Leaving the biggest division for last (not for any build-up, just for alphabetizing’s sake), here are my Inland Division picks, both for this week and the future.
Yucaipa at No. 1 Corona Centennial
The prediction here is pain. Yucaipa did a good job under first-year coach John Hallenbeck to make it this far, but they are playing against a team that is among the elite nationally. Centennial has a linebacker going to USC, a wideout going to UCLA, a quarterback going to Nebraska and several others with D-1 aspirations. It will be tough for Yucaipa to stay within 40.
Centennial 56, Yucaipa 7
Roosevelt at Miller
The Rebels have never really been given their props this year. They are one of those “yeah, but” teams. Miller is 10-0. Yeah, but the CBL was kind of weak this year. Miller has a great defense. Yeah, but have the honestly played against real offenses? And so on and so forth. This week, Roosevelt is a yeah, but team, as their 6-4 record will be propped up by a “Yeah, but they play in the Big VIII.” I’m not betting against a disrespected Miller team.
Miller 27, Roosevelt 10
Corona Santiago at Redlands East Valley
A tasty rematch of last year’s Inland semifinal, won by the Sharks in upset fashion. A repeat wouldn’t be nearly as surprising this year, as the 9-1 Wildcats just don’t have the firepower that they’ve had the last two years. The defense has done a wonderful job of keeping the Wildcats in the win column, but Santiago isn’t going to be intimidated.
Santiago 20, Redlands East Valley 17
Redlands at Riverside North
This could be the most even, most intriguing matchup. Redlands may be the second-best team in the CBL (they’ll admit that they should have won the REV game) and they have a star RB in Cam Phillips. North has won two straight CIF titles in the Eastern Division, but this division is a drastic step up. I have a feeling that the Terriers are going to pull a minor upset here.
Redlands 23, North 21
Other games of note:
No. 2 Moreno Valley Rancho Verde 27, Norco 9
No. 3 Temecula Chaparral 31, Moreno Valley Vista del Lago 10
Murrieta Valley 28, Riverside Arlington 6
Vista Murrieta 27, Moreno Valley 21
No. 1 Corona Centennial over Vista Murrieta
Murrieta Valley over Miller
No. 2 Rancho Verde over Redlands
No. 3 Chaparral over Santiago
No. 1 Corona Centennial over Murrieta Valley
No. 3 Chaparral over No. 2 Rancho Verde
No. 1 Corona Centennial over No. 3 Chaparral