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
Citrus Belt League
Yucaipa 38, Miller 7
Mt. Baldy League
Colony 49, Alta Loma 21
Don Lugo 28, Ontario 13
Arrowhead Christian 42, Aquinas 21
Linfield Christian 41, Western Christian 24
Ontario Christian 24, Notre Dame 21
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Week 5 was a light week in terms of high school football, so there were fewer games to pick. In all, I went 18-7-1 for the week (Aquinas tied), and overall for the year, I am 143-51-2. This week, everyone has league games.
Linfield Christian 28, Aquinas 14
Arrowhead Christian 42, Riverside Notre Dame 38
Ontario Christian 28, Western Christian 26
Chino Hills 48, Rancho Cucamonga 42
Etiwanda 35, Los Osos 10
Upland 42, Damien 14
Citrus Belt League
Carter 21, Cajon 17
Yucaipa 35, Citrus Valley 16
Redlands East Valley 38, Eisenhower 14
Redlands 24, Miller 7
As a sports writer, I generally don’t root. I need to stay unbiased and neutral.
I am just an observer of athletes, coaches and sporting events.
But, there are times in which I feel differently about a subject.
One of those is my latest feature on San Bernardino High senior quarterback Sonnyboy Orfiano. You can read the whole story here, along with other photos and videos: http://bit.ly/10RUpQZ.
Now, there’s a difference between rooting for someone to win a game, and rooting for someone in life. I would like to see Orfiano succeed in life. That could mean winning a few more football games, but really, it’s about more than that. It’s about him getting a break. I root for all athletes in the area to have success after high school, but many of the other athletes don’t need the breaks that Orfiano needs, or deserves.
Up until now, he’s made enough breaks of his own.
He was dealt a rough hand, from growing up in Stockton with little to no money in small living quarters to someone who made his own break, moving in with his brother in San Bernardino.
While things are better in San Bernardino, they’re still not easy. He’s worked hard to help his team to a 4-1 record, and has gotten interest from at least 1 school, Western New Mexico although he hasn’t committed anywhere.
As hard as he has worked, someone still has to offer him a scholarship. He can’t make anyone give him a scholarship. So getting a break would be getting a scholarship to play football, because otherwise, there’s a good chance he won’t be able to go to college and play football.
Sometimes, the biggest question in recruiting a player (especially one from outside the area), is going to stay there or if he’ll get homesick and return home.
To all those schools who might doubt whether Orfiano would stick, I can’t say definitively that he will. But consider this: he made the tough decision to leave his mother, grandmother and two younger brothers to move to San Bernardino (where he had no ties otherwise) to live with his brother.
He made a big leap of faith coming to San Bernardino and so far it’s worked out for him. Now he needs a school to take a leap of faith with him.