Prep playoffs are about to unfold … Citrus Valley KO’s Yucaipa … SBVC holds on against Citrus-Glendora, first in conference … Various division alignments lead trio of teams into different playoff chases.
Aquinas easily won the Ambassador League championship, rolling through its five opponents with ease, thus earning a home game in the process.
San Gorgonio’s loss to Rialto Eisenhower, new to the San Andreas League, cost the Spartans this year’s league championship. But San G rolled to a second-place finish after beating Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World last week.
Citrus Valley grabbed third place in the high-achieving Citrus Belt League, stopping a solid Yucaipa squad in last week’s regular season finale.
Those three schools will be trying to plow through different playoff alignments, courtesy of a second year of a Competitive Equity program organized by the CIF Southern Section.
The playoff draws from Sunday morning, Oct. 28, at the CIF office in Los Alamitos awaited:
Aquinas (Div. 5) — Last year’s Division 9 champions will get a crack at this year’s Division 5 playoffs with Hacienda Heights entry Los Altos coming to San Bernardino for a crack at the Falcons.
Citrus Valley (Div. 7) — One division higher than last year’s Div. 8 appearance, the Blackhawks picked up a huge win for their program at Yucaipa last week. Citrus Valley draws a road game at Riverside Notre Dame in this week’s Div. 7 playoff opener.
San Gorgonio (Div. 9) — Remember that the Spartans are just two years removed from winning a CIF Div. 7 championship. Last year’s Div. 11 champions, Big Bear, will get first crack at San G in this year’s playoff run.
Note: In a rarity, San G has both area mountain schools — Rim of the World and Big Bear — in back-to-back weeks.
Friday’s prep games
Citrus Valley 24, Yucaipa 7 — Thunderbird footballers have never lost to the Blackhawks, rolling up 210 points in four previous victories, but only earned a 42-yard TD from speedy QB Keo McChesney in last week’s Citrus Valley triumph. Blackhawk defenders Ruben Tinjaca, Eddie Chang and Danny Lockhart (16 tackles) each had QB sacks on McChesney, plus sophomore Luke Burroughs snuck in to block a FG. Jordan Garcia-Frye’s 119-yard, two TD rushing performance was a key.
San Gorgonio 42, Rim of the World 22 — The Scots came into this game with a better record than the Spartans, but San G QB Jordan Pachot capped a brilliant senior season with 251 yards, throwing TD passes to Jalen Matthews (68 yards) and Elijah Hall (75 yards), the latter racking up 130 yards in receptions plus another 108 yards on 10 carries.
Aquinas 76, Upland Western Christian 0 — It was a simple tune-up for this year’s playoff runs which, over the past few seasons, has run up a 9-3 record between 2015-2017. The Ambassador League champion Falcons are carried by a variety of weapons, ranging from a 3-headed defensive monster — Malakia Vaipulu, Michael Hotetz and Zyon Mathis — while RB Andrew Kellstrom is a 1,000-yard rusher.
Saturday’s college games
San Bernardino Valley 42, Citrus-Glendora 35 — School career QB record-setting Armando Herrera got intercepted for an early TD against the Owls, then added career TD throws 48, 49 and 50, to Justin Lankford (18 yards), Elijah Smith (16, 23 yards) and DeJuan Moon (58, 24 yards) while racking up 409 yards on 62 passes.
SBVC defenders got nine tackles for 40 lost yards, including three QB sacks, with Wesley Smith adding an interception.
University of Redlands 51, Cal Lutheran-Thousand Oaks 23 — In front of nearly 2,000 fans, RB Connor Kennedy’s 180-yard, 2-TD led a vicious ground assault (308 yards) against the Kingsmen while Bulldog QB Levi Plante (8-of-11) threw for 132 yards and ran for another 41 yards.
Joe Munroe’s 48-yard interception return helped set up one Bulldog score, Chad Virgil recovering a Cal Lutheran fumble. Nick Castro and Cajon High’s Matthew Betancourt each had a team-high eight tackles.
Citrus Valley (7-3, 3-2) vs. Riverside North (8-2, 3-0), 7 p.m. — Great matchup between an annual playoff participant (14-1, CIF champions in 2015). Titans’ QB Dave Koenig, who has over 2,000 yards in the air, is supported by an all-purpose back, Tyrone Mosley, who has snagged passes for over 700 yards and carried for over 700 yards. Notre Dame won the newly conformed Sunbelt League title this season.
Los Altos (4-6, 2-3) at Aquinas (9-1, 5-0), 7 p.m. — This is the Conquerors’ first losing season since 2010, which includes a 13-1 season in 2016, losing in the division finals to Lancaster Paraclete. West Covina South Hills rolled up a 49-14 win over L.A. last weekend. Once QB Caleb Williams turned eligible at Week 6, the Falcons got an additional weapon in its offensive attack.
San Gorgonio (7-3, 4-1) vs. Big Bear (9-1, 3-0) at Big Bear Middle School, 7 p.m. — The Bears operated out of a Wing T offense, longtime coach Dave Griffiths loving the approach taken by Army, based on a compact-sized team using a variable ground attack. Four players, including QB Daniel Jett, average 6.9 yards a carry, or better.
San Bernardino Valley (7-1, 3-0) vs. Victor Valley College (2-6, 0-3) at Silverado High School, 1 p.m. — The Rams have lost three straight; losing to College of the Desert, 38-22, with just 237 total yards. Savon Field picked off a pair of passes for the Rams, who didn’t pick up a single QB sack.
They will be playing one of the state’s top JUCO offensive attacks, headed by Herrera (34 TDs, 3,094 passing yards).
University of Redlands (6-2, 4-1) at Whittier College (1-6, 1-4), 5 p.m. — Since a share of the SCIAC championship is still up for grabs, the Bulldogs not only need wins against the Poets and next week against visiting Occidental, but first place Claremont-Mudd (6-2, 5-0) must lose against both Chapman (4-3, 3-2), another team still in the chase, or Pomona-Pitzer (4-3, 3-2).
Kennedy is second in SCIAC rushing, nearly at 100 yards a game.