This is another division with huge local representation, as the High Desert schools and Sunkist League go at it here.
Rim of the World at No. 1 Perris Citrus Hill
It’s impressive that the Fighting Scots are here, having made a 21-point second-half comeback at Apple Valley to do it. But Citrus Hill, with QB Caleb Herring having committed to UNLV and RB Deontae Cooper receiving D-1 interest as a junior, has way too much firepower. This will be like a 16-1 matchup you’d see in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Citrus Hill 48, Rim of the World 6
Riverside Notre Dame at No. 2 Hesperia
Speaking of Division I players, Notre Dame probably wishes it had RB Kenjon Barner, now a freshman at Oregon, back this year. The Titans will have a hard time matching up with Hesperia’s physicality up front. And the Scorpions, with RB Gavin Santos and WR Jay Waddell, can beat you up top too.
Hesperia 38, Notre Dame 7
Summit at No. 3 Palm Springs
A lot of people are calling this upset. Ok, well maybe one reader, but still, this is an interesting matchup. The SkyHawks are young, but have a lot of speed, athleticism and moxie, as evidenced by their comebacks against Norte Vista and Bloomington. Palm Springs may be lacking in the speed department, but the Indians have size. Its that size that will make the difference late.
Palm Springs 23, Summit 20
Banning at No. 4 Kaiser
The Dick Bruich watch is going on, as any game could be the last for the legendary coach. But it won’t be this game. Kaiser hasn’t lost in six straight games and are coming off a dominating 435 rushing-yard performance against Riverside Patriot. Banning, which was 0-10 two years ago, is a great story, but it won’t be the team that ends Bruich’s career.
Kaiser 36, Banning 7
La Quinta at Serrano
As far as name matchups go, this one might be the most vibrant. Both of these schools are always in the CIF title discussion, but it might be far-fetched to get much of a run out of either school this year. La Quinta, though second in the Desert Valley League, was 0-5 and usually noncompetitive during the nonleague season, while Serrano lost three games as well. But I can’t see the D-backs going down at Snowline Stadium.
Serrano 31, La Quinta 17
Barstow at San Jacinto
San Jac was a power in the East Valley Division, playing runner-up the last two years to Big Bear and Citrus Hill, respectively. I’m not sure they’ve gone up against a running attack as comphrensive as Barstow’s double-wing though. It will be a physical matchup, but I think the Desert Sky represents here. Then again, I’m always wrong on Barstow predictions.
Barstow 24, San Jacinto 19
Silverado at Riverside Patriot
One look at the Hawks’ 3-7 record could cause one to shudder, but Silverado took on one of the more brutal nonleague schedules in the section. That rugged slate will help Silverado immensely, as Patriot’s physical running attack won’t seem nearly as intimidating. It’s been a long time for Patriot/Rubidoux, and it will be a short time in the postseason.
Silverado 20, Patriot 14
The other game of note between teams that aren’t in San Bernardino County:
Palm Desert 34, Ridgecrest Burroughs 23
No. 1 Citrus Hill over Palm Desert
Serrano over No. 4 Kaiser
No. 2 Hesperia over Silverado
No. 3 Palm Springs over Barstow
No. 1 Citrus Hill over Serrano
No. 2 Hesperia over No. 3 Palm Springs
No. 1 Citrus Hill over No. 2 Hesperia