Los Angeles Preps: Kenny Lawler

Lawler signs with Cal, ending big day for I.E.

February, 1, 2012
Upland wide receiver Kenny Lawler, the last major unsigned recruit from the Inland Empire, made it official Wednesday afternoon, announcing he will sign with California.

Lawler took a last-minute recruiting trip over the weekend to California after visiting Oregon State and Washington State the two prior weekends. Heading into Wednesday’s national signing day, he was reportedly down to California and Oregon State.

The Bears return leading receiver Keenan Allen, but second-leading receiver Marvin Jones has exhausted his eligibility. A spot opened up for Lawler in Cal's recruiting class after Oaks Christian wide receiver Jordan Payton, who had committed to the Golden Bears in early January, switched to Washington last week before ultimately signing with UCLA.

Lawler said on Fox Sports Prime Ticket that a major factor in his decision was California hiring one of his longtime coaches, Charlie Collins, as a staff member.

“I know he’s going to have my back up there,” Lawler said.

The 6-3, 185-pound senior committed to Arizona State shortly after last year’s national signing day, the first school to offer him a scholarship. He stuck by the commitment until late November, shortly after the Wildcats fired coach Dennis Erickson.

Lawler caught 53 passes for 1,267 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, including nine scores in the final four games. His size and reach allows him to out-jump most defensive backs.

Lawler is one of four Upland players to sign a letter of intent Wednesday. Running back Donte Abron, Jr., defensive back Marques Mosley and fullback Christian Powell signed with Colorado earlier in the day.

Here's a full list of signings from Wednesday:

(Read full post)

Powell switches from UCLA to Colorado

January, 31, 2012
Less than 24 hours before national signing day and high school football recruits from the Inland Empire continue to sway on their decisions, or learn that a previous offer is no longer on the table.

UCLA and Colorado are two schools in the middle of some down-to-the-wire movement involving I.E. recruits.

Christian Powell, the third-ranked fullback recruit in the nation, committed to UCLA earlier this month but switched to Colorado on Monday night, reports several outlets, including Greg Biggins of ESPN Recruiting Nation.

He would be the third player from Upland to be part of the Buffaloes' recruiting class, joining running back Donte Abron, Jr., and wide receiver/defensive back Marques Mosley. Powell, at 6 feet, 250 pounds, also played defensive line for the Highlanders, recording 15 sacks last season, but is expected to play fullback in coach Eric Bienemy's offense.

Corona Santiago offensive lineman Isaiah Folasa, also once a UCLA commit under former coach Rick Neuheisel, will reportedly sign with New Mexico State on Wednesday, according to Santiago coach Jeff Steinberg.

Folasa took a recruiting trip to Colorado the weekend of Jan. 21, but the Buffaloes were unable to accept his commitment because they had ran out of available scholarships for this class, Biggins reported. In addition to the Upland trio, Arlington defensive lineman Samson Kafovalu and Citrus Hill running back Davien Payne have also pledged to Colorado.

Here’s the latest list of recruits from the I.E.

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ASU coaching change fallout

January, 19, 2012
The late-season coaching change at Arizona State continues to have an impact on recruiting in the Inland Empire.

It was reported last month that Chaparral linebacker C.J. Dozier and Upland wide receiver Kenny Lawler had de-committed from the Sun Devils after Dennis Erickson was fired Nov. 28 and replaced two weeks later by Todd Graham, who is beginning his fourth head coaching job since 2006.

Dozier, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior who averaged 5.3 tackles a game last season, took an official visit to Arizona last weekend and committed to the Wildcats, even opting to enroll at the school for this spring semester, according to the Tucson Citizen. Dozier had made a non-binding verbal commitment to Arizona State in July, prior to taking any official visits.

Lawler, who caught 53 passes for 1,267 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, is the last marquee recruit from the I.E. still undecided on his college choice. He had committed to the Sun Devils back in February, the first offer he received.

The Sun Devils appear to have retained one of their early I.E. commitments, Corona Centennial defensive lineman Milo Jordan, who reportedly re-committed after taking an official visit to Arizona State last weekend. However, the 6-2, 265-pound senior still has an official visit scheduled to UCLA this weekend.

Arizona State has done well recruiting in the Corona-Norco area in the past. On last season’s roster, six players were listed from Centennial and six from Norco.

Here’s an updated list of recruits from the I.E, both committed and uncommitted.



Matt Morin, Chaparral (San Diego State)

Austin Decoud, Redlands East Valley (Idaho)


Donta Abron, Jr., Upland (Colorado)

Davien Payne, Citrus Hill (Colorado)


Damontae Kazee, Cajon (San Diego State)

Jamaal Williams, Summit (BYU)

(Read full post)

Lawler explores his options

January, 19, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The Southland is home to its share of quality wide receivers. Kenny Lawler, however, has emerged as one of the hotter commodities around due in large part to the fact the Upland (Calif.) senior remains uncommitted and National Signing Day is right around the corner.

Oregon State appears to be the leader for the 6-foot-3 and 175-pound pass-catcher. The Beavers have recruited Lawler for a while now and the somewhat close proximity of the school to his Southern California roots could end up being one of the deciding factors.

“I really like Oregon State, I had a visit up there and it went really good, the coaching staff is great there,'' Lawler said. “They are at the top of my list right now.''

His family is on the same page when it comes to the future.

“It's coming down to the wire, but I'd have to say that Oregon State is in the driver's seat,'' said his father, Kenny Lawler Sr. “We had a visit with them last week and it went well. They are leading now, but that could all change. The next couple weeks will be interesting.''

Washington State is also considered to be a major player in the Lawler sweepstakes. Coach Mike Leach was in the family home on Wednesday night, presumably in an effort to make one final pitch. The plan is for Lawler to visit the Cougars campus this weekend.

“I was impressed with Coach Leach and his whole staff, I like what they have to offer me,'' said Lawler, who finished with 1,267 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns this season for Upland. “I have a decision to make soon and I'm going to think about all my options.''

(Read full post)

I.E.: Arizona State loses another football recruit

December, 26, 2011
The coaching change at Arizona State claimed another Inland Empire recruit last week.

Chaparral outside linebacker C.J. Dozier has de-committed from the Sun Devils, according to the recruiting publication, Scout.com.

Dozier, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior who averaged 5.3 tackles a game last season, made a non-binding verbal commitment to Arizona State in July, prior to taking any official visits.

After four consecutive losing seasons, Dennis Erickson was fired as coach of the Sun Devils on Nov. 28. Two weeks later, the school hired former Pittsburgh coach Todd Graham, his fourth head coaching job since 2006.

Shortly after Erickson was fired, Upland wide receiver Kenny Lawler also de-committed from the Sun Devils. The 6-3, 185-pound senior made a soft commitment to Arizona State back in February.

“I'm very excited to be a Sun Devil,” Lawler told ESPN at the time. “They're my first offer and I just decided to go ahead and take it. It's a soft commit, I'm still going to keep my options open and if other schools come calling, I'll still check them out but as of now, it looks good that ASU will be my school.”

According to Scout.com, Dozier is still considering Arizona State, but UCLA, Oregon, Washington, Nebraska, Arizona, Cal and San Diego State are also in the mix. National signing day is Feb.1.

Lawler, who caught 53 passes for 1,267 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, lists UCLA, Cal, Michigan State and Nebraska as his top choices.

I.E.: Top football recruits for class of '12

December, 22, 2011
Now that the high football season has ended, the recruiting period is in full swing. The Inland Empire, which has stockpiled a number of collegiate conferences over the years, has its share of blue-chip recruits again this season. Here’s a list of seniors who have made non-binding verbal commitments to schools in advance of the national signing day in early February, followed by a list of those who are still undecided.


QB -- Matt Morin, Chaparral (San Diego State); Austin Decoud, Redlands East Valley (Idaho).

RB -- Donta Abron, Jr., Upland (Colorado); Davien Payne, Citrus Hill (Colorado).

ATHLETE -- Damontae Kazee, Cajon (San Diego State); Bryan Harper, Colony (Washington); Jamaal Williams, Summit (BYU).

OL -- Lio Lafaele, Corona Centennial (Utah); Dylan LaFrenz, Los Osos (Arizona State); Isaiah Folasa, Corona Santiago (UCLA); Kyle Hart, Ridgecrest Burroughs (San Jose State).

DL -- Jeremy Castro, Vista Murrieta (Oregon); Teddy Queen, Chaparral (San Diego State); Samson Kafovalu, Arlington (Colorado).

LB -- Scott Starr, Norco (USC); C.J. Dozier, Chaparral (Arizona State); Darnell Murray, Citrus Hill (UTEP).

DB -- Donte Deayon, Summit (Boise State); Corbin McCarthy, Norco (Duke); Marques Mosley, Upland (Colorado).


ATHLETE -- Reshawn Hooker, A.B. Miller (Boise State, UCLA).

WR -- Kenny Lawler, Upland (UCLA, Oregon State, California, Michigan State).

DL -- Milo Jordan, Corona Centennial (USC, UCLA, Arizona State, Nebraska, Washington); Christian Powell, Upland (Washington, Nebraska, Texas A&M).

LB -- Joe Robinson, Chaparral (Nebraska, Arizona); Robert Wagner, Colony (Arizona, San Diego State); Nolan Peralta, Elsinore (Fresno State, San Jose State).

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.

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Inland: Upland 51, Charter Oak 13

November, 25, 2011

UPLAND -- With his team uniting for the postgame huddle near midfield, Kenny Lawler looked up over his left shoulder, and uttered a rhetorical question.

"You guys see a 40 up on the scoreboard?" Lawler asked.

The answer: Yes, because Upland, No. 8 in the ESPN Los Angeles prep football rankings, blew past No. 17-ranked Charter Oak, 51-13, Friday night to advance to the Inland Division semifinals. The other answer: No, because Charter Oak -- which like Upland was averaging exactly 44 points heading into the game -- didn't hold up its end of the deal. The No. 3-seeded Highlanders will face No. 2-seeded Vista Murrieta, which handled Riverside J.W. North, 58-14.

"Charter Oak was putting points up on everybody," Upland coach Tim Salter said. "That got us excited."

Upland (12-0) got balanced production on offense, led by Lawler's 195 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Tailback Donta Abron Jr. rushed for 191 yards and four touchdowns in 32 carries and quarterback Nate Romine passed for 291 yards in only 15 attempts.

"We have a lot of talent across the board," Abron Jr. said. "Other teams don't know what we're going to throw at them."

The explosiveness was supposed to go both ways but, instead, a running clock was used at the start of the fourth quarter. Really, it was an unexpected one-sided affair. The Upland defense came up with a safety midway through the third quarter and, on the very next play from scrimmage, Romine threw it up to Lawler for a 48-yard touchdown and comfortable 30-6 lead.

Knockout punch delivered.

"They had a better football team than us," Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar said.

(Read full post)

I.E.: Inland Division second-round previews

November, 23, 2011

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.

I.E.: 5 questions to ponder after Week 7

October, 24, 2011
1. Which team in the Inland Empire has the best chance of beating Corona Centennial? After watching Upland defeat another quality opponent by double digits Friday night, it’s clear the Highlanders are the only Inland Division team with a legitimate chance of dethroning the Huskies. They have an experienced offensive line, a talented running back, an efficient quarterback and the one thing Centennial doesn’t have on offense: a big-play wide receiver in Arizona State-bound Kenny Lawler. Defensively, they’re balanced enough to force the Huskies to punt three or four times a game, just enough to win a shootout.

2. Which team is destined for an early-round upset? Redlands East Valley is playing as if its victory against Mission Viejo three weeks ago was its championship game. Since then, the Wildcats have scraped by against much lesser foes, A.B. Miller and Redlands. That raises another question: Was the victory against Mission Viejo less to do with REV's strengths and more about Mission Viejo's weaknesses that night? If you remember, the Diablos played REV without their top two running backs. Also, the Wildcats entered the playoffs last season as the No. 1 team out of the Citrus Belt League, only to lose in the first round to Etiwanda, the No. 3 team from the Baseline.

3. Outside of the Inland Division, which is the most anticipated playoff match up? Two years ago, Citrus Hill was riding an I.E. record 38-game winning streak when it entered the Eastern Division playoffs as the top-seeded team. But the Hawks ran into another upstart program in Summit, and the SkyHawks dumped Citrus Hill in the first round, 48-36. These teams look to be on another collision course this season, and both sides feature talented Division 1-caliber athletes. Citrus Hill running back Davien Payne has committed to Colorado and teammate Darnell Murray, a middle linebacker, has offers from New Mexico State, Utah and UTEP. Summit, meanwhile, is led by Boise State-bound wide receiver/defensive back Donte Deayon.

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No. 12 Upland 31, No. 9 Rancho Cucamonga 17

October, 21, 2011

UPLAND—Upland took a lot tougher road to its Baseline League showdown Friday night against visiting Rancho Cucamonga.

The Highlanders took on Loyola, Serrano and Tustin -- programs that are just as used to winning as themselves.

The experience seemed to pay off against the Cougars, as Upland played well in every facet of the game and came away with a 31-17 victory in a match up of unbeaten teams.

“The schedule paid off,” said Upland wide receiver Kenny Lawler, who caught a 65-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter to help his team maintain a 14-point lead.

The Highlanders (7-0, 2-0) took a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter and never lost their edge.

The Cougars (6-1, 1-1) appeared on the verge of tying the score with just under four minutes remaining in the first half, but they botched a hand off at the Upland four-yard line and linebacker Bennie Robinson recovered for the Highlanders.

Upland regained its two-score advantage, 17-7, on a 46-yard field goal by Sean Aspinall as the first half expired.

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Hard work paying off for Crespi's Harper

October, 18, 2011

ENCINO -- It appears to be a typical afternoon of football practice at Crespi. The first player to emerge from the locker room is Chris Harper. The senior receiver makes a beeline to the adjacent field. Right then and there, you get the sense that things are far from normal.

There is work to be done, and apparently, Harper is intent on being first in line for reps.

Chris Harper
Courtesy of Angela MeansCrespi's Chris Harper has 10 touchdown receptions this season, ranking among the state's top 10.
A few teammates walk and talk on their way to practice. Some individuals lightly jog. However, there does not seem to be a sense of urgency. That is, until Harper decides it's time to speed up the process. Some choice words of encouragement follow. He is ready to get started.

A grueling session ensues. The drills seemingly are never-ending -- too many to count.

More than three hours later, the sun is beginning to set. Practice has been finished for the better part of 30 minutes. Most of his teammates are long gone at this point. Nevertheless, Harper is at midfield, fine tuning his skill set with a group of Celts' assistant coaches.

His work ethic is relentless. Unwavering. On a different level from everyone else.

The resolve Harper exhibits during the week in preparation for game day separates him from his peers. That type of sheer determination is paying off underneath the Friday night lights, of course, and has Harper on the verge of adding his name to the Southland's list of premier prospects.

“I let my actions speak for themselves, there is always ways to get better, to improve, that's why I never take a day off, or a play off,'' Harper said. “Nothing in life comes for free. I was always taught that if you want something bad enough, you half to work for it. That's just the way I am.''

The strategy has worked out particularly well for Harper so far. Full steam ahead.

He has been largely, although not solely responsible for the fast start at Crespi (6-1 overall) this season. The Celts are No. 14 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com Top 25 rankings as they head into Friday's Serra League showdown against No. 16 La Puente Bishop Amat (5-2).

“You can see it in his eyes, Chris is a different person once he steps on the field,'' Crespi coach Jon Mack said. “He has bought it to what we're doing here. He's a leader, in every sense.

“What people might not know about him is, he's great student with a GPA well over 3.0. He has no issues in the classroom. There are no roadblocks in his future. When you think about what it means to be a student-athlete at Crespi, Chris Harper if one of the first kids that comes to mind.

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I.E.: Games of the Week

October, 12, 2011
League play kicks off this week for the remainder of the I.E., and the Southwestern League doesn't waste any time, opening up with two excellent matchups. Meanwhile, the Big VIII League will feature its only remaining undefeated teams in a cross-town showdown, and the Baseline League opens up with a potential high-scoring affair.


(Inland Empire top 10 rankings included)

No. 13 Vista Murrieta (5-0) at Chaparral (2-3), Friday (7:30 p.m.) – These programs don’t own a long history but what they have experienced is pretty energized. Vista Murrieta is 5-3 in the series but Chaparral owns the biggest win, a 13-7 victory against the Broncos in the 2009 Inland Division final. Four of the meetings have been settled by three points or fewer, with two stretching into overtime. The player to watch for Vista Murrieta is junior Su’a Cravens, a strong safety by trade but a major part of the offense this season as well. Out of necessity, Cravens has been playing running back for the Broncos, giving them a great weapon as a runner or receiver. Chaparral will need San Diego State-bound quarterback Matt Morin to be consistently sharp, something he has struggled with this season. The Pumas have their own stellar strong safety in Arizona State-bound senior C.J. Dozier.

Calpreps.com computerized projection: Vista Murrieta 34, Chaparral 6

ESPNLA: Vista Murrieta 26, Chaparral 20


No. 14 Upland (5-0) vs. Etiwanda (3-2) at Colony HS, Friday (7 p.m.) – Two of the top three teams in the Baseline League square off in the league opener. Both teams have offenses that should keep the scoreboard operator busy. Upland is led by running back Donta Abron and wide receiver Kenny Lawler, who have immense big-play ability. The Eagles will count on quarterback Larry Cutbirth to match Upland point for point. Look for the game to turn on the game’s first non-scoring change of possession, whether it’s a turnover, missed field goal or simply a punt.

Calpreps: Upland 42, Etiwanda 28

ESPNLA: Upland 56, Etiwanda 35

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Football: No. 21 Upland 38, No. 15 Loyola 23

September, 30, 2011

UPLAND -- Inland Empire teams probably wouldn’t mind playing the Serra League a little more often.

Upland scored the latest upset against the vaunted private-school league to the north, scoring three consecutive touchdowns after falling behind early Friday night against Loyola and cruising to a 38-23 victory at Upland High.

Vista Murrieta also toppled higher-ranked Crespi on Friday night, two weeks after J.W. North stunned Alemany.

“I think we were resting on our laurels from last week,” said Loyola coach Mike Christensen, referring to his team's 28-14 victory against St. John Bosco. “Maybe they read too many newspapers.”

Upland (5-0) still had a bitter taste in its mouth from last season’s loss to the Cubs (4-1), when the Highlanders were soundly defeated, 30-13, in their final tuneup before nonleague play. Upland coach Tim Salter said the difference this time was his team's work in the trenches.

“We felt last year when we lost the game we didn’t control the line of scrimmage, and I really felt tonight we did,” he said. “They knew we were going to run the power and we ran it anyhow, even late in the game.”

The Highlanders also came up with a big momentum-changing passing play in their rematch with the Cubs, something they were unable to do last season.

Trailing by three points early in the second quarter, Upland wide receiver Kenny Lawler made a brilliant 40-yard reception that set up a two-yard touchdown run by Donta Abron and the Highlanders never trailed again.

“That really gave us some momentum,” Salter said.

Abron finished with 187 rushing yards in 24 carries and scored four touchdowns, including an 80-yard run that gave Upland a 38-17 lead with 2:51 left in the third quarter.

Now the Highlanders have a week off before playing Etiwanda on Oct. 14 at Colony High and then a key matchup the following week against Rancho Cucamonga, ranked No. 13 in the Southland.

Loyola, meanwhile, plays Valencia next week in its final nonleague tuneup. The Cubs could be without wide receiver/defensive back Chaz Anderson, who left in the third quarter because of a right knee injury and struggled to put weight on the leg while standing on the sideline. Anderson has committed to Boise State.

I.E.: Games of the Week

September, 28, 2011
Grudge week arrives with a couple of heavy-hitting cross-section matchups and one long-awaited Big VIII League opener. The Calpreps.com computer is also looking to rebound from another tough loss last week to the human brain from ESPNLA.


(ESPNLA top 25 rankings included)

No. 15 Loyola (4-0) at No. 21 Upland (4-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Upland has been a nightmare for defensive coordinators this season, averaging 46 points a game. The Highlanders exploded for 54 last week against Norco, led by by USC-bound inside linebacker Scott Starr. Upland will need to be even better this week. Against four quality offenses, Loyola is giving up an average of just under nine points a game. Keep an eye on Chaz Anderson of Loyola, a wide receiver/defensive back who has committed to Boise State. He caught two touchdown passes last week in a 28-14 victory against St. John Bosco and helped limit Bosco’s talented passing game, led by Cal-bound wide receiver Bryce Treggs, to just 121 yards through the air. Cameron Walker also stepped into a two-way role last week following the ankle injury to starting running back Wyatt Bradford. Walker responded with 76 yards rushing and a touchdown and helped form the blanket in the secondary. The Cubs will be up against another Pac 12-bound receiver in Kenny Lawler (Arizona State), but they'll also need to keep an eye on shifty running back Donta Abron, who's plenty capable of inflicting damage of his own.

Calpreps.com computerized projection: Loyola 35, Upland 28

ESPNLA: Loyola 31, Upland 30


No. 17 Vista Murrieta (3-0) at No. 4 Crespi (4-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Vista Murrieta was coasting along this time last year, then the Broncos hosted Crespi and their defense suddenly turned into a wet paper bag and they lost, 45-31. Now it’s Vista Murrieta’s turn to make the long commute to Encino and face a team with 15 returning starters and a couple of high-profile transfers, including quarterback Cody Cordell (Oaks Christian). Crespi’s most heavily recruited player is offensive lineman Jordan Simmons, ranked as the No. 5 guard in the nation by ESPN. He’s part of an offensive line that averages 280 pounds. They'll get a nice push from Vista Murrieta's defensive front, led by Washington-commit Jeremy Castro, who had 11 sacks in 14 games last season and two so far this year.

Calpreps.com: Vista Murrieta, 24, Crespi 21

ESPNLA: Crespi 27, Vista Murrieta 17

Norco (2-1) at Roosevelt (1-2), Friday (7 p.m.) – Get ready for the longest-awaited payback in the Big VIII this season. Roosevelt toppled the Cougars, 24-21, on Norco's home field last season, stopping them on fourth down with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining and putting a huge dent in their league title hopes. Roosevelt quarterback Aaron Crone threw for a league-leading 23 touchdown passes as a junior but hasn’t played this season because of an injured throwing shoulder suffered in a preseason game. If he’s still not ready to go, it could be a long night for the Mustangs.

Calpreps.com: Norco 35, Roosevelt 22

ESPNLA: Norco 42, Roosevelt 21

No. 23 Redlands East Valley (3-0) at Chino Hills (2-2), Friday (7 p.m.) – Redlands East Valley might be looking to exact a bit of revenge as well. A year ago against Chino Hills, the Wildcats were dismal on offense, managing only one field goal in a 14-3 loss. The biggest hope for Chino Hills is that REV gets caught looking ahead to next week’s game against No. 3 Mission Viejo. Chino Hills can move the ball with one of the I.E.'s top junior receivers in Jack Austin, and boasts a defense that held Pomona running back Sir Darius Yarbrough, a 600-yard rusher heading into the game, to 12 yards last week in a 37-6 victory. REV had a bit of a wakeup call the same night against Dorsey, hanging on for a 14-12 victory. The Wildcats dropped 10 passes in the last two weeks and can't afford those mistakes if they want to avoid getting embarrassed by Chino Hills again.

Calpreps.com: Redlands East Valley 26, Chino Hills 10

ESPNLA: Chino Hills 14, Redlands East Valley 13

Last week’s picks:

Calpreps.com: 4-1.

ESPNLA: 5-0.


Calpreps.com: 6-3.

ESPNLA: 8-1.