runner-up Vista Murrieta had six selections and semifinalists Rancho Cucamonga and Chino Hills had five each.

Among the notable players not selected was Chaparral receiver Antoine Arnold, last season's co-offensive player of the year. Arnold played in all but two games this season but his numbers dropped significantly as the offense struggled to get him the ball. Corona defensive end DeVante Wilson, who is expected to sign with USC next week, did not return to the defensive team.

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Inland Empire: Blackmon chooses Ducks over USC, UCLA

January, 5, 2011
Oregon snared one of the Southland's top football recruits Wednesday night when Devon Blackmon of Fontana Summit committed to the Ducks at the Under Armour All-American Game in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Blackmon, who is expected to play wide receiver at the college level, chose Oregon over locals USC and UCLA. Oregon will play in the BCS National Championship game Monday against Auburn in Glendale, Ariz.

A number of other Inland Empire football players have also committed to college programs since the end of the season.

Corona Centennial quarterback Michael Eubank, who led the Huskies to the Inland Division championship and the Division 1 state bowl game, pledged to Arizona State.

Corona defensive end DeVante Wilson committed to USC, Colton linebacker Rodney Hardrick committed to Oregon, and Riverside King running back Todd Handley committed to Idaho.

Inland Empire: Championship game previews

December, 9, 2010
Corona Centennial and Vista Murrieta, who have emerged as two of the Inland Empire’s strongest football powers in the last decade, will meet for just the second time Friday night in the Inland Division championship game at Centennial.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

The only other time the teams played was two years ago in the semifinals. Centennial won, 41-14, behind three touchdown passes and two rushing by quarterback Taylor Martinez, now at Nebraska. That team went on to defeat Concord De La Salle in the CIF-Division I state bowl game and finish 15-0.

Offensively, the top-seeded Huskies (13-0) are very similar this season. They also feature a talented dual-purpose quarterback in Michael Eubank, a senior who has thrown for 2,532 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, with just three interceptions. On the ground, he has amassed 1,092 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 10.1 yards per carry.

The biggest difference between this season's offense and the 2008 version is running back Barrinton Collins, whose quick feet and explosiveness prevents defenses from focusing on Eubank. Collins has rushed for 2,026 yards (11.3 avg.) and scored 37 touchdowns.

Defensively, they’re a plus-23 in turnover ratio. Ryan Jack, a San Diego State-bound linebacker, is the team’s leading tackler.

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Inland Empire: Five things from the weekend

December, 6, 2010
1. No question top billing goes this week to Elsinore High, which pulled off one of the biggest shockers of the season Friday night, making the long trip to Fontana Kaiser and knocking off the top-seeded and previously unbeaten Cats, 20-12, in an Eastern Division semifinal. Elsinore coach Tony Peralta told reporters after the game the Tigers played rope-a-dope with Kaiser, staying close and then delivering a knockout punch at the end. In terms of high school football upsets, this was Buster Douglas vs. Mike Tyson.

2. Corona Centennial quarterback Michael Eubank admitted the Huskies were a bit overconfident heading into their Inland Division semifinal Friday night against host Chino Hills. That could have been why Centennial couldn’t put away the “other” Huskies until late in the fourth quarter. Centennial (13-0) produced its lowest point total of the season in the 42-23 victory, but still moved into seventh on the list of highest-scoring football teams Southern Section history (713). Fourth-place is only 27 points away, so the Huskies might get there by halftime in Friday’s championship game against visiting Vista Murrieta. More to come on that during the week.

3. The Vista Murrieta vs. Rancho Cucamonga double-overtime semifinal Saturday night was as close and exciting of a game as they come. Well, unless you were around in 2002, when Terrell Jackson scored eight touchdowns in the triple-overtime Division V final and Centennial beat Riverside North, 57-55. The game was intense and hard-hitting, but the players showed dignity and class when it finally ended in a pile of bodies at the goal line.

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Inland Empire: Games of the week

December, 2, 2010
One of the most impressive efforts of the postseason was delivered by Vista Murrieta in a 45-6 victory last Friday against Norco in an Inland Division quarterfinal.

On defense, the Broncos played like they knew what was coming before the ball was snapped. On offense, they attacked Norco’s weaknesses.

Well coached might be the best way to describe Vista Murrieta.

Third-seeded Rancho Cucamonga (11-1) is likely a little faster and more athletic than the second-seeded Broncos (11-1), so the visiting Cougars should make for a great semifinal opponent Saturday night.

Rancho Cucamonga senior running back Sateki Finau carved up Eastvale Roosevelt for a career-high 276 rushing yards and four touchdowns last week in a 51-36 quarterfinal victory. Quarterback Dimitri Morales threw another touchdown pass, giving him 12 touchdowns and no interceptions in the last six games.

They’ll have their work cut out for them against the Broncos' defense, however.

San Diego State-bound defensive lineman Jonathan Sanchez holds down one end of the field for Vista Murrieta, often filtering runners inside to leading tacklers Jeremy Castro and Manuel Moreno. The other key cog is sophomore safety Su’a Cravens, who already has scholarship offers from UCLA and Hawaii.

The Cougars played two Southwestern League opponents this season, beating Temecula Great Oak, 34-17, in Week 1, and eliminating Murrieta Valley, 37-13, in the first round of the playoffs. Vista Murrieta beat Great Oak, 45-18, and Murrieta Valley, 38-15, both in league play.

Three more to see:

In the other Inland Division semifinal:

Corona Centennial (12-0) at Chino Hills (10-2), Friday -- Is Chino Hills just a bump in the road in Centennial’s run for a section title? Or can the Huskies manage to put up a roadblock, something no other team has accomplished against Centennial this season?

Chances are, the former is much more likely to occur.

Chino Hills, seeded No. 4, has good athletes on the offensive side of the ball in running backs Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Nate Harris, and an opportunistic defense led by the Oregon-bound defensive back Ekpre-Olomu and nose guard Auston Johnson, who has 19 sacks, but top-seeded Centennial has great athletes at every position.

Centennial quarterback Michael Eubank will likely surpass 1,000 rushing yards and 2,500 passing yards in the game, running back Barrinton Collins is inching up on the 2,000-yard barrier and receiver Larry Scott, who received a scholarship offer from Oregon State last week, is 100 yards away from topping 1,000 for the season.

Chino Hills has taken on two Big VIII League teams with mixed results. The Huskies lost to Corona Santiago, 24-12, in Week 1, but played much better in a 70-42 victory against Corona in the first round of the playoffs.

Centennial, well, the Huskies beat both teams by a combined score of 151-34.

ESPNLA.com’s pick: Centennial 54, Chino Hills 24.

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Inland Empire: Games of the week

November, 23, 2010
The schedule shows Norco is hosting Vista Murrieta in an Inland Division second-round game Friday night, but this match-up has all the appearances of a semifinal.

Norco (9-2) finished third in the Big VIII League, however, the Cougars might just be the second-best team in this division. They also tend to peak this time of year, owning a 19-5 postseason record since 2003, including Inland Division titles in 2006-07.

Norco freshman quarterback Coltin Gerhart has his favorite receiver back, tight end Joshua Long, who missed seven games with a shoulder injury. Stanford-bound running back Kelsey Young has been one of the top ball carriers in the Southland this season.

Vista Murrieta (10-1) is seeded second after winning the Southwestern League. The Broncos are led by Utah-bound quarterback Derrick Brown, who threw a 32-yard touchdown pass with about two minutes left in last season’s semifinals against Norco, lifting Vista Murrieta to a 34-33 victory.

What differentiates these teams is the strength of their schedules this season. The Broncos only played two teams that are still alive in the playoffs. Norco has played five.

Another Inland Division game to see:

Rancho Cucamonga (10-1) at Eastvale Roosevelt (9-2), Friday – These teams don’t feature any star recruits, they just play a hard and fast brand of football.

Rancho Cucamonga running back Sateki Finau has rushed for at least 147 yards in six consecutive games, and quarterback Dimitri Morales has 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions in the last five games for the third-seeded Cougars.

Roosevelt quarterback Aaron Crone has been similarly efficient, throwing 21 touchdown passes while being intercepted just four times. In the last four games, he has completed 68% of his passes. Sam Boyd has been his No. 1 target, hauling in 43 receptions for 802 yards and nine touchdowns.

Both teams played Murrieta Valley this season with similar results. Roosevelt beat the Nighthawks, 33-12, in Week 2. Rancho Cucamonga knocked off Murrieta Valley, 37-13, in the first round of the playoffs.

ESPNLA.com’s pick: Roosevelt 31, Rancho Cucamonga 27.

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Recruiting: The top 25 players in SoCal

November, 10, 2010
Recruiting expert Greg Biggins has spent the last two months breaking down the best players in the West region for ESPNLA.com. Links to his previous posts are below.

But since we're ESPNLA.com, we asked Biggins to give us a comprehensive list of the best players in the Southern Section and City Section of the CIF.

Here is Biggins' list of the best SoCal has to offer, regardless of position.

The list includes three players from Gardena Serra and two apiece from Crenshaw, Mater Dei and, Lakewood. Listed after each player is their current college commitment. If nothing is listed, it means the player is undecide. Six of Biggins' top 25 SoCal players are committed to USC.

Letters of intent can be signed beginning Feb. 2.

1. DeAnthony Thomas, 5-9, 160, ATH, Crenshaw (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- USC
2. George Farmer, 6-2, 210, WR, Serra (Gardena, Calif.)
3. Greg Townsend, 6-3, 260, DL, Beverly Hills (Calif.)
4. Marqise Lee, 6-1, 190, ATH, Serra (Gardena, Calif.)
5. Todd Barr, 6-3, 265, DL, Lakewood (Calif.)
6. Victor Blackwell, 6-1, 190, WR, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) -- USC
7. Devon Blackmon, 6-0, 160, WR, Summit (Fontana, Calif.)
8. Jason Gibson, 6-3, 220, DE, Serra (Gardena, Calif.)
9. Tre Madden, 6-1, 215, LB, Mission Viejo (Calif.) -- USC
10. Kelsey Young, 5-10, 185, RB, Norco (Calif.) -- Stanford
11. Antwaun Woods, 6-1, 325, DT, Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) -- USC
12. Max Wittek, 6-4, 215, QB, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) -- USC
13. Junior Pomee, 6-3, 215, TE, Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley, Calif.)
14. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, 5-9, 185, CB, Chino Hills (Calif.)
15. Troy Niklas, 6-7, 260, ATH, Servite (Anaheim, Calif.)
16. Devon Moreland, 6-3, 215, DE, Salesian (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Southern Methodist
17. Jeff Worthy, 6-4, 275, DT, Whittier Christian (La Habra, Calif.) -- Boise State
18. Jalen Jefferson, 6-2, 200, LB, St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.) -- California
19. Rahim Cassell, 6-1, 205, LB, Lakewood (Calif.) -- Oregon
20. Corey Waller, 6-3, 210, LB, Poly (Long Beach, Calif.)
21. Isaac Luatua, 6-2, 290, OL, La Mirada (Calif.) -- Alabama
22. Devin Lucien, 6-1, 190, WR, Crespi (Encino, Calif.)
23. DeVante Wilson, 6-4, 230, DE, Corona (Calif.)
24. Marcus Martin, 6-3, 350, OL, Crenshaw (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- USC
25. Patrick Onwuasor, 6-2, 190, ATH, Inglewood (Calif.)

West region positional breakdowns:
Defensive ends
Defensive tackles
Tight ends
Wide receivers
Running backs
Offensive linemen

Greg Biggins is an occasional contributor to the ESPNLA.com Preps Blog. For more recruiting news, check out his Insider blog on West Coast recruiting.

Inland Empire: No. 15 Fontana Kaiser 19, Fontana Summit 7

November, 5, 2010

FONTANA — Summit was 4 minutes away from posting the biggest upset in the program’s short history, but then Kaiser snatched it all away.

The Cats, ranked No. 15 in the Southland by ESPNLA.com, scored 16 points in the final minutes Friday night to escape with a 19-7 victory against visiting Summit and give the program at least a share of its 10th consecutive Sunkist League title.

The turning point came when Kaiser punted the ball inside the Summit one-yard line with 9:43 remaining. The SkyHawks, who had two first downs through that point of the game, could not move the chains and was forced to punt.

Kaiser (9-0, 4-0) took over at the Summit 29 and began marching toward the SkyHawks’ end zone. On fourth and two at the seven-yard line, Kaiser quarterback David Bedran sneaked for the first down. One play later, running back Jimmy Awolesi broke through some are tackles and scored on a five-yard run to give the Cats their first lead, 10-7.

Summit again failed to get a first down and a bad snap on the ensuing punt went out of the end zone for a safety. Kaiser recovered an on-sides attempt and continued moving the ball against a tired Summit defense, eventually scoring on Bedran’s one-yard sneak to push its lead to 19-7.

(Read full post)

Inland Empire: Games of the week

November, 4, 2010
ESPNLA finally gets to sort out the question for ourselves.

Just how good is Fontana Kaiser?

We hope to find out Friday night beginning at 7 p.m., when the Cats, ranked No. 15 in the Southland by ESPNLA, host Fontana Summit in a battle for first place in the Sunkist League.

Looking at Kaiser’s results this season and it’s clear there’s something special under the hood.

The Cats (8-0, 3-0) shutout San Bernardino Cajon, 35-0, on Sept. 24. Cajon is ranked No. 5 in the Central Division and sits in sole possession of first place in the San Andreas League. A week later, they blew out No. 8 Palm Desert, 48-0, and prior to that shut out Big VIII League member Riverside North, 28-0.

Summit (6-1-1, 3-0) has been more streaky this season, but has the talent to make a run at Kaiser.

The SkyHawks opened the season with an impressive 42-35 victory against Etiwanda, then tied Redlands, 24-24, despite missing its best player, Devon Blackmon, due to an ankle injury. Blackmon, who plays defensive back and rotates among the skill positions on offense, is the third-highest rated recruit in the Southland by ESPNLA.

The SkyHawks were at full strength Oct. 1 against Victorville Silverado, but lost, 20-18, knocking them from their perch in the Eastern Division. Now that spot is occupied by the Cats, with Summit down at No. 4.

Three more to see:

La Quinta (7-1, 3-0) at Palm Springs (7-1, 3-0), Friday–This game has settled the Desert Valley League championship the last two seasons and this year appears no different. La Quinta defeated the Indians, 44-22, last season, but Palm Springs went on to win its first Southern Section title. La Quinta is ranked No. 2 in the Central Division, Palm Springs is No. 3. ESPNLA.com’s pick: La Quinta 24, Palm Springs 17.

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Inland Empire: Devon Blackmon is Summit's Mr. Everything

October, 25, 2010

Courtesy of Manuel Parra
The more Devon Blackmon has the ball in his hands, usually the better for the Summit High football team.

Line up Devon Blackmon underneath center, odds are he'll make the right read and throw an accurate strike for a touchdown pass. Hand the ball off to the senior and he’s more than capable of gaining the necessary yardage on the ground to keep the chains moving for the Fontana Summit High football team. Split him out wide, he just might run by the defense en route to the end zone.

Make no mistake, Blackmon’s effectiveness isn’t merely limited to life on the offensive side of the ball. Far from it, in fact.

Put him on an island at cornerback, chances are he’ll lock down the opponents top pass-catcher. Stick him at safety, Blackmon is liable to deliver a game-changing hit and force a fumble. Allow him to return punts and kickoffs, there’s a good possibility he’s going to give his team the ball back in good field position.

Blackmon is a jack-of-all-trades, he plays a number of positions, each of them equally well. Moreover, he rarely spends much, if any, time on the sidelines. And perhaps his versatility and ability to excel in most any situation best explains why the 6-foot, 180-pounder is not only one of the nation’s top all-around prospects, but also one of the country’s more sought-after unsigned recruits.

“We use Devon everywhere out on the field, all of the time, teams we play know this but they still have a tough time stopping him,’’ Summit coach Tony Barile said. “He makes an impact in so many ways, it‘s unbelievable.

“Every coach I talk to, before and after games, they always seem to bring up Devon. It’s like clockwork, it really is. The main topic of conversation is always about No. 12 and one or two of the plays he made over the course of the game. Bottom line, when the ball is in hands, good things tend to happen for us.’’

Blackmon is a playmaker indeed, Barile isn’t the only believer. Several of the nation’s top recruiting services are enamored with him. There is, after all, plenty to like. For example, ESPNU ranks him as the third best player in California, the fourth-best athlete in the country and No. 39 overall prospect overall.

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Inland Empire: Five things from the weekend

October, 4, 2010

Courtesy of Lee Calkins
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu of Chino Hills, ESPN's No. 1 cornerback prospect in California, suffered a shoulder injury against Redlands East Valley last week.

1. A big sigh of relief at Chino Hills High, where two-way standout Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is expected to be back on the field when the Huskies travel to Claremont for their Sierra League opener Oct. 15. Ekpre-Olomu, rated as the No. 1 cornerback prospect in the state by ESPN, injured his right shoulder late in the third quarter of a 14-3 victory Friday night against Redlands East Valley and did not return. "Nothing's broke, just a sprain," Chino Hills coach Derek Bub said Monday. As a precaution, Ekpre-Olomu was scheduled to see a doctor later Monday, Bub said, but the possibility of any structural damage has been reduced. Ekpre-Olomu would be an especially big asset against Claremont, as the Wolfpack are led by one of the state’s top quarterbacks, Daniel Kessler, who has thrown for 1,513 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

2. Despite the return of its own blue-chip prospect, Fontana Summit suffered one of the bigger upsets of the season Friday night. The SkyHawks, the top-ranked team in the Southern Section Eastern Division, were downed by unranked Victorville Silverado, 20-18, at Fontana Miller High. Devon Blackmon of Summit, ranked by ESPN as the 36th best college prospect in the nation, missed the two previous games because of an ankle injury but was back on the field against the Hawks, catching five passes for 36 yards. Unfortunately, kicking is not in his skill set. The SkyHawks missed the point-after following their first two touchdowns, forcing them to try an unsuccessful two-point conversion with 90 seconds remaining.

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