Los Angeles Preps: Hayden Gavett

I.E.: All-region football teams

December, 19, 2011
With the season officially over for Inland Empire football teams, it proved to be a memorable year with the parity that enveloped the area this season and a number of top players are expected back again next year. Here’s a look at the top players in the I.E. from the 2011 season.


Su’a Cravens, Vista Murrieta, Jr., 6-2, 205 – Cravens was a game-changer on both sides of the ball for the Broncos and a big reason for their first Southern Section title this season. He scored touchdowns when the offense needed them most, and on defense took turns making plays in both the backfield and secondary. Cravens touched the ball 95 times on offense, averaged 10.5 yards a touch and scored 19 touchdowns. On defense, he had 11 sacks and three interceptions, one for a game-clinching touchdown against Chaparral.


Romello Goodman, Corona Centennial, Sr., 5-5, 165 – Goodman took advantage of the talent around him and rushed for 2,758 yards and a state-leading 44 touchdowns. He was at his best in the postseason, rushing for 1,170 yards and 17 touchdowns in four games.


Christian Powell, Upland, Sr., 5-10, 240 – Powell was a force on both sides of the ball but he was especially dangerous on defense, recording an Inland Division-leading 15 sacks. Nebraska, Texas A&M and Washington are among the colleges in pursuit of his services.


Tyler Rausa, Vista Murrieta, Sr., 5-8, 170 – Rausa booted a Southern Section-leading 19 field goals in 14 games, an Inland Empire record for a single season. The Broncos were setting Rausa up for a game-winning kick in the Inland Division final against Centennial last week, but instead scored on 30-yard run in the 35-28 victory.


Coley Candaele, Vista Murrieta – Coming into the season, it didn’t appear Candaele had much in the cupboard on offense, but he found ways to move the chains and get it into the end zone, most notably giving Cravens a chance to run and catch the ball. Junior quarterback Nicholas Stevens also appeared to gain comfort with Candaele’s system as the season rolled along and, like Cravens, will be back next season for another run at the section title.

(Read full post)

I.E.: The final Top 10

December, 19, 2011
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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Inland: Vista Murrieta 35, Corona Centennial 28

December, 10, 2011

MURRIETA -- Coming into the football season, there was no doubt where the strength lied on the Vista Murrieta football team. They had some jewels on the defensive side of the ball, but were young and inexperienced on offense.

They sure learn in a hurry.

The Broncos won a shootout, 35-28, against high-scoring Corona Centennial in the Inland Division championship game Friday night at Vista Murrieta High, scoring the winning touchdown on a 30-yard run by junior quarterback Nicholas Stevens with 26 seconds remaining.

The offense had grown so confident, they were begging coach Coley Candaele to pass on setting up for a field goal while trailing by a point in the final minute and go for the touchdown.

”We were setting up for a field goal, there was no doubt,” Candaele said. “The offensive guys were wanting to take shots and I was being conservative and wanted to put it in our kicker’s hands. They were playing for the pass too, and we got them on the run.”

Stevens faked a handoff then weaved through the defense en route to the biggest touchdown in school history.

“I just started running for my life,” he said. “Our goal was to get in field goal range, and the line blocked the play perfectly and the hole opened up.”

Stevens also threw two touchdown passes for the Broncos (9-5), who will wait until Sunday to hear whether they’ve been accepted for a state bowl bid next week at Home Depot Center. Vista Murrieta went undefeated on the field, but had to forfeit five nonleague game for using an ineligible player who was later granted a hardship waiver to continue playing.

“If they don’t choose us, then it’s wrong, just pure wrong,” Candaele said.

(Read full post)

Preview: Centennial at Vista Murrieta

December, 7, 2011
The CIF-Southern Section Inland Division championship game is upon us, and it couldn’t arrive soon enough. In a much-anticipated rematch of last season’s title game, Vista Murrieta is scheduled to host defending champion Corona Centennial on Friday at 8 p.m. Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of what to look for and which team likely owns the edge.


Centennial senior Hayden Gavett had some big shoes to fill this season but has performed beyond expectations. He enters the game with 2,051 passing yards and 19 touchdowns, along with 1,009 rushing yards and 16 scores. Vista Murrieta junior Nicholas Stevens is another first-year starter who took over for a graduated Pac-12 Conference recruit. Stevens has shown great progress during the postseason and enters with 1,558 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, plus an additional 798 yards and eight scores on the ground. He has just one turnover in the last eight games. Advantage: Centennial.

Running back

It has been a while since the Inland Empire has seen a running back go on a postseason tear like Romello Goodman of Centennial. He has rushed for 993 yards and 15 touchdowns during the playoffs, eclipsing the 300-yard barrier in all three victories. He enters the game with 2,581 rushing yards, which betters the 15-game total of teammate Barrington Collins last season. He's tied with Collins with 42 touchdowns. The Broncos spread the ball around much more on offense. Stevens is always a threat to run, while Aaron Piecukonis is usually called on to get the tough yards early on. The big-play artist, goal-line specialist and late-game closer is Su’a Cravens, who has 14 touchdowns in 72 carries this season. Advantage: Centennial.


Issac Crandall and Chase Krivashei have been the go-to guys when Centennial feels like throwing the ball. Crandall, a transfer from Roosevelt, has 33 receptions for 580 yards and eight touchdowns. Krivashei has caught 37 balls for 596 yards and six scores. The best receiver for Vista Murrieta is Cravens, but he can’t play everywhere so his opportunities are usually limited. Darion Williams is another skilled two-way player who uses his athleticism to make plays when needed, and Cody Piecukonis demonstrated his big-play abilities in a 39-18 semifinal victory last week against second-seeded Upland. Advantage: Vista Murrieta.

(Read full post)

Corona Centennial blazing a familiar path

December, 5, 2011
LONG BEACH -- The drive to The Grand hotel should be a familiar one for Corona Centennial football coach Matt Logan, yet he might need a GPS the next time he makes the 40-mile trek.

“I think we’ve taken a different way every time,” he said Monday at the Southern Section football luncheon, an annual get-together that recognizes the teams that qualified for this weekend’s championship games.

The Huskies have had a table at the event seven of the last 12 years. They arrive so regularly, they might as well save their nameplate for next December.

This season’s group will travel to Vista Murrieta on Friday night for the Inland Division championship game. It’s a rematch of last season’s final, won by Centennial, 45-21. The top-seeded Huskies are 6-0 in section championships, but remain leery of an opponent that’s loaded with talent on both sides of the ball.

“They’re a very good team,” Logan said of the Broncos. “They’ve got some great athletes mixed in with what they do already. It’ll be a challenge for us.”

So far, the biggest obstacle for the Huskies has been themselves. Led by first-year starters at quarterback and running back, the offense faced some early adversity and a pinch of self doubt, but responded by scoring 41 points or more in the last 11 games.

Looking back, the turning point seems crystal clear.

After blowing a six-point halftime lead in the season opener and scoring just seven points in the second half of a 29-27 loss to visiting St. Bonaventure, the Huskies trailed Mater Dei by two touchdowns midway through the third quarter the following week, again with just seven points on the scoreboard.

The coaching staff looked at one another and just shook their heads.

“We were kind of at our wit’s end,” Logan said. “As coaches, we were like, ‘What are we doing here? It looks like we haven’t been practicing, or doing anything.’ "

But the Huskies finally found their rhythm behind quarterback Hayden Gavett and running back Romello Goodman and pulled out a 28-20 victory. The Huskies haven’t come close to losing since.

“In my mind, that was a complete turning point for us,” Logan said. “We mounted that comeback and things kind of clicked from there.”

Getting the mental part of the game under control was the biggest hurdle.

(Read full post)

Chaparral hopes to reel in Centennial

November, 22, 2011
Hayden GavettCourtesy of Joe WheatCentennial quarterback Hayden Gavett will be one of many players Chaparral will need to slow to have a chance.

Redlands may have provided a blueprint on how to score against Corona Centennial but other than Mother Nature, nobody has designed a way to stop its offense in recent years.

The latest coach to inherit that challenge is Ryan Tukua of Chaparral, whose Pumas are preparing to play the top-seeded Huskies in an Inland Division second-round game Friday night at Centennial.

While watching tape of the Huskies’ 49-35 victory last week against Redlands, he nearly blistered his thumb hitting the pause button.

“Centennial did not get stopped one time on offense,” Tukua said. “It seemed like they’d score within two minutes of getting the ball.”

Of course, the Pumas (7-4) have a few things going for them; a solid defense, a defensive coordinator, Stan Hunt, who recently coached at Centennial (10-1) and a history of knocking the Huskies off their perch.

The teams first met five years ago, in the same round and the same spot of the Inland Division bracket. Centennial, undefeated and the top-seeded team at the time, had no answer for Chaparral running back Talmadge Jackson, who rushed for 313 yards and four touchdowns in the 42-28 upset.

Centennial eliminated the Pumas from the playoffs the next two seasons but Chaparral earned some payback in 2009. After upsetting top-seeded Redlands East Valley in the second round (the same spot of the bracket as this season), the Pumas beat Centennial in an overtime thriller, 43-35. They completed their magnificent playoff run with a 13-7 victory against Southwestern League rival Vista Murrieta in the championship game.

That was the last time the Pumas had anything to celebrate against Centennial, however. The teams have met in nonleague play the last two seasons, with Centennial winning by a combined score of 94-26.

(Read full post)

CIF-SS playoffs: Inland Division

November, 13, 2011
CIF-SS playoffs:
Inland Division
No surprise which is the team to beat in this division. Since its season-opening loss to St. Bonaventure and a come-from-behind win against Mater Dei in Week 2, Corona Centennial has put up 45 points or more in its last eight victories, all of which were over by halftime. The Huskies will need to weed their way through a handful of undefeated and one-loss teams to win a second consecutive Inland Division title. Here’s a breakdown of the division:

The seeds: No. 1 Corona Centennial, No. 2 Vista Murrieta, No. 3 Upland, No. 4 Redlands East Valley.

Best first-round matchup: Norco (6-4) at Redlands East Valley (10-0) -- Based on postseason history, this game can go either way. Norco is 20-6 in the playoffs over the last eight seasons and never lost in the first round in that span. Redlands East Valley, meanwhile, has struggled to get deep into the postseason, evident by its first-round exit last season after winning the Citrus Belt League title.

Toughest road: Vista Murreta (5-5) -- The Southern Section didn’t punish Vista Murrieta in the seeding order because of its five nonleague forfeits for using an ineligible player, but the second-seeded Broncos will likely face the toughest second-round opponent of any of the top four seeds. J.W. North (9-1) is coming off a 45-15 victory against Norco in the Big VIII League finale and also owns a victory this season against Alemany, the Serra League champion.

Potential shocker: Murrieta Valley at Upland, first round -- It’s easy for a team to get caught looking ahead when they have their sights on a bigger prize. Murrieta Valley is no pushover, however, losing by just nine points to Vista Murrieta two weeks ago. The third-seeded Highlanders need to play as if they deserved the second seed and they should do fine.

Darkhorse: Rancho Cucamonga (9-1) -- The Cougars have been laying low this season. They didn’t post a big-time victory but did beat Sierra League champion Charter Oak in nonleague play. Rancho Cucamonga also has a number of players back from last season’s team that lost to Vista Murrieta in the double overtime of the Inland Division semifinals.

Final analysis: The seeding committee dropped the ball by seeding Upland behind Vista Murrieta. Perhaps they took into account that Vista Murrieta beat Crespi, Upland beat Loyola and Crespi then beat Loyola, but Vista Murrieta has had issues on offense all season and now its defense appears to be springing leaks, allowing 58 points in the last three games.

Championship prediction: Upland vs. Corona Centennial – A number of teams with shiny records stand in the way of Corona Centennial winning a second consecutive Inland Division title, but in reality only Upland has what it takes on both sides of the ball to stay with the Huskies. Redlands East Valley and Vista Murrieta don’t appear to have enough talent on offense to win a shootout with Centennial, and J.W. North has some holes on defense that the Huskies have already exploited in a 52-34 victory during Big VIII League play, a final score that was much closer than the competition. If the Huskies can continue to get solid play from quarterback Hayden Gavett and running back Romello Goodman, and avoid any soggy conditions that hampered them in the state championships last season, they should make it to the end. Corona Centennial 42, Upland 35.

Link to the Inland Division bracket on CalPreps.com

No. 6 Centennial 52, No. 23 North 34

October, 7, 2011

CORONA -- A casual observer might look at the final score of the Big VIII League game between Corona Centennial and J.W. North and consider it a shootout.

In reality, the game was over before halftime.

Centennial scored 42 points in the first 13 1/2 minutes Friday night, then cruised to a 52-34 victory against the visiting Huskies.

Centennial pulled its starters with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the third quarter and J.W. North took advantage by scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns against the reserves to make the score closer than the game ever was.

“I was really happy with our play, especially the first-team units,” said Centennial coach Matt Logan. “The first-team defense only gave up two touchdowns to a very good offensive team.”

Despite hardly moving the ball in the fourth quarter, Centennial still finished with 573 yards of total offense.

Romello Goodman rushed for 223 of his 229 yards in the first half, and all three of his touchdowns. Centennial quarterback Hayden Gavett finished with 139 yards rushing in five carries and also scored three first-half touchdowns. He contributed another 178 yards through the air, including a 34-yard touchdown pass to Chase Krivashei, his final play before exiting the game.

“We thought they were going to come out and it was going to be a shootout,” Goodman said. “We put together out best game of offense this year.”

(Read full post)

I.E.: Games of the Week

October, 6, 2011
Is this the week that Redlands East Valley jumps into the mix with a huge upset against an out-of-county foe? Can J.W. North become just the second team to ever win a Big VIII league game against Corona Centennial? Will some key additions for Corona Santiago help the Sharks get over the hump against Norco? These are just a few of the questions awaiting Week 5.


(ESPNLA top 25 rankings included)

No. 23 J.W. North (4-0, 1-0) at No. 6 Centennial (3-1, 1-0), Friday ( 7 p.m.) – Forget that little matchup over in Redlands, this game actually means something to the Inland Empire landscape. J.W. North shocked the Southland in Week 2 when the Huskies went for two in the final minute to topple Alemany, 36-35, the same night Centennial came from behind in the second half to beat Mater Dei, 28-20. Neither team has trailed since. Centennial quarterback Hayden Gavett has settled in as a first-year starter, and running back Romello Goodman is doing his best Barrington Collins imitation, picking up where last season's main ball carrier left off. Centennial hasn’t faced a team as athletic as J.W. North. Justin Gheorghe is just the third Inland Empire quarterback to surpass 1,000 yards passing this season, and he has a sensational deep threat in 6-foot-3 senior receiver Aaron Peck, who is averaging just over 26 yards a catch with five touchdowns this season.

Calpreps.com computerized projection: Corona Centennial 42, J.W. North 26

ESPNLA: Corona Centennial 48, J.W. North 38


No. 2 Mission Viejo (4-1) vs. No. 21 Redlands East Valley (4-0) at University of Redlands, Friday (7:30 p.m.) – One of the surprise teams out of the gate has been Redlands East Valley, not so much that the Wildcats are still undefeated at this point, but how they got there. Three shutouts in four games and 12 points allowed overall will earn some attention, and a lot of folks in Mission Viejo are approaching this game with some concern. The Wildcats have a second-year quarterback in Austin Decoud, their leading rusher from last season in Jesse Riley, and four returning starters on the offensive line. They're just as stacked with experience on defense, especially up front with junior defensive lineman Kylie Fitts recording 4 1/2 sacks through three games, and senior strong safety Trevor Douglass having a hand in four of the team’s 12 takeaways. Mission Viejo quarterback Alex Bridgford hasn’t been flashy but he has been efficient, passing for at least 200 yards every game this season. The running game hasn’t been slowed too much by the loss of Buzzy Yokoyama, out since Week 1 because of a foot injury.

Calpreps.com: Mission Viejo 17, Redlands East Valley 14

ESPNLA: Mission Viejo 28, Redlands East Valley 14

(Read full post)

No. 7 Corona Centennial 48, Riv. Poly 6

September, 29, 2011

RIVERSIDE -- The Corona Centennial football team moved the ball at will Thursday night against Riverside Poly, pulled its starters late in the third quarter at Ramona High and built such a large lead that a running clock was instituted during the fourth quarter.

And still Centennial coach Matt Logan had a look of chagrin after the 48-6 victory in the Big VIII League opener for both teams.

“We’ve got a ton of room for improvement, more than we probably need,” he said. “It’s disappointing because I expected us to really progress this week.”

The Huskies, ranked No. 7 in the Southland by ESPNLA, were again hampered by ill-timed penalties and costly turnovers, the kind of mistakes they could get away with against Riverside Poly but which cost them a victory earlier this season against St. Bonaventure and forced them to come from behind late in the game to beat Mater Dei.

Centennial had two touchdowns called back in the first half on holding penalties and another long run inside the five-yard line wiped out by a yellow flag.

Riverside Poly scored its only touchdown after the ball was snapped over the head of quarterback Hayden Gavett and the Bears recovered at the Huskies 32.

“Obviously we had some snapping issues,” said Logan, who earned his 150th victory not quite halfway through his 15th season at the school.

To the Huskies defense, they were playing without starting center John Hamilton, who sat out because of a sore Achilles tendon. Another starting offensive lineman, left tackle Lio Lafaele, left the game because of a sore knee.

“He had surgery on it in the offseason, so it was just more of a precautionary thing,” Logan said of Lafaele, one of four returning starters on the offensive line.

The Huskies need to be careful with their injuries and find a way to clean up their act, as they face perhaps their toughest test in league play next week, hosting undefeated J.W. North. Logan says he expects both Hamilton and Lafaele to be ready for the Huskies. Whether they can avoid any further mistakes is yet to be seen.

“You make mistakes against those guys, they’re touchdowns,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready.”

Gavett has definitely been a bright spot this season. He completed 12 of 18 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears.

Running back Romello Goodman also chipped in 120 rushing yards in 11 carries and scored twice.

Even the reserves for Centennial proved to be too much for Riverside Poly, outscoring the Bears starters, 14-0.

ESPNLA prep football Top 25: Week 3

September, 19, 2011
Alemany and Mater Dei were the only ranked teams to lose last week, so there aren't any newcomers to the latest ESPN Los Angeles prep football 25. There are six matchups between ranked teams this week, making for an intriguing slate of games as nonleague action winds down across the Southland. Here are our rankings heading into Week 3:

1. Servite (3-0)
Cody Pittman had 230 passing yards -- 147 going to favorite target Sam Hunt. But not all went well for the Friars, who will be without running back Charlie Etiaki (collarbone) for over a month. Last week: Beat La Habra, 24-16. Next: vs. Edison at Huntington Beach HS, Fri., 7 p.m.

2. Long Beach Poly (3-0)
The crowd's exhale at Veterans Stadium was clearly audible after the Jackrabbits survived a late charge by a City Section favorite Friday night. Coach Raul Lara had his defense to thank. Last week: Beat Narbonne, 19-16. Next: at Mission Viejo, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

3. Santa Margarita (3-0)
Ryan Wolpin carried 20 times for 133 yards and scored four touchdowns, and the Eagles picked off four passes to beat a neighboring school for the second straight week. Last week: Beat Trabuco Hills, 35-14. Next: at Carson, Fri., 7 p.m.

4. Mission Viejo (2-1)
The Diablos were obviously glad to be back in town following their humbling trip to New Jersey. Alex Bridgford, Jahleel Pinner and D.J. Wilson got the explosive offense back on track. Last week: Beat La Quinta, 47-21. Next: vs. Long Beach Poly, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

5. St. Bonaventure (2-0)
Give the Seraphs credit for not lollygagging through their Marmonte League opener. They could have easily overlooked Royal, instead setting their sights on this week's highly anticipated game. Last week: Beat Royal, 59-0. Next: at Oaks Christian, Fri., 7 p.m.

6. Corona Centennial (1-1)
There's no questioning the Huskies' heart, that's for sure. Hayden Gavett led a late charge to erase two-touchdown deficit, helping Centennial avoid what would have been a demoralizing 0-2 start. Last week: Beat Mater Dei, 28-20. Next: vs. Chaparral, Fri., 7 p.m.

7. Crespi (3-0)
Serra League coaches might have been jumping for joy after the graduation of Kenny Stenhouse, but Cody Cordell might cause some headaches this fall. The junior threw for five touchdowns in Fresno. Last week: Beat Clovis West, 42-28. Next: at Palisades, Fri., 7 p.m.

8. Oaks Christian (1-1)
Sophomore Brandon Dawkins threw the ball only six times in his varsity debut but half went for scores. Ishmael Adams added 121 rushing yards to help the Lions bounce back from their season-opening loss. Last week: Beat Agoura, 50-11. Next: vs. St. Bonaventure, Fri., 7 p.m.

9. St. John Bosco (3-0)
As expected, the Braves are spreading the ball around on offense, averaging nearly 38 points through three games. Cal-bound Bryce Treggs either beats defenses by himself or serves as a decoy. Last week: Beat Santa Fe, 51-0. Next: vs. Loyola at L.A. Valley College, Fri., 7 p.m.

10. Alemany (2-1)
In the biggest shocker so far, the Warriors blew a 14-point lead on the road Friday and lost, snapping their 15-game regular-season winning streak. The schedule doesn't get easier, either. Last week: Lost to J.W. North, 36-35. Next: at Chaminade, Fri., 7:30 p.m.

(Read full post)

IE: Five questions to ponder after Week 1

September, 12, 2011
Q: What’s wrong with Corona Centennial?

A: In short, nothing that can’t be fixed by coach Matt Logan and his army of assistants. The Huskies lost to St. Bonaventure, 29-27, on their home field Friday night, an early blow to their hopes of returning to the state bowl championships. Hayden Gavett, who made his varsity debut at quarterback for Centennial, certainly can’t be blamed for the loss. He led his team on four touchdown-scoring drives and was setting up for another when he committed his only error, a costly red-zone interception early in the second half. What Gavett lacks in size compared to his predecessor, Michael Eubank, he compensates with better speed and a stronger throwing arm. Logan looks as if he was right on the money when he said the Huskies wouldn’t hit their stride until midway through the regular season. Logan, by the way, isn't free of blame for the St. Bonaventure loss. He passed on a field-goal attempt on fourth and eight inside the 20-yard line early in the fourth quarter, and the Huskies came up woefully short. The Seraphs then proceeded to march down the field and take a 29-20 lead with 4:23 left. Logan rolled the same dice during the Division 1 state bowl final last season against Palo Alto, didn’t come close and lost that game by two points as well.

Q: When will Rancho Cucamonga get noticed?

A: Hopefully soon. All the Cougars have done this season is shut out their first two opponents, Silverado and Great Oak, by a combined score of 87-0, yet they are still ranked No. 5 in the latest SS-Inland Division coaches' poll. Rancho Cucamonga, which returned 14 starters from a team that lost in double overtime of an Inland Division semifinal, should gain more attention if it can continue winning handily over the next two weeks. The Cougars travel to Pasadena Muir on Friday and Covina Charter Oak the following week and both teams are ranked in their respective divisions. Rancho Cucamonga's biggest regular-season game is also on the road, Oct. 21 at Upland.

(Read full post)

Football: No. 9 St. Bonaventure 29, No. 2 Corona Centennial 27

September, 10, 2011

CORONA — Before the St. Bonaventure football team could begin thinking about a CIF state bowl bid, the Seraphs had to figure out a way to beat Corona Centennial.

The Huskies have been to the state finals the last three seasons and seem to own the formula on what it takes to get there.

But the Seraphs put a big dent in Centennial’s chances for a fourth straight trip to Home Depot Center and likely boosted their own hopes of getting back with a 29-27 victory Friday night at Centennial.

“We’ve got the upper hand,” said junior running back Zack Green. “We’re probably going to state now.”

Green and Shaun Wick each ran for more than 100 yards against a defensive front led by Arizona State-bound tackle Milo Jordan.

“They pretty much ran the ball down our throats,” said Centennial coach Matt Logan.

Wick also had a key red-zone interception as Centennial looked to expand its lead on the opening drive of the second half. The Huskies came out of halftime owning a 20-14 advantage and marched inside the St. Bonaventure 20 on a 33-yard reception by Isaac Crandall and a roughing-the-passer penalty on the same play.

But Wick read the eyes of Centennial quarterback Hayden Gavett and snatched the ball out of the air inside the five-yard line.

“I was taking a run blitz, but then I saw pass and dropped back,” Wick said of his interception. “I jumped up and got it.”

(Read full post)

IE: Games of the week

September, 7, 2011
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.

Football: No. 2 Corona Centennial

August, 30, 2011
Corona Centennial has firmly established itself as the prominent program in the Inland Empire. The Huskies are coming off their second trip to the state bowl championships in the last three years and sixth Southern Section title since 2000.

Centennial enters 2011 in a unique situation, however. The Huskies lost standout quarterback Michael Eubank (Arizona State) and running back Barrinton Collins (Weber State) to graduation, but return four offensive linemen, the most experienced group Matt Logan has coached in 15 years at the school.

Centennial will have far fewer holes to fill on a defense that allowed an average of 14.2 points a game, though most were scored well after the game had been decided.

Here’s a closer look at the Huskies.

Team: Corona Centennial.

Coach: Matt Logan, 15th season.

2010 Record: 14-1. Lost to Palo Alto in the Division 1 state bowl championship.

Returning starters: 10 total. Four on offense, six on defense.

Key players on offense: RB Romello Goodman, OT Lio Lafaele, OG John Hamilton, OT Cameron Hunt, QB Hayden Gavett, OL Anthony Juarez.

Key players on defense: DL Milo Jordan, DL Ngata Tuihalamaka, CB Izaac Colunga, LB Ahkeel Chambers, OLB Isaiah Ashby, DB Miquan Johnson.

Difference maker: His statistics didn’t really stand out last season but Centennial defense lineman Milo Jordan sure did, routinely absorbing two or three blockers at a time, enabling a linebacker to roam free and make the tackle. Opposing coaches certainly noticed Jordan’s game-changing abilities, electing him defensive MVP in the Big VIII League. Jordan, at 6 feet 3, 280 pounds and firmly committed to Arizona State, is expected to be an even more intimidating force as the Huskies try to defend their Inland Division championship.

Newcomers: WR Chase Krivashei, WR Isaac Crandall, OLB Vann Dennis, WR Ryan Pascarella.

Not to be missed: Sept. 9 vs. Ventura St. Bonaventure. No better way to test those preseason rankings than to match a couple of top 10 teams in Week 1. Corona Centennial is historically a first-half team, often securing a double-digit lead before the band takes the field for intermission. St. Bonaventure, meanwhile, is known for its in-game adjustments and ability to come from behind. Should be a good one.

Coach’s comment: “Well be pretty physical on both sides of the ball,” Logan said. “It kind of depends how fast we can get experience [in the backfield]. It might take a couple weeks or so but we expect to be a much better team midway through the season.”

Final analysis: With the quarterback situation a lot greener this season and the nonleague schedule much tougher with the addition of St. Bonaventure, it’s possible the Huskies could take some lumps in the month of September. Any losses, as we’ve learned, are bad for the resume when it comes to awarding state bowl bids. Early on, as Hayden Gavett finds his wings at quarterback, it’ll likely be up to the defense to keep the Huskies in games, maybe even score a touchdown or two. If the Huskies live up to Logan’s expectations and begin to hit their stride midway through the season, that would leave them in good shape for Norco and Roosevelt, two of their main challengers for the Big VIII League title.