Etiwanda’s Khaylan Thomas picks Arizona State

Etiwanda High School linebacker Khaylan Thomas decided not to wait until the official signing day in February. He made an oral commitment to Arizona State, choosing the Sun Devils over 14 other schools.
The 6-foot, 217-pounder first announced his choice on Twitter Tuesday night.
“It was family oriented and I liked that. They all seemed like they were very together,” he said. “I decided that was where my heart was and where I wanted to go.”
Thomas did not make an official visit. He toured USC, UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State, all in “unofficial” capacity with his trip to Arizona State coming over the summer. He has an official trip to Tempe slated for Dec. 13.
He had an official trip to Oregon State planned but hasn’t decided whether or not he’ll take it.
“I didn’t seen the need to drag it out any longer,” Thomas said. “I knew where I wanted to go.”
Thomas is the latest local prospect headed to the Pac-12. Among the others are teammate Michael Neal (Washington), Upland’s Tyler Hilinski (Washington State), Kameron Powell (Washington State), Josh Woods (UCLA), Ayala’s Malik Psalms (Cal), Los Osos’ Caleb Repp (Utah) and Pomona’s Shawn Wilson (Oregon State).
Thomas, a first-team All-Inland Valley selection last year as a junior, has 43 total tackles, including five for a loss, with an interception and a fumble recovery for the Baseline League contending Eagles.

High school cross country teams ready for Mt. SAC Invitational

With 113 races spread out over two days, the high school portion of the Mt. SAC Invitational for cross country, set for Friday and Saturday, has plenty of racing to go around.
TX Body: The elite races are the sweepstakes races, divided into different divisions.
TX Body: But the top teams aren’t necessarily in the sweepstakes races, and even if they are, they aren’t necessarily in the division they would normally belong in.
TX Body: For instance, Big Bear is in Division 4, but defending Sun Runner of the Year Caleb Webb is running instead in the Division 1 and 2 individual sweepstakes at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, while the rest of his team runs in the Division 4 sweepstakes at 4:25 p.m. Friday. Division 3, 4 and 5 races are Friday, while Division 1 and 2 are Saturday. Varsity sweepstakes run from about 4:05-6 p.m. Friday and 8:45-10 a.m. Saturday.
TX Body: On the girls’ side, the Nos. 2 and 4 ranked teams in San Bernardino County, Yucaipa and Citrus Valley, respectively, will be competing, but neither one will be in sweepstakes races.
TX Body: Other San Bernardino County teams in sweepstakes races includes: Big Bear girls (Division 4), Yucca Valley boys (5), Ontario Christian boys (5), Victor Valley boys (3), Rancho Cucamonga girls (1 & 2 individual), Ayala boys and girls (1 & 2 team), Jurupa Hills boys (1 & 2 team), and Serrano girls (1 & 2 team).
TX Body: Yucaipa girls are scheduled to compete in a Division 1 varsity race at 10:46 a.m. Saturday, and the Citrus Valley girls are in a Division 2 varsity race at 3:56 p.m. Saturday.
TX Body: Yucaipa coach Jason Carney said via text message that when entries were due two weeks ago, he didn’t think his girls team was ready for sweepstakes. Citrus Valley coach Bryan Haddock said his team had initially been told it would be in a sweepstakes race.

3 high school football results that stand out from Friday night

I don’t know all the details on these games, but there were some interesting results on Friday in games that were out of the spotlight a bit.

First, in the Mountain Valley League, Pacific upset previously undefeated Moreno Valley 23-18. What kind of an upset was this? calpreps.com predicted a 31-10 Moreno Valley win.
It had appeared like Vista Del Lago and Moreno Valley were the top 2 teams in the league. Now, it seems all we know for sure in the league is that Vista Del Lago is No. 1 and Banning is the last team. But Pacific’s win throws into doubt the other four teams.

The other two scores are interesting for the same reason: it’s those schools first-ever league win.
Indian Springs surprisingly routed Rialto 42-0 to win its first ever league game, in San Andreas League. And Adelanto defeated Granite Hills 20-13 in the Desert Sky, earning Adelanto its first-ever league win. Congratulations to those teams. May they be the first of many.

Week 7 high school football fearless predictions

It was a very good Week 6 picking games, perhaps because all the teams are in league now. I was 25-5 for the week, and I am now 168-56-2 of the season, having picked 3 games with the exact winning margin. I had none of those in Week 6, however.

Here are my Week 7 predictions

Thursday’s Games
Citrus Belt League
Yucaipa 38, Miller 7
Mt. Baldy League
Colony 49, Alta Loma 21
Don Lugo 28, Ontario 13

Friday’s Games
Ambassador League
Arrowhead Christian 42, Aquinas 21
Linfield Christian 41, Western Christian 24
Ontario Christian 24, Notre Dame 21

Baseline League
Upland 49, Chino Hills 45
Etiwanda 21, Damien 10
Rancho Cucamonga 31, Los Osos 14

Citrus Belt League
Redlands East Valley 42, Cajon 17
Carter 35, Eisenhower 13
Redlands 28, Citrus Valley 14

De Anza League
Big Bear 28, Twentynine Palms 17
Shadow Hills 52, Yucca Valley 14

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How can San Gorgonio High football move up in the rankings?

This is the time of year when football teams start paying a little closer to CIF-SS rankings. San Gorgonio (5-1) is the overwhelming favorite to win the San Andreas League, but what kind of chance to the Spartans have to move up from their No. 5 ranking in the CIF-SS Inland Division and thus improve their playoff draw?
None of the other San Andreas League teams are ranked, and they shouldn’t expect to be anytime soon, with no one else better than 2-4 entering this week.
So, it comes down to the teams ranked ahead of them losing.
The best chance this week involves No. 4 Perris Citrus Hill, which plays No. 9 San Jacinto. One team ranked ahead of San Gorgonio will play another Top 10 team each week remaining in the season. No. 2 Moreno Valley Rancho Verde plays No. 6 Riverside Poly in Week 8, No. 3 Romoland Heritage plays No. 8 Menifee Paloma Valley in Week 9 and No. 1 Redlands East Valley plays No. 7 Carter in Week 10.
Regardless, the Spartans aren’t going to be afraid of anyone in the playoffs. But with a relatively weak SAL, a favorable playoff draw in the first round or two would reduce the risk of an early upset as the Spartans acclimate themselves to a new playoff division.

Big Bear High a tough destination for Desert Mirage

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ABOVE: The Desert Mirage volleyball team warms up in the parking lot of the Snow Valley ski resort on Monday, while waiting for Highway 18 to reopen.

Getting to Big Bear High School isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
There are essentially three ways into the Big Bear area: from the west and San Bernardino, it’s highway 18; from the High Desert, it’s the other end of highway 18; and from the south and Redlands, it’s highway 38.
Highway 18 between Big Bear Lake and Snow Valley ski resort has complete Caltrans closures during the day for several weekdays this month.
The issue caught several drivers by surprise, including the bus carrying the Desert Mirage girls volleyball and girls tennis teams to Big Bear for afternoon matches.
JV volleyball and the tennis were scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m., but the road didn’t reopen until 3 p.m. The bus didn’t arrive at the high school until about 3:30, delaying the start of both matches by about an hour.
“I emailed their AD and warned them about construction,” Big Bear athletic director Ron Perkins said. “It shouldn’t be a problem. Most of them come another way. I’m not sure why they went that way. That’s the only delay we’ve had this season.”
Big Bear uses the other two routes to play league opponents, and usually only takes the closed route when playing Rim of the World or San Bernardino schools in nonleague contests.
“It’s a little bit of a headache to keep track of what’s going on,” Perkins said. “Right now, all three routes have some construction.”

Zamore Zigler of Carter High picks San Jose State

Carter High senior Zamore Zigler seen above from an interview during his junior year after returning a punt for a touchdown, has committed to play football at San Jose State, coach Alex Pierce reports.

Pierce said Zigler has not yet made his trip to San Jose State.

Zigler, recruited as a running back, has only 47 yards rushing for Carter this season. But he has been explosive once again as a returner, returning four kicks (three punts and one kickoff) for touchdowns this season. He also has an interception and six pass deflections as a defensive back

Last year, he had five touchdowns on returns, including one against Colton, about which he is talking in the interview.

Inland Empire Challenge: Is it a true county championship?

You can see videos above of two of the top San Bernardino County runners on Saturday at the Inland Empire Challenge: Alta Loma’s Koby Pederson, who was third in the boys sweepstakes and Serrano’s Kelly Fairchild, who was third in the girls sweepstakes.

I’ve covered this event several times over the years and the organizers, which include Alta Loma’s Rich Morales and Rancho Cucamonga’s Terry Tierney (and formerly included former Rancho Cucamonga girls coach Mark Cushman), bill it as a battle between the counties and to crown county champions.

They know it’s not really determining who is best in each county. They’ve tried hard to get more of the top schools from the two counties to commit. The problem is, it’s also the same weekend as the Clovis Invitational, run on the same Woodward Park course that hosts the state meet.

So, programs that are among the top 10 in the county perennially, such as Yucaipa and Ayala don’t go to the Inland Empire Challenge. Many of the top Riverside County teams also don’t come for the same reason.

Serrano coach Ken Quinn said he would love sometime to have his teams go to Clovis, but they can’t afford it. And he loves the IE Challenge, because as he says, “it’s closer than some of our league meets.”

He’d love to see the IE Challenge moved to the third Saturday in October, the same weekend as the Orange County Championships, because there would be fewer conflicts for San Bernardino County schools.

It will continue to be a great event, regardless. But to be true championships for both counties, something needs to change.

This time, no nightmare for DeZhontaey Fletcher

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DeZhontaey Fletcher, the senior RB from Oak Hills proudly displayed his cast after beating Serrano. Why?
If you read my feature story on him a few weeks ago (here it is: http://bit.ly/1rwFUwm) you’d know that Fletcher broke his ankle in the Serrano game last year.
It was on the very first play of the game, it ended Fletcher’s season, and Oak Hills lost the game and a chance at the Mojave River League title.
This time, Fletcher decided to bring the cast to the game (he doesn’t usually do that), to remember what happened a year ago.
Now he can forget about last year as Fletcher ran for 163 yards and a touchdown in Oak Hills’ first-ever win over Serrano, 24-21.