Los Angeles Preps: San Bernardino Cajon

IE: Five things from the weekend

September, 4, 2011
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
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.


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.


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.: Top games for the upcoming football season

August, 9, 2011
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: Five things from the weekend

January, 31, 2011
1. Huge upset in the Inland Valley League on Friday night as the Moreno Valley Canyon Springs boys’ basketball team surged to a 13-point halftime lead against visiting Moreno Valley Rancho Verde and held on for a 55-50 victory. Rancho Verde came in ranked No. 4 in the Inland Empire by ESPNLA and undefeated in league play over the last two seasons. With the victory, the Cougars (13-10, 8-2) moved within a game of the Mustangs (18-4, 9-1). Rajshah Head scored 16 points and Taj Spencer had 14 for Canyon Springs.

2. Regardless of the sport, there’s usually never a dull moment when Redlands and Redlands East Valley get together. The boys’ basketball teams clashed again Thursday night and it was REV coming out on top for the second time this season, 74-62, at Redlands. Paulin Mpawe, a 6-foot-9 center for REV who’s headed to Pepperdine, had 18 points and 18 rebounds. Redlands senior guard Ashton Robinson, scored 29 points but actually lowered his scoring average to 34, which is still second best in the state. REV improved to 19-4, 5-1. The Terriers dropped to 15-6, 3-3.

3. Etiwanda came up two victories short of matching its 23-game winning streak to start the season three years ago. The Eagles were defeated Saturday night, 70-64, by Los Angeles Loyola at the Fairfax State Classic Preview, dropping their record to 21-1. Etiwanda has had some close calls this season but the Eagles actually let this one get away, building several double-digit leads before unraveling in the fourth quarter. Byron Wesley scored 30 points for Etiwanda, but only four in the fourth. The Eagles won’t have time to sulk as they travel to second-place Glendora for a key Baseline League game Tuesday.

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Inland Empire: Athletes of the Week

January, 5, 2011
Javier Gonzalez, Upland, Sr.

Entered the Upland Black Watch wrestling tournament seeded seventh in the heavyweight division, then pinned all five of his opponents to win the title. In the championship match Thursday, he trailed Peter Nonu of West Covina South Hills, 6-2, in the third period before pulling a reverse and pinning him with 41 seconds remaining.

Shannon Moore, San Bernardino Cajon, Sr.

Moore, a 5-foot-4 guard, scored 14 points Friday to lead the Cowboys to a 63-60 victory against Etiwanda in the championship game of the Chino Hills Ayala Best of the West tournament. Her 18-foot jumper with 2 minutes remaining gave Cajon the lead for good. In the latest coaches’ poll, Cajon (16-0) was ranked No. 5 in Division 1AA and Etiwanda (12-2) was No. 7. In a semifinal Thursday, the Cowboys knocked off previously undefeated Huntington Beach Edison, ranked No. 1 in Division 1A.

Inland Empire: Five things from the weekend

November, 22, 2010
1. The Baseline League went 3-0 in Inland Division play Friday night, while the Citrus Belt League was 0-3. The biggest upset victory in the division belonged to Etiwanda, the third-place team from the Baseline, which defeated CBL champion Redlands East Valley, 21-16. The Eagles have been forced to outscore teams this season because its defense had allowed an average of 35.6 points coming into the playoffs. The defense came through against REV, however, returning a fourth-quarter fumble 100 yards for a touchdown, stretching its lead to 21-10.

2. What a day for Ifo Ekpre-Olomu of Chino Hills. He began Friday by committing to play for Oregon, then went out that night and scored four touchdowns in a 70-42 victory against Corona in an Inland Division first-round game. Ekpre-Olomu had two touchdown runs of six yards, another for 53 and a 100-yard kickoff return for a score. As lopsided as the final score appears, the Huskies led only, 49-42, heading into the fourth quarter.

3. A more impressive fourth-quarter surge was delivered Friday night by Riverside La Sierra in a 54-49 loss to Palm Springs in a Central Division first-round game. The Eagles scored 32 points in the final quarter, turning a laugher into a nail-biter. "I started the night 57 years old and I ended it 83," Palm Springs coach Steve Fabian told the Desert Sun after the game. Fabian decided to rest star running back Nephi Garcia after taking a 37-point lead and nearly regretted it.

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

November, 14, 2010

Seeded teams:

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

At-large selection:


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.


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: Athletes of the week

November, 9, 2010
Thomas Carter, San Bernardino Cajon, Sr.

The third-year starter completed 15 of 25 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 72 yards and a touchdown to lift the Cowboys to a 21-13 victory over Rialto Carter and clinch the San Andreas League title.

Robyn Arnold, Redlands, Sr.

The Terriers swept the top six spots at the Citrus Belt League championships to run away with the team title and Arnold was first overall, covering the three-mile course at Yucaipa High in 18 minutes 36.9 seconds.