Inland Empire: Games of the week

ESPNLA finally gets to sort out the question for ourselves.

Just how good is Fontana Kaiser?

We hope to find out Friday night beginning at 7 p.m., when the Cats, ranked No. 15 in the Southland by ESPNLA, host Fontana Summit in a battle for first place in the Sunkist League.

Looking at Kaiser’s results this season and it’s clear there’s something special under the hood.

The Cats (8-0, 3-0) shutout San Bernardino Cajon, 35-0, on Sept. 24. Cajon is ranked No. 5 in the Central Division and sits in sole possession of first place in the San Andreas League. A week later, they blew out No. 8 Palm Desert, 48-0, and prior to that shut out Big VIII League member Riverside North, 28-0.

Summit (6-1-1, 3-0) has been more streaky this season, but has the talent to make a run at Kaiser.

The SkyHawks opened the season with an impressive 42-35 victory against Etiwanda, then tied Redlands, 24-24, despite missing its best player, Devon Blackmon, due to an ankle injury. Blackmon, who plays defensive back and rotates among the skill positions on offense, is the third-highest rated recruit in the Southland by ESPNLA.

The SkyHawks were at full strength Oct. 1 against Victorville Silverado, but lost, 20-18, knocking them from their perch in the Eastern Division. Now that spot is occupied by the Cats, with Summit down at No. 4.

Three more to see:

La Quinta (7-1, 3-0) at Palm Springs (7-1, 3-0), Friday–This game has settled the Desert Valley League championship the last two seasons and this year appears no different. La Quinta defeated the Indians, 44-22, last season, but Palm Springs went on to win its first Southern Section title. La Quinta is ranked No. 2 in the Central Division, Palm Springs is No. 3. ESPNLA.com’s pick: La Quinta 24, Palm Springs 17.

Elsinore (7-1, 3-0) at Romoland Heritage (8-0, 3-0), Friday–In just its second year with a senior class, Heritage has come a long way in a short amount of time. They’ll have to contend with a talented Elsinore team that has shared the Sunbelt League title six of the last seven years, but would probably like to keep this one for itself. Elsinore is ranked No. 3 in the Eastern Division, Heritage is No. 5. ESPNLA.com’s pick: Heritage 23, Elsinore 21.

Colton (6-2, 4-1) at San Bernardino San Gorgonio (4-4, 4-1), Friday–Colton appeared to suffer a big blow when running back Tyler Ervin went down with an ankle injury Oct. 8 against Arroyo Valley, but Devan Hussey has picked up the slack, breaking the 100-yard barrier in two of the last three games. Ryan Hunter-Simms has eight sacks for San Gorgonio, ranked No. 7 in the Central Division. Colton is No. 5. ESPNLA.com’s pick: Colton 27, San Gorgonio 16.