Fun times in the high school ranks, even with some of my picks last week taking a beating. I went 10-6 this week, sweeping the Inland Division and splitting the other three. Oh well.
No. 1 Rancho Cucamonga at No. 4 Cajon
This should be a good one and after going to each campus this week to talk to coaches and players about it, I’m excited. I won’t be covering, but Clay Fowler will have a jolly old time at this one. You have two big-play spread teams, with Greg Watson and his cadre of explosive wideouts carrying the torch for Rancho and RB Walter Kazee doing the same for Cajon. I picked Rancho to win the Central title before the playoffs started, and I have to stick with it. We’ll see if Cajon burns me again.
Rancho Cucamonga 33, Cajon 28
No. 2 Los Osos at Upland
Now I will be at this game, which should also be a doozy. I guess its redundant to say that a CIF semifinal game should be good, but I really don’t care. What I’m looking to see is if Josh Nunes can break the Richard Brehaut jinx. Yes, I know there are plenty of other players (Arby Fields, Davion Fleming, Osahon Irabor to name three) worth mentioning, but Nunes has never beaten Brehaut. Shoot, even the two schools he verbally committed to (Tennessee and then Stanford) lost to Brehaut’s school, UCLA. Upland is hoping that Nunes is due. I’m thinking he is.
Upland 34, Los Osos 27
Serrano at No. 1 Perris Citrus Hill
This is where I’ll be tomorrow night and quite frankly, the more I read up on Citrus Hill, the more I’m blown away. The Hawks have won all of their games by more than 26 points, average over 50 points a game and have a Division I QB in Caleb Herring and a future D-1 RB in junior Deontae Cooper. Serrano won’t be intimidated, having played at Upland and Hesperia this season, but the Diamondbacks will have their hands full. Gotta go with the Hawks, though Serrano will keep it close (relatively speaking).
Citrus Hill 41, Serrano 23
Barstow at Silverado
At the very least, the Desert Sky League will get some major street cred. With two teams facing off, the DSL will get one team in the title game, definitely helping it shed the rep of being the “other” High Desert league. As for the game, its a pretty fascinating contrast in styles, with Barstow’s double-wing going against Silverado’s frenetic no-huddle spread offense. The Aztecs will need to chew clock to keep red-hot Hawk QB Jemeryn Jenkins off the field. They’ll have their moments, but Silverado seems to be on a mission.
Silverado 36, Barstow 20
EAST VALLEY DIVISION
No. 1 St. Margaret’s 38, Pasadena Maranatha 27
Fillmore at Twentynine Palms
Both of these teams are surprises of sorts. For the host Wildcats, the surprise isn’t that they are here, but the way they destroyed Aquinas to get here. Twentynine Palms had defeated the Falcons during the regular season, so a win wasn’t shocking, but a 40-0 whitewashing certainly was. The Flashes were more of the conventional surprise, upsetting No. 2-seeded Brentwood to get here. I think the Wildcats, who have scored 103 points in the playoffs so far, continue to roll.
Twentynine Palms 42, Fillmore 17
No. 1 Corona Centennial 42, Murrieta Valley 13
No. 3 Temecula Chaparral at Norco
These two teams last faced off in the 2006 Inland finals, with Norco placing a 43-0 beating on the Pumas. Chaparral, making its third straight semifinal appearance, its pretty rough on defense, as they beat Redlands East Valley up front in a 20-0 shutout. Norco has made its living on physical play, so this should be a good one, but I feel Chaparral is due.
Chaparral 21, Norco 10
Last week: 10-6. Overall record: 242-60-4.