Los Angeles Preps: Joshua Long

Inland Empire: Games of the week

November, 23, 2010
11/23/10
10:19
PM PT
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.

(Read full post)

Inland Empire: Games of the week

November, 18, 2010
11/18/10
10:56
AM PT
Nobody expected Temecula Chaparral or Upland to win Southern Section titles last season either.

But then the Pumas got on a roll after finishing second in the Southwestern League and slipped by one quality opponent after another in the Inland Division playoffs, winning their first section title with a 13-7 victory against Southwestern League champ Vista Murrieta.

Over at Upland, the Highlanders squeaked into the Central Division playoffs as a wild card out of the Baseline League, then capped their championship run with a 19-7 victory against Baseline champion Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos.

Upland, now a member of the Inland Division, will host Chaparral in the opening round of playoffs Friday at 7 p.m. and, once again, both teams will enter the postseason having not fulfilled preseason expectations of winning league titles.

No worries.

The second season is here.

One of these teams is guaranteed to see their playoff hopes end in the first round, however. The other will move onto the second round and probably have their next opponent wondering: Here we go again?

Chaparral (4-6) showed as much life last Thursday in a 27-20 victory against Murrieta Valley as it has all season. Then again, the Pumas were faced with the possibility of missing the playoffs if they lost.

Antoine Arnold, considered one of the top receivers in the Inland Empire, had the best game of his injury-filled season, catching six passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES