San Andreas League openers include top-ranked San Gorgonio playing undefeated Rim of the World in Crestline tonight.
Then there’s CIF Division 5 challenger Aquinas, the 2017 CIF champion, opening against Ontario Christian in a battle of Top 10 teams.
Citrus Valley High’s 48-7 win against visiting Grand Terrace last week didn’t fool Blackhawks’ coach Kurt Bruich.
Perhaps giving a preview of eventual locker room chat, he said, “We played horribly tonight. We ran wrong routes. We had incomplete passes.
“We’re not going to be a good team if we play like this.”
Now the question becomes comparing non-league outcomes.
At 4-1, San G has beaten Yucaipa, Fontana Summit, Rialto Carter and Rubidoux while losing to otherwise winless Redlands.
How does that compare with defending San Andreas League champion Rialto Eisenhower, now 2-3, while Fontana Jurupa Hills and Rim of the World, both 5-0, are being chased by CIF Division 13 Arroyo Valley, ranked second?
Citrus Belt League begins in Yucaipa for the Blackhawks.
“You can’t compare scores,” said Bruich.
Citrus Valley has built its record against a variety of winless teams, matchups that were solid when they were originally scheduled.
“This schedule was made by me before I got here,” said Bruich, who noted the high level of past success of Grand Terrace, Victorville Silverado, La Quinta, Ontario Colony, Moreno Valley Valley View, teams Citrus Valley has beaten easily this season.
Redlands East Valley, meanwhile, is 0-5 with a torturous schedule that included losses against ranked teams like Norco and Menifee Heritage. It was a schedule set up by Bruich at REV before shifting over to Citrus Valley.
“No comment,” said Bruich.
If Aquinas had a comment, it would be to attest the strength of its non-league schedule. Ambassador League play starts tonight.
Topping it off would be unbeaten Simi Valley Grace Brethren and Fontana Kaiser, both defending CIF champions with unbeaten records this season. Both are ranked No. 1 in their respective divisions.
Even Long Beach Millikan, 2-4, had to take on prep power Long Beach Poly a week after losing to the Falcons.
Citrus Valley 48, Grand Terrace 7 -- After the Titans’ 59-second opening possession, ended by a 34-yard punt, QB Dylan Wheatley launched a 3rd-and-4 pass at Ty’Jhon Belton that went for a 55-yard TD. Jordan Garcia-Frye gave the Blackhawks TD runs of 15 and 24 yards to conclude first quarter play with a 21-0 lead.
Aquinas, bye – Ranked eighth in CIF Division 5, the Falcons are seeking their fourth straight Ambassador League championship, sharing with former league rival Notre Dame in 2016, then soaring to back-to-back titles.
San Gorgonio, bye -- The Spartans, ranked No. 1 in its CIF Division 8, open SAL play tonight against Div. 13, fourth-ranked Rim of the World. San G LB Desi Gonzales is the spearhead of the team’s defense which includes All-CIF CB Damian Rubio, plus run-stuffers Leonardo Mendoza and Ajana Tyehimba.
San Bernardino Valley 59, L.A. Southwest 14 – Wolverines’ QB Jeremy Moussa never stopped throwing TD passes, hitting Jorge Alvarado on a 44-yarder 1:08 into the game before capping the scoring with a 9-yarder to Eric Wells late in the third quarter. In between, Moussa found Cobe Strickling, Aaron Howard, Koalie Schroeder on a 91-yarder and Latavion Staples for a 15-of-25, 307-yard, 6 TD performance.
Jhalon Haynes intercepted three passes, one of 5 Wolverines’ picks, while Harold Brooks had 3 ½ of SBVC’s 13 ½ hits for lost yardage.
Univ. Redlands, bye – After sweeping a trio of Northwest Conference teams, the Bulldogs are rolling, especially after a win over nationally-ranked No. 11 Linfield (Ore.) College on Sept. 21. It led Redlands into the Top 25 at No. 20, one notch ahead of Linfield with Mary-Hardin Baylor (Texas), Mt. Union (OH) and Wisconsin-Whitewater 1-2-3 in the poll.
Friday’s prep games
Yucaipa (1-4) at Citrus Valley (5-0), 7 p.m. -- An interesting score comparison: The Blackhawks destroyed Victorville Silverado by 41 points on Sept. 19. Eight days later, Silverado beat Yucaipa, 42-7. The T-Birds have sophomore RB Haiden Smith, who’s averaging close to 100 yards a game, to build around, but Wheatley & Co. loom like the major presence in this CBL opener.
San Gorgonio (4-1) at Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World (5-0), 7 p.m. – Keep in mind that this tiny mountain-based campus is always in the playoff mix, but hasn’t beaten the Spartans since entering the SAL.
The Fighting Scots are no pushover and last week’s win over Arrowhead Christian Academy was another example. Note to the Spartans: RB Philip Smith scored six TDs in this game, including runs of 80 and 85 yards along the way.
Ontario Christian (4-1) at Aquinas (3-2), 7 p.m. – Already, this is an important game to jump out to a quick lead on the Ambassador League field. Knights’ senior QB Daniel Serna can run or throw with a backfield of Tyler Ford and Maxwell Watkins able to rack up yards.
Saturday’s college games
Pasadena City College (2-2) at San Bernardino Valley College (3-1), 6 p.m. – It’s the final game of the non-conference schedule. The Lancers have dropped two in a row, surrendering over 100 combined points to Saddleback-Mission Viejo and Chaffey-Rancho Cucamonga. SBVC’s high-powered attack -- Moussa has 21 TD passes over four games -- may lead to a third straight loss surrendering over 50 points.
Pomona-Pitzer College (1-1) at University of Redlands (3-0), 7 p.m. – The Sagehens have come life as an SCIAC contender in recent years, beating Lewis & Clark (Ore.) and losing to George Fox (Ore.) in non-conference play while coming off a bye. Expect lots of throws from QB Carter Odermann, who was 38-for-67 for 337 yards in the 26-15 loss to George Fox, three mis-throws going for interceptions. Watch for Odermann to take off with the ball, too.