Los Angeles Preps: Xavier Browne

I.E.: Central Division second-round previews

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
7:06
PM PT
CENTRAL DIVISION

Second round, Friday

No. 1 Rancho Verde (11-0) at San Gorgonio (6-5), 7 p.m.

How they got here: Rancho Verde defeated visiting Don Lugo, 44-0; San Gorgonio won at La Quinta, 44-41.

Matchup to watch: San Gorgonio quarterback Monroe Offield (294 total yards last week) vs. Rancho Verde defense (hasn’t allowed a point in last 12 quarters)

Fast fact: These teams already met this season, with Rancho Verde winning, 37-10, against the visiting Spartans in Week 1. San Gorgonio also started and ended last season with losses to the Mustangs.

Prediction: Rancho Verde 34, San Gorgonio 14.

No. 4 Colony (10-1) at Moreno Valley (5-6), 7 p.m.

How they got here: Colony eliminated visiting Valley View, 28-14; Moreno Valley surprised host Cajon, 43-16.

Matchup to watch: Colony middle linebacker Eddie Martinez (7.6 tackles per game) vs. Moreno Valley running back Imeria Talia (867 rushing yards, nine TDs last four games).

Fast fact: Moreno Valley last won a playoff game in 2007, the same postseason that ended with a 29-14 loss to Colony in the Central Division semifinals.

Prediction: Moreno Valley 24, Colony 21.

No. 3 La Sierra (10-1) at Carter (10-1), 7 p.m.

How they got here: La Sierra defeated Chaffey, 23-6, at Norte Vista; Carter eliminated visiting Palm Desert, 48-22.

Matchup to watch: La Sierra defensive lineman A.J. Fanene (12 solo tackles last week, 24 sacks last two seasons) vs. Carter running back Gaylon Maxie (1,835 rushing yards, 24 TDs)

Fast fact: Carter won its first playoff game in school history last week while hosting its first postseason game.

Prediction: La Sierra 28, Carter 21.

No. 2 Palm Springs (11-0) at Chino (9-2), 7 p.m.

How they got here: Palm Springs shut out visiting Rialto, 35-0; Chino defeated visiting Arlington, 26-14.

Matchup to watch: Palm Springs linebacker Kyle Lass (13.2 tackles per game, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries) vs. Chino running back Xavier Browne (1,511 rushing yards, 16 TDs)

Fast fact: After finishing 0-10 in the 2009 season, Chino is 20-3 over the last two.

Prediction: Palm Springs 42, Chino 21.

CIF-SS playoffs: Central Division

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
1:01
PM PT
CIF-SS playoffs:
Central Division
This group might not carry the hoopla of the Inland Division, but it certainly has some quality teams and superb athletes. Rancho Verde hasn’t lost a regular-season game since 2007, yet hasn’t won a section title in that stretch either. Not so for Palm Springs and Colony. Palm Springs won the Eastern Division title in 2009, and the Titans won Central Division titles in 2006 and 2007. Here’s a breakdown of the division:

The seeds: No. 1 Rancho Verde, No. 2 Palm Springs, No. 3 La Sierra, No. 4 Colony.

Best first-round matchup: Palm Desert (5-4) at Carter (9-1) -- Carter had a chance to clinch the program's first outright San Andreas League title Thursday night against Cajon but lost, 24-7. That missed opportunity could spill over to the playoffs. Carter will have its hands full trying to stop Palm Desert running back Tim Santa Maria, who rushed for 333 yards in 33 carries and scored four touchdowns in a 38-35 loss Friday against La Quinta, dropping the Aztecs into third place in the Desert Valley League and setting up this matchup.

Toughest road: Palm Springs (10-0) -- The Indians’ unblemished record might be a bit misleading because they really haven't played any quality opponents this season, though they did blow out everyone except Palm Desert in the season opener. They open against a Rialto team that has a big-time victory against Cajon this season, one that likely cost the Cowboys a top four seeding. Waiting in the wings would be a matchup against Chino or Arlington, two other programs that could pose a problem with their potent run games.

Potential shocker: Valley View at Colony, first round -- Valley View had a bye in Week 10 to give them extra time to prepare for the playoffs and provide running back Michael Harrison a chance to rest up for the heavy workload he’s likely to encounter. Harrison, who has rushed for 1,373 and 16 touchdowns this season, is the type of power runner that has given Colony fits this season. The Titans have already allowed 100-yard rushing performances to Xavier Browne of Chino, Devon Samuels of Chaffey, Jamel Hart of South Hills, Jordan Robinson of Ayala and Corey Victoria of Glendora.

Darkhorse: Cajon (9-1) -- As mentioned above, Cajon would likely be one of the top three seeds if not for its loss against Rialto three weeks ago. The Cowboys have the athletes to make a run at any team in this division, and seem to have found a quality replacement for quarterback Edwin Martinez, who went down with a knee injury two weeks ago. De Juan Brooks stepped up from the junior varsity and threw for 241 yards and three touchdowns in the victory against Carter, locking up a share of the San Andreas League title.

Final analysis: This division is Rancho Verde’s to lose but that’s exactly what the Mustangs did last season, cruising to the championship game before getting stunned by Colton, the third-place team from the San Andreas League. They certainly didn’t catch any breaks in the brackets, getting stuck on the same side as Cajon and Colony, both of which feature Division 1-bound athletes who can change the course of a game.

Championship prediction: Palm Springs vs. Rancho Verde – These two programs appear to be in a class by themselves, though neither has really proved themselves against quality opponents during the regular season. Look for both teams to build momentum during some challenging early games and meet head on for the section title. Rancho Verde 27, Palm Springs 21.

Link to the Central Division bracket on CalPreps.com

I.E.: Games of the Week

October, 26, 2011
10/26/11
5:22
PM PT
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.

A-Game

(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 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

B-List

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.

(Read full post)

IE: Five questions to ponder after Week 2

September, 19, 2011
9/19/11
9:29
PM PT
Q: Which I.E. team has improved the most since last season?

A: That question was a little tougher to answer following Week 1, but after upsetting Alemany last weekend, J.W. North might be on the verge of one of the greatest one-year turnarounds in I.E. history. The Huskies, who finished 2-8 last season, improved to 2-0 with a 36-35 victory Friday night against Alemany, which entered the game ranked No. 3 in the Southland by ESPNLA. North could have played for the tie after scoring with 53 seconds remaining, but who wants to see a tie? Instead, coach Mark Paredes opted to try for the two-point conversion and the Huskies punched it in to the roar of the crowd at Riverside College. By the time he graduates, Justin Gheorghe might end up with a statue on the front lawn at North. Back in June, he helped the Huskies win their first section title in baseball since 1994, and Friday night he threw for 216 yards, completing all three passes on the game-winning drive and carrying the ball twice for 40 yards.

Q: Which team has been the most surprising?

A: Cajon was expected to be good this season, but not this good. The Cowboys had their way with Kaiser on Friday night, building a 24-point halftime lead on their way to a 52-7 victory, the most points allowed by Kaiser in program history. Probably most impressive is Cajon's offensive balance and its ability to pinprick their opponent’s weaknesses. Edwin Morales threw for 171 yards and two touchdowns against Kaiser, and the running game accounted for 224 yards and five scores. Defensively, the Cowboys held Kaiser to 171 total yards and zero through the air. Just as important, Cajon isn’t beating itself, committing just one turnover this season.

Q: Which program has gone backward the furthest?

A: Roosevelt earns that distinction after another defensive meltdown Friday night against Murrieta Valley. The Mustangs led by 10 points at the half but couldn’t hold on against the Nighthawks and lost, 35-34, to fall to 0-2. Roosevelt defeated Murrieta Valley, 33-12, last season en route to finishing 9-3, including 5-2 in the Big VIII League. In the rematch, the Mustangs were expected to get quarterback Aaron Crone back from an injury to his throwing shoulder, but he wasn’t ready and sat for the second consecutive week. Still, that doesn’t excuse the defense for allowing five touchdowns for the second straight game. During the offseason, some suggested the Mustangs would be hurt by the departure of several key players and it appears they were correct.

(Read full post)

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 Mt. Baldy League

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
11:32
PM PT
MT. BALDY LEAGUE

Last season’s results: Chino (11-1, 6-0); Ontario Colony (7-4, 5-1); Montclair (5-6, 3-3); Pomona Garey (5-6, 2-4); Ontario (4-6, 2-4); Chino Don Lugo (3-7, 2-4); Ontario Chaffey (2-8, 1-5).

Players to watch: Hard to imagine it was just two years ago that Chino finished 0-10. The Cowboys rebounded last season in their first year in the Mt. Baldy League and appear even more stacked this season. Chino returns six first-team all-league players, led by senior quarterback Sean Molles, a three-year starter who passed for 2,343 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. He had at least one touchdown pass in every game and was intercepted just six times. Chino should also be well balanced with the return of the league’s leading running back, senior Xavier Browne, who totaled 1,275 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. Matt Pantell is a returning two-way lineman for the Cowboys, and Ronnie Velarde, Anthony Adamo and Isaiah Brenes provide valuable experience on defense. Colony’s chances of dethroning Chino increased twofold with the addition of offseason transfer Bryan Harper, who played quarterback and defensive back during his injury-shortened junior year at Fontana Carter. Harper, ranked the 94th-best recruit in the state by Rivals.com, has committed to Washington as a cornerback. He played just four games last season before breaking a collarbone but still led Carter with 427 passing yards and four touchdowns. As a sophomore, he threw for 1,302 yards and combined for 15 touchdowns through the air and on the ground. Harper will have the league’s top returning receiver in his sights, senior Chaz Nelson, who also had three interceptions as a defensive back. Also returning on defense is first-team all-league linebacker Eddie Martinez, who led the Titans with 86 tackles, and linebacker/tight end Robert Wagner, another first-team all-leaguer. Don Lugo might have the Inland Empire’s best-kept secret in linebacker Milton Williams III, a 6-1, 210-pound senior. With his 4.7 speed and 30.5-inch vertical leap, Williams is drawing interest from USC and a handful of other Pac-12 schools. Chaffey hopes to improve on last season’s results with the return of running back Carnell Spencer, who averaged 119 yards in his last four games, and leading tackler Matthew Boice, a junior linebacker.

Projected order of finish: Chino, Colony, Don Lugo, Chaffey, Garey, Montclair, Ontario.

Key games: Sept. 1 – Colony @ West Covina South Hills; Sept. 9 – Fontana Carter @ Chaffey; Sept. 16 – Chino @ Oak Park; Sept. 23 – Azusa @ Don Lugo; Sept. 30 – Chino @ Don Lugo; Oct. 7 – Don Lugo @ Colony; Oct. 21 – Colony @ Chaffey; Oct. 28 – Chino @ Colony; Nov. 4 – Chaffey @ Don Lugo.

Alumni in the NFL: Sedrick Ellis, New Orleans Saints (Chino ’03); Greg Salas, St. Louis Rams (Chino ’06); Jarron Gilbert, New York Jets (Chino ’05); R.J. Stanford, Carolina Panthers (Chino ’06).

Fast fact: Ontario said good-bye to coach Steve Randall in the offseason. In just five years, Randall compiled more wins than any other coach in school history, but couldn’t pass up an assistant coaching offer at Citrus College in Glendora. Randall was replaced by Ronald Stocking, Jr., who spent the last two seasons as linebackers coach at Mira Loma Alta Loma High and prior to that was an assistant coach at Colony for five years.

On the clock: San Andreas League.

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