Los Angeles Preps: La Quinta

DESERT VALLEY LEAGUE

League openers: Tonight – La Quinta @ Palm Springs; Xavier Prep @ Cathedral City; Indio # Palm Desert. Friday – Coachella Valley @ Palm Desert.

Last year’s finish: Palm Springs (12-0); Palm Desert (10-2); La Quinta (7-5); Indio (7-5); Cathedral City (3-9); Xavier Prep (3-9); Coachella Valley (0-12).

Players to watch: Quintin Taylor (Palm Springs), 6-2, Jr., G; Nick King (Palm Springs), 6-1, Sr., G; Xavier Thomas (Indio), 6-4, Sr., F; Abram Montoya (Indio), 6-2, Sr., G; Jonathan Serven (Palm Desert); 6-3, Sr., G; Robert Romero (Palm Desert), 6-5, Sr., F; Mike Releford (Cathedral City), 5-10, Sr., G; Taylor Pope (La Quinta), 6-0, Sr., G; Nathan Hill (La Quinta), 6-4, Jr., G; Creighton Chaney (Xavier Prep), 6-0, Sr., G.

Predicted order of finish: Palm Springs, Indio, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Cathedral City, Xavier Prep, Coachella Valley.

INLAND VALLEY LEAGUE

League openers: Tonight – Arlington @ Moreno Valley; La Sierra @ Ramona; Canyon Springs @ Rancho Verde; Vista del Lago @ Valley View.

Last year’s finish: Rancho Verde (11-3); Canyon Springs (11-3); Arlington (8-6); Ramona (8-6); Valley View (7-7); Vista del Lago (5-9); La Sierra (3-11); Moreno Valley (3-11).

Players to watch: Jordan Grace (Rancho Verde), 6-2, Sr., G; Kendall Schmidt (Rancho Verde), 6-0, Sr., G; Lance Jones (Rancho Verde), 6-3, Jr., F; Rajshah Head (Canyon Springs), 6-0, Sr., G; Joseph Esthers (Valley View), 5-10, Sr., G; Devonte Klines (Valley View), 5-11, So., G; Stephen Scroggins (Moreno Valley), 5-11, Sr., G.

Predicted order of finish: Rancho Verde, Canyon Springs, Valley View, Arlington, Vista del Lago, Ramona, La Sierra, Moreno Valley.

SAN ANDREAS LEAGUE

League openers: Tonight – San Bernardino @ Rialto, Arroyo Valley @ Colton, Cajon @ Pacific. Saturday – Rialto @ Carter. Monday – Arroyo Valley @ San Bernardino.

Last year’s finish: San Bernardino (14-0); Cajon (11-3); Rialto (9-5); Arroyo Valley (9-5); Colton (5-9); San Gorgonio (4-10); Carter (3-11); Pacific (1-13).

Players to watch: Khleem Perkins (San Bernardino), 6-3, Jr., G; Javone Rabon (San Bernardino), 6-4, Sr., F; Jamie Jenkins (San Bernardino), 5-8, Sr., G; Richie Ragoo (Colton), 5-11, Sr., G; Devin Jones (Cajon), 6-0, Sr., G; Stephen Marshall (Arroyo Valley), Sr., G; Antonio Clemmons (Pacific), 6-0, Sr., G.

Predicted order of finish: San Bernardino, Cajon, Arroyo Valley, Rialto, Colton, Pacific, San Gorgonio, Carter.

Next up: Big VIII, Mojave River and Mt. Baldy leagues (open league play Wednesday).

I.E.: Games of the Week

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
3:37
PM PT
As the regular season winds down to the last couple of weeks, reality begins to set in for a lot of teams. Some can see the finish line in the race to a league title, while others are just hoping to hang on to that last automatic playoff spot. Here are the games that have the most meaning in the I.E. this week.

A-Game

(Inland Empire rankings included)

Heritage (7-1, 3-0) at Elsinore (7-1, 3-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Heritage beat Elsinore for the Sunbelt League title last season, 40-19, but it was Elsinore that went on to win the Eastern Division title, the program's first Southern Section championship in 83 years. Elsinore relies heavily on its run game and is loaded with players who occupied key roles in the latest postseason run. Tight end/linebacker Nolan Peralta was the league's defensive MVP last season and running backs/defensive backs Allan Stubbs and Daniel Rodriguez have combined for 2,067 rushing yards. Heritage has its own 1,000-yard rusher in junior Jamal Morrow, and one of the area's most punishing two-way players in fullback/linebacker Tony Hifo.

Calpreps.com computerized projection: Heritage 27, Elsinore 26

ESPNLA: Elsinore 24, Heritage 21

B-List

Murrieta Valley (7-1, 3-0) at No. 3 Vista Murrieta (3-5, 3-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Though this rivalry is just a few years old, it has already produced some memorable upsets on both sides. In just its second season in the Southwestern League, Vista Murrieta beat the Nighthawks in 2005 to deny them the league title. Three years later, Murrieta Valley returned the favor with a 10-3 upset, its only victory against the Broncos in six meetings. The Nighthawks will need a huge game from quarterback Andrew Blake. He delivered last week, throwing for 402 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-6 victory against Murrieta Mesa. Of course, Vista Murrieta is no Murrieta Mesa and Su'a Cravens isn't your typical team MVP. Cravens is a junior strong safety and running back who's a game changer for the Broncos on both sides of the ball, and Oregon-bound defensive end Jeremy Castro holds down the line.

Calpreps.com: Vista Murrieta 34, Murrieta Valley 7

ESPNLA: Vista Murrieta 35, Murrieta Valley 20

Los Osos (6-2, 3-0) at No. 2 Upland (8-0, 3-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – Los Osos is the last hurdle for Upland in its bid to win win the Baseline League title outright and secure a top four seeding for the postseason. Don't expect the Grizzlies to roll over and play dead, however. They might be one of the most underrated teams in the I.E.. Los Osos beat Etiwanda by seven points two weeks ago, the same margin that Upland defeated Etiwanda and better than Vista Murrieta, Rancho Cucamonga and Norco. Look for some good battles in the trenches between Los Osos offensive tackle Dylan La Frenz, who committed to Arizona State last week, and Upland defensive lineman Christian Powell, who is scheduled to take an official recruiting trip to Nebraska this weekend.

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I.E.: 5 questions to ponder after Week 4

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
4:18
PM PT
Is this the Chaparral team that we were expecting to see, or did Corona Centennial just borrow their uniforms? The shocker out of the Inland Empire last weekend wasn’t so much Upland’s victory against Loyola, or even Vista Murrieta’s triumph at Crespi, it was the 24-8 victory by Chaparral against visiting Tesoro. The Pumas were ranked No. 4 in the Inland Empire coming into the season, but they quickly dropped off the map after one-sided losses to Cajon, Oceanside and Corona Centennial. Tesoro, meanwhile, came up from the O.C. with their chests out after victories against Hart, Chino Hills and Narbonne. Chaparral should get another victory this week at Indio, and then the big test comes Oct. 14, when the Pumas host Vista Murrieta in a Southwestern League opener.

Best come-from-behind victory this season? This might go down as one of the all-time best come-from-behind victories in the history of the I.E. La Quinta was staring at a 34-0 deficit at the start of the third quarter Friday night at Ridgecrest Burroughs, but the Blackhawks forced four turnovers in the second half and John Mason scored three touchdowns to lift them to a 41-34 victory. By comparison, the largest comeback in NFL history remains the 1992 playoff game between Buffalo and the Houston Oilers, when the Bills came back from 32 points down to win, 41-38 in overtime.

Best come-from-behind victory by an unbeaten team? Valley View was trailing Arlington by nine points at the half of their Inland Valley League game Friday night, putting its unbeaten streak on the line. But the Eagles pinned their ears back on defense, shutting out the Lions in the second half while limiting them to 54 total yards. On offense, Matthew Sandoval sandwiched two field goals around an 11-yard touchdown run by Michael Harrison and Valley View (5-0, 2-0 in league play) came away with a 19-15 victory, their seventh straight in IVL play dating back to last season. Harrison, who rushed for 1,120 yards and 16 touchdowns in 11 games last season, already has 651 rushing yards and eight touchdowns this season. The Eagles will have to be even better Friday night, whey they host three-time defending league champion Rancho Verde, winner of 23 consecutive IVL games.

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IE: Five things from the weekend

September, 4, 2011
9/04/11
11:30
PM PT
1. Riverside Ramona is already the front runner for the comeback story of the season. The Rams won their opener Friday night against Riverside King, 28-7, their first victory since Oct. 30, 2009. Zack Lewis, fourth in the state in the 300 hurdles last June, scampered for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback T.J. Miller threw for two more. Ramona lost to King, 30-0, in last season’s opener, setting the tone for an 0-10 season.

2. Corona Santiago also showed it’s a much better team than a year ago. The Sharks disposed of visiting Dana Hills, 53-17, a far cry from last season’s opener, when they lost to the Dolphins, 49-20. The biggest difference is likely the maturation of junior quarterback Michael Darr, who made his varsity debut in last season’s game against Dana Hills. In the rematch, Darr was calm, cool and collected, rushing for 182 yards and a touchdown in 17 carries and throwing for 255 yards and three scores.

3. It’s safe to say that San Bernardino Cajon out-coached Temecula Chaparral on Friday night. The Cowboys surprised the Chaparral coaching staff and players with a variety of offensive formations in the 30-14 victory, including the quarterback-less Wildcat. Damontae Kazee, who has committed to Washington, did most of the damage out of the Wildcat and finished with 169 yards rushing, including a 43-yard touchdown. Ryan Tukua was making his head coaching debut for the Pumas.

4. Kickers usually don’t get much attention until it’s time to win or tie a game. Matthew Sandoval of Moreno Valley Valley View came through when his team needed it most Friday night, booting a 38-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to lift his team to a 17-16 victory at Beaumont. Ontario Colony, meanwhile, was the beneficiary of a missed point-after attempt in the final seconds against West Covina South Hills, allowing the Titans to escape with a 30-29 victory.

5. One of the more surprising blowouts of the weekend was a 49-7 victory by Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos against visiting La Quinta. The Nighthawks are usually one of the better teams in the Coachella Valley, while Los Osos is trying to break in a number of new players. “We weren’t ready to play,” La Quinta assistant coach Dave Gurbada told The Desert Sun. “We have young guys we thought would play better and didn’t.” Isn’t that the responsibility of the coaching staff?

I.E.: Summit-Etiwanda highlights opening week

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
7:27
PM PT
Through out this season, ESPNLA plans to highlight the Inland Empire's top matchups of the week, whether it's two undefeated teams going head to head in league play, a beefy offensive line against a swarming defensive front, or an offseason transfer meeting up against his former team. And what's a good preview without a prediction?

Here's what to look for this weekend.

A-GAME

Fontana Summit vs. Etiwanda at Fontana A.B. Miller HS, Friday (7 p.m.) -- One of the top passers in the Southern Section last season goes up against one of the best ball hawks. Larry Cutbirth of Etiwanda threw for 2,996 yards and 32 touchdowns last season, both stats among the top 10 in the state’s biggest section. He'll have to contend with Boise State-bound senior corner Donte Deayon, who hauled in 10 interceptions as a junior, which tied for second in the section. The game was expected to mark the long-awaited return of Etiwanda senior linebacker Chandler Scott, who sat out last season because of a knee injury after leading the Baseline League in tackles as a sophomore, but he suffered another knee injury over the summer and is expected to miss the first two games.

Prediction: Summit 26, Etiwanda 21.

B-LIST

San Bernardino Cajon at Temecula Chaparral, Friday (7 p.m.) -- Chaparral would very much like to spring from the blocks and start the season on a positive note for new coach Ryan Tukua. The matchup to watch here is also quarterback vs. cornerback. Matt Morin returns behind center for Chaparral and the San Diego State-bound left-hander will be trying to beat a Cajon secondary that includes Damontae Kazee, who has committed to Washington but has a brother, Walter, who plays running back for San Diego State. Kazee is also Cajon’s biggest offensive threat at receiver, and he’ll face a defense led by Chaparral strong safety C.J. Dozier, who has committed to Arizona State.

Prediction: Chaparral 20, Cajon 17.

Pomona Diamond Ranch at Chino, Friday (7 p.m.) -- If nothing else, this game should be interesting to watch from a coaching perspective. Chino’s balanced offense will stare down a defense coached by former Riverside North, USC and NFL defensive end Chris Claiborne, in his first season as defensive coordinator at Diamond Ranch. He'll have to find a way to stop Chino quarterback Sean Molles, who threw for 2,343 yards and 29 touchdowns last season, and running back Xavier Browne, who totaled 1,275 yards and 20 touchdowns. Claiborne was defensive coordinator the last two seasons at Corona High, where he developed defensive end DeVante Wilson, now at USC.

Prediction: Chino 28, Diamond Ranch 10.

La Quinta at Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos, Friday (7 p.m.) -- Taylor Pope might have to be a one-man band for La Quinta. The senior quarterback is the lone returning all-Desert Valley League selection from last season’s team, and one of the key pieces on defense and special teams for the Blackhawks. Los Osos missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2004 and returns just eight starters, but the Grizzlies have one of the area's better offensive guards to lean on in 6-4, 280-pound senior Dylan La Frenz.

Prediction: La Quinta 14, Los Osos 13.

I.E.: A closer look at the Desert Valley League

August, 12, 2011
8/12/11
9:52
PM PT
DESERT VALLEY LEAGUE

Last season’s results: Palm Springs (10-2, 5-0); La Quinta (10-3, 4-1); Palm Desert (6-5, 3-2); Coachella Valley (6-5, 2-3); Indio (2-8, 1-4); Cathedral City (0-10, 0-5).

Players to watch: Even with the graduation of the league’s offensive MVP, all-purpose running back Nephi Garcia, Palm Springs definitely owns the edge in returning talent. Not only does the Indians return quarterback Dane Tiedeman but he’ll have a pair of all-league receivers to choose from. Jordan White caught a team-high 34 passes for 503 yards and four touchdowns and Nick King did a lot of everything, catching 23 passes for 394 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for 729 yards and nine scores. Perhaps the best player for Palm Springs is linebacker/offensive lineman Kyle Lass, an all-Central Division selection on offense last season and three-year starter on defense. He was a key member of the 2009 team that won the SS-Eastern Division title. Nate Evans, another first-team all leaguer for the Indians, returns at safety. Palm Desert has the top returning ball carrier in senior Tim Santa Maria, who rushed for 1,066 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. He was also an effective pass catcher out of the backfield, accounting for 15 receptions and three touchdowns. The league's best returning athlete is La Quinta senior quarterback Taylor Pope, who is just as valuable on defense and special teams. Pope was named the league’s special teams co-MVP last season, intercepted a pass in Week 2 to seal a 14-3 upset against Colton, the eventual Central Division champion, and orchestrated a second-half comeback from 28 points down against Chino in the second round of the playoffs.

Projected order of finish: Palm Springs, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Coachella Valley, Indio, Cathedral City.

Key games: Sept. 2 – Palm Springs @ Palm Desert; Sept. 16 – La Quinta @ Mission Viejo; Sept. 30 – Palm Desert @ Fontana Kaiser; Oct. 7 – Temecula Chaparral @ Indio; Oct. 28 – Palm Desert @ Palm Springs; Nov. 4 – Palm Springs @ La Quinta; Nov. 11 – Palm Desert @ La Quinta.

Alumni in the NFL: James Dockery, Cleveland Browns (Palm Desert ’06)

Fast fact: For the second consecutive season, Palm Springs and Palm Desert will meet in a nonleague season opener and again during league play. Due to the extreme heat that’s usually still hanging around the Coachella Valley in early September, the schools have had difficulty finding opponents to travel out to the low desert. When the teams met last season, the temperature had reached a record-tying 117 degrees in Palm Springs that day, and was still 108 at kickoff. Palm Springs won the game, 35-20.

On the clock: Inland Valley League.

I.E.: Top games for the upcoming football season

August, 9, 2011
8/09/11
6:03
PM PT
With the start of the high school football season just around the corner, now's a good time to ink the calendars with the best games involving Inland Empire teams.

9/1 – Victorville Silverado vs. Rancho Cucamonga @ Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos HS

9/2 – San Bernardino Cajon @ Temecula Chaparral; Fontana Summit @ Etiwanda

9/8 – Perris Citrus Hill @ Moreno Valley; Upland @ Tustin

9/9 – Los Angeles Crenshaw @ Norco; Summit @ Redlands; Vista Murrieta @ Etiwanda

9/16 – Corona Centennial vs. Mater Dei @ Santa Ana Stadium; La Quinta @ Mission Viejo

9/22 – Summit vs. Colton @ Fontana A.B. Miller HS

9/23 – Upland @ Norco; Chaparral @ Corona Centennial; Riverside North @ Fontana Kaiser; Moreno Valley Rancho Verde @ Romoland Heritage

9/29 – Riverside Poly vs. Corona Centennial @ Riverside Ramona HS

9/30 – Norco @ Eastvale Roosevelt; Rancho Cucamonga vs. Redlands @ Los Osos; Redlands East Valley @ Chino Hills

10/7 – Riverside Poly vs. Roosevelt @ Ramona; Corona Santiago @ Norco

10/14 – Vista Murrieta @ Chaparral; Riverside North vs. Riverside Poly @ Riverside College

10/21 – Norco @ Corona Centennial; Rancho Cucamonga @ Upland; Redlands East Valley @ Redlands

10/27 – Santiago vs. Riverside North @ Riverside College

10/28 – Riverside Poly @ Norco; Chino @ Ontario Colony

11/4 – Heritage @ Elsinore; Palm Springs @ La Quinta

11/10 – Redlands @ A.B. Miller; Santiago @ Roosevelt

11/11 – Kaiser vs. Summit @ A.B. Miller; Riverside Arlington @ Rancho Verde

Inland Empire: Corona Santiago vs. El Modena highlights softball semifinals

May, 30, 2011
5/30/11
3:59
PM PT
SOUTHERN SECTION SOFTBALL SEMIFINALS

TOP CHOICE

Division 1

Corona Santiago at Orange El Modena, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

When it comes to entertainment, these teams belong right at the top. Santiago won its quarterfinal game Thursday at Huntington Beach Marina on an eighth-inning solo home run by No. 9 hitter Brenda Lee. The Vanguards survived the second round with a 12-11 victory against second-seeded Etiwanda, throwing out the tying run at the plate to end the game after the runner tried to score from first on ball hit into the gap. El Modena traveled to Valencia the next day and scored twice in the seventh to defeat the Vikings, 5-4. The Vanguards are led by Michigan-bound pitcher Haylie Wagner, who is probably most dangerous with a bat in her hands. El Modena needs to figure out a way to keep Santiago lead-off hitter Lauren Sweet off the bases. The senior catcher is also a threat to hit the ball out of the park, owning 13 home runs for the third-seeded Sharks this season.

SECOND BEST

Division 3

Chino Hills at Westlake Village Oaks Christian, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

These teams met in a quarterfinal last season and Chino Hills walked away with a 5-0 victory behind a four-hitter from sophomore pitcher Nikki Innamorato. Now a year older, Innamorato is sporting an 18-5 record for the fourth-seeded Huskies, who have allowed a total of one run in their three previous playoff victories. Chino Hills features five starters hitting .367 or better, led by junior third baseman Garie Blando (.430). Oaks Christian is the top-seeded team in the division and the Lions have played like it, shutting out their last five opponents. Senior pitcher Kiana Quolas (Coastal Carolina) has been leading the defensive effort, notching 27 consecutive scoreless innings from the circle.

THE REST

(Read full post)

Inland Empire: Key first-round softball games

May, 19, 2011
5/19/11
2:38
PM PT
SOUTHERN SECTION SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS

Division 1

Mater Dei at Riverside Poly, Thursday, 2:30 p.m.

These teams met in a season-opening tournament in Bullhead, Ariz. and Mater Dei won, 10-1. The Bears didn’t finish off the regular season too well either, losing to Corona Santiago, 14-5, to miss out on a share of the Big VIII League title. The playoffs haven't gone well for Mater Dei lately. The Monarchs haven't advanced past the second round since 2005.

Yucaipa at Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos, Thursday, 3;15 p.m.

Los Osos proved it can play with any team in Division 1 by defeating second-seeded Etiwanda, 1-0, in a Baseline League game last week, though the Eagles had already clinched at least a share of the league title and the league’s No. 1 seed for the playoffs. Yucaipa enters the playoffs on a six-game winning streak.

Division 2

Ontario Colony at Moreno Valley Valley View, Thursday, 3:15 p.m.

Colony advanced to the first round with a 7-4 wild-card victory Tuesday against visiting Norwalk. Valley View, the Inland Valley League champion, is led by freshman pitcher Ashley Birnie (8-1, 1.96 ERA).

Division 3

Manhattan Beach Mira Costa at Lake Elsinore Lakeside, Thursday, 3:15 p.m.

Tough draw for Lakeside as Mira Costa tied for the Bay League championship but lost the tiebreaker with co-champ Palos Verdes Peninsula and ended up as the league’s No. 2 seed. Lakeside, the Sunbelt League champion, will count on junior pitcher Jasmine Smithson-Willett (18-6, 1.21).

Division 4

Riverside Patriot at La Quinta, Thursday, 3;15 p.m.

Patriot has no problem scoring runs, as evident by its 16-7 wild-card victory Tuesday against Redlands Arrowhead Christian. The question is, can the Warriors outscore the Blackhawks, who are averaging nearly eight runs a game this season?

Division 5

Temple City at Barstow, Thursday, 3:15 p.m.

This figures to be an offensive showdown between North Dakota-bound senior Jessica Loicano of Temple City and Taylor Purdy and Miranda Peralta of Barstow, all of whom are batting .500 or better this season.

Division 6

Rosamond at Yucca Valley, Thursday, 3:15 p.m.

Yucca Valley junior pitcher Felicia Gonzales (11-6, 2.51) has won her last eight decisions.

Division 7

Trona at Riverside Bethel Christian, Thursday, 3;15 p.m.

Jordan Ward leads Bethel Christian in both hitting and pitching.

Inland Empire: Spotlight on baseball league races

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
12:16
PM PT
As the final week of the regular season winds down, a number of league titles in the I.E. are still up for grabs. Here's a look at the major races still left to be settled.

BASELINE

Glendora (10-3), Wed. @ Upland, Fri. vs. Upland

Los Osos (9-4), Wed. @ Rancho Cucamonga, Fri. vs. Rancho Cucamonga.

*Glendora owns tiebreaker vs. Los Osos

BIG VIII

J.W. North (9-3), Tues. vs. Santiago, Thurs. vs. King

King (9-3), Tues. vs. Roosevelt, Thurs @ North

Santiago (7-5), Tues. @ North, Thurs. vs. Poly

Norco (7-5), Tues. vs. Poly, Thurs. @ Corona

*North won first meeting vs. King, 3-0

CITRUS BELT

Redlands (10-3), Tues. vs. Fontana, Thurs. @ Fontana

Yucaipa (9-4), Tues. @ Eisenhower, Thurs. vs. Eisenhower

Redlands East Valley (8-5), Tues. vs. Miller, Thurs. @ Miller

*Redlands owns tiebreaker vs. Yucaipa

DESERT VALLEY

Palm Desert (9-1), Tues. vs. Palm Springs, Thurs. @ Palm Springs

Indio (8-2), Tues. vs. La Quinta, Thurs. @ La Quinta

La Quinta (8-2), Tues. @ Indio, Thurs. vs. Indio

*Palm Desert’s only league loss vs. Indio

INLAND VALLEY

Canyon Springs (10-3), Wed. @ Arlington

Vista del Lago (10-3), Wed. vs. La Sierra

La Sierra (9-4), Wed. @ Vista del Lago

*Canyon Springs owns tiebreaker vs. Vista del Lago

MOUNTAIN PASS

Hemet (11-2), Wed. @ Tahquitz, Fri vs. Tahquitz

Tahquitz (11-2), Wed. vs. Hemet, Fri. @ Hemet

*Hemet won first meeting vs. Tahquitz, 6-2

MOUNTAIN VALLEY

Citrus Valley (12-1), Wed. @ at Notre Dame, Thurs. @ Notre Dame

Notre Dame (10-3), Wed. vs. Notre Dame, Thurs. vs. Notre Dame

*Citrus Valley won first meeting vs. Notre Dame, 3-2

MT. BALDY

Colony (9-2), Wed. vs. Ontario

Chino (9-2), Wed. @ Don Lugo

Don Lugo (8-3), Wed. vs. Chino

*Colony owns tiebreaker vs. Chino

SAN ANDREAS LEAGUE

Colton (12-1), Wed. vs. San Gorgonio

Rialto (11-2), Wed. vs. Pacific

San Gorgonio (10-2), Wed. @ Colton, Friday @ Pacific

*Colton and Rialto split season series

SIERRA

Chino Hills (10-3), Tues. @ Ayala, Thurs. vs. Ayala

South Hills (10-3), Tues. vs. Charter Oak, Thurs. @ Charter Oak

Damien (8-5), Tues. @ Claremont, Thurs. vs. Claremont

*Chino Hills owns tiebreaker vs. South Hills

SUNBELT

Temescal Canyon (10-3), Tues. vs. Lakeside, Thurs. @ Lakeside

Paloma Valley (8-5), Tues. vs. Elsinore, Thurs. @ Elsinore

Lakeside (7-6), Tues. @ Temescal Canyon, Thurs. vs. Temescal Canyon

Heritage (7-6), Tues. vs. Perris, Thurs. @ Perris

*Paloma Valley owns tiebreaker vs. Temescal Canyon

SUNKIST

Kaiser (10-3), Tues. vs. Summit, Thurs. @ Bloomington

Summit (8-5), Tues. @ Kaiser, Thurs. @ Patriot

Patriot (7-6), Tues. vs. Jurupa Valley, Thurs. vs. Summit

Bloomington (7-6), Tues @ Norte Vista, Thurs. vs. Kaiser

*Kaiser and Summit split previous two meetings

Inland Empire: Games of the week

December, 2, 2010
12/02/10
5:26
PM PT
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: Five things from the weekend

November, 29, 2010
11/29/10
4:43
PM PT
1. Let’s head straight to the Central Division for the best game of the weekend. La Quinta trailed host Chino by 28 points in their quarterfinal game, then scored 42 in the second half to win, 42-41. The fourth-seeded Blackhawks took a 42-35 lead on a 37-yard touchdown run by Chyl Robinson with 51 seconds remaining, followed by a two-point conversion. Chino answered 19 seconds later on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Sean Molles to Promise Amadi. Needing just the point-after to tie the score, La Quinta deflected the kick and it fell short of the crossbar. The comeback also included two successful onside kick recoveries. La Quinta moves on to Friday’s semifinal, where it will host top-seeded Moreno Valley Rancho Verde.

2. Thanks to a pair of upsets in the bottom half of the Central Division bracket, the other semifinal will feature a San Andreas League rematch Saturday between San Bernardino Cajon and host Colton. Cajon knocked off third-seeded Riverside Arlington in convincing fashion, 35-7. The Yellowjackets did the same to second-seeded Palm Springs, 35-14. The Cowboys defeated Colton, 29-20, in SAL play this season, but the Yellowjackets didn’t have running back Tyler Ervin for that game. Ervin, who missed three games because of an ankle injury, rushed for a season-high 189 yards in 30 carries and scored two touchdowns against Palm Springs.

3. The competition must be getting stiffer because Corona Centennial had its closest game of the season Friday night – only beating Upland by 29 points. In fact, for only the second time this season, top-seeded Centennial actually trailed in a game. That lasted for all of 2 minutes before the Huskies stormed away in the second half for a 52-23 victory in an Inland Division quarterfinal at Upland. Probably most impressive were the numbers put up by Centennial running back Barrinton Collins, who rushed for a career-high 305 yards in 27 carries and scored five touchdowns, despite dislocating a shoulder during practice earlier in the week. Centennial will play at fourth-seeded Chino Hills in Friday’s semifinal.

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Inland Empire: Southern Section playoff rundown for I.E. teams

November, 14, 2010
11/14/10
12:09
PM PT
INLAND DIVISION

Seeded teams:

1. Corona Centennial; 2. Vista Murrieta; 3. Rancho Cucamonga; 4. Chino Hills

At-large selection:

None

Best first-round game:

Temecula Chaparral (4-6) at Upland (7-3) – Chaparral is the defending Inland Division champion, while Upland won the Central Division title last season. Chaparral was the preseason favorite to repeat, but a 1-5 start ending any discussion of that. Still, the Pumas tend to get better as the season rolls along.

Best potential second-round game:

Vista Murrieta (9-1) at Norco (8-2) – Both of these teams should survive the first round to create a semifinal-type second-round matchup. Norco’s upset loss to Eastvale Roosevelt on Oct. 8 ultimately dropped them into third place and created this nightmare matchup for Southwestern League champ Vista Murrieta.

Prediction:

Corona Centennial should walk through this division, especially with either Vista Murrieta or Norco getting knocked off in the second round. Corona Centennial 56, Norco 7.

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Inland Empire: Games of the week

November, 11, 2010
11/11/10
3:41
PM PT
The Inland Valley League showdown Friday night between Moreno Valley Rancho Verde and Riverside Arlington at Riverside Ramona High was expected to be an emotionally charged game, but that was taken to another level Monday when Arlington coach Pat McCarthy went into cardiac arrest before practice.

It was initially feared he had suffered a heart attack, but the Riverside Press-Telegram reported Wednesday that he has a severe infection that caused his pulse to weaken.

Rancho Verde (9-0, 6-0) has won 21 consecutive league games, but Arlington (8-1, 6-0) will be its toughest test of the season.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Three others to see:

Corona (5-4, 3-3) at Norco (7-2, 4-2), Friday – Corona can pass up Norco in the Big VIII League and finish third with a win, but will lose out on an automatic playoff berth with a loss and a victory Thursday night by Riverside King (4-5, 2-4) against visiting Riverside North (1-8, 1-5).

La Quinta (7-2, 3-1) at Palm Desert (6-3, 3-1), Friday – Palm Springs has already locked up the No. 1 playoff seeding from the Desert Valley League, but second and third will be settled here. La Quinta has won four straight against the Aztecs.

Perris Citrus Hill (6-3, 3-1) at San Jacinto (7-2, 3-1), Friday – The winner of this game is guaranteed a share of the Mountain Pass League title. That much is for certain. Beaumont (6-3, 3-1) and Hemet West Valley (5-4, 3-1) also play Friday night at San Gorgonio Middle School and the winner will also share in the league title. Figuring out the different playoff scenarios isn’t so simple.

Inland Empire: The Top 10

November, 9, 2010
11/09/10
7:37
AM PT
A couple eye-popping upsets caused some re-arranging at the bottom end of the rankings. Palm Springs disposed of La Quinta in a Desert Valley League game, and Fontana Miller knocked off Redlands in the Citrus Belt League. Rancho Cucamonga rejoins the top 10 as it continues to run the table in the Baseline League, and Romoland Heritage drops in after an impressive win against Elsinore.

1. (1) Corona Centennial, 9-0

The Huskies beat Corona by 61 points last weekend, in doing so sending a message to the folks in charge of the state bowl berths. After all, Mission Viejo only beat Corona by 22 earlier this season. Last week: Beat Corona, 82-21. Next: at Eastvale Roosevelt, Friday.

2. (2) Vista Murrieta, 8-1

Whoever thought Vista Murrieta’s biggest obstacle in its run to another Southwestern League title would be Murrieta Valley? The collapse of Temecula Chaparral was an event few could have predicted two months ago. Last week: Beat Murrieta Valley, 38-15. Next: at Murrieta Mesa, Friday.

3. (3) Eastvale Roosevelt, 8-1

If only the Mustangs didn’t lay an egg against Corona Santiago in their Big VIII League opener, we’d be writing about two undefeated teams going head-to-head this Friday for the league title. Last week: Beat Riverside King, 49-20. Next: vs. Centennial, Friday.

4. (4) Norco, 7-2

The Cougars qualified for the playoffs for the 24th consecutive season but won’t finish any better than third in the Big VIII, creating a nightmare first-round match-up for their playoff opponent. Last week: Beat Riverside Poly, 42-21. Next: vs. Corona, Friday.

5. (5) Fontana Kaiser, 9-0

Despite allowing just two first downs and forcing four turnovers, the Cats were still losing late in the game Friday against Fontana Summit. Then they stepped on the gas and scored 16 points in the final 4 minutes. Last week: Beat Summit, 19-7. Next: at Bloomington, Thursday.

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