The Central and Eastern divisions highlight the games of the week this time around. The key matchups on the schedule Friday night will likely determine first place in the Mojave River, San Andreas and Mt. Baldy leagues. Second place in the Big VIII League looks to be on the line Thursday.
(Inland Empire rankings included)
No. 9 Oak Hills (7-0, 1-0) at Serrano (5-2, 2-0), Friday (7 p.m.) -- There hasn’t been any growing pains for Oak Hills. The school opened onlyt two years ago, but the varsity football team has yet to post a losing record, owning a 23-7 overall mark heading into the biggest game in the program’s history. Serrano is the two-time defending Mojave River League champion with a 27-7 record over the last 2 ½ seasons. The Diamondbacks ramped up for league play with a strong nonleague schedule that included a 10-point loss to Upland, the second-ranked team in the Inland Empire. They’ve allowed a truck load of points this season, however, and Oak Hills has the talent to get into the end zone. Expect a lot of touches by Oak Hills senior running back Marshaun Coprich, who has rushed for 1,374 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. Serrano running back Adarius Hogan is 27 yards shy of the 1,000-yard barrier.
Calpreps.com computerized projection: Serrano 26, Oak Hills 20
ESPNLA: Serrano 28, Oak Hills 27
No. 7 J.W. North (6-1, 3-1) vs. No. 8 Corona Santiago (5-2, 3-1) at Riverside College, Thursday (7 p.m.) -- Both of these teams have already lost to Corona Centennial -- as has Norco -- so the Big VIII League title is no longer a realistic goal. That said, who would have thought the battle for second place in the Big VIII would involve these teams? Norco was thought to be a shoe-in as bridesmaid to Centennial, but then J.W. North scored a huge upset vs. Alemany in nonleague play and Santiago pounded Norco three weeks ago. Both teams feature savvy, elusive quarterbacks. Justin Gheorghe of J.W. North has thrown 15 touchdown passes and hasn’t been intercepted this season. Santiago junior Michael Darr is the team’s leading passer and rusher, though running back Roosevelt Monk has boosted the run game since joining the team four weeks ago.
Calpreps.com: J.W. North 38, Santiago 31
ESPNLA: Santiago 34, J.W. North 30
No. 10 Rialto (6-1, 4-0) at Carter (7-0, 4-0), Friday (7 p.m.) – These teams had mixed success after joining the San Andreas League last season, and this match up didn’t exactly stand out on the must-see list heading into the season, but that changed when Rialto stunned Cajon last weekend, 27-25. Rialto relies heavily on two-way skill players Michael Romero, Tyler Telphy, Paul Cortez and Nicholas Seiuli. Carter gets most of its offense from senior running back Gaylon Maxie, who has rushed for 1,073 yards and 16 touchdowns. Senior defensive back Kris Brown has a league-leading four interceptions for Carter.
Calpreps: Rialto 17, Carter 14
ESPNLA: Carter 20, Rialto 14
Chino (6-1, 3-0) at Colony (7-1, 4-0), Friday (7 p.m.) -- Both teams are riding five-game winning streaks heading into this key Mt. Baldy League game. Bryan Harper, who has committed to Washington, and Claremont transfer Matt Simko have been sharing the quarterback duties for Colony. Simko is more of a pure passer, and Harper is a dual-threat. Chino running back Xavier Browne has dialed back since rushing for 301 yards in 32 carries four weeks ago in a 23-0 victory against South Hills, combining for 23 carries the last two weeks and 216 yards. Sean Molles matched his season-high with four touchdown passes last week against Garey.
Calpreps: Colony 31, Chino 21
ESPNLA: Chino 24, Colony 21
Three more to C
Etiwanda (4-3, 0-2) vs. Rancho Cucamonga (6-1, 1-1) at Los Osos, Friday (7 p.m.)
Yucaipa (7-0, 2-0) at Redlands (2-5, 1-1), Friday (7 p.m.)
Chino Hills (4-3, 2-0) at Damien (6-1, 2-0), Friday (7 p.m.)
Last week’s picks: