Inland Empire: Games of the week

If this season’s matchup between Phelan Serrano and Upland is anything like a year ago, expect Friday's game to come down to the final whistle.

In Week 2 of the 2009 season, Aaron Long of Serrano appeared to scoop up a fumble with about a minute remaining and return it 56 yards for a touchdown, presumably giving the host Diamondbacks a three-pont lead with the point-after attempt remaining.

However, it was ruled that a referee had inadvertently blown his whistle before the ball was recovered, giving possession to Serrano but eliminating the return. The Diamondbacks were then intercepted on fourth down and Upland escaped with a 21-18 victory.

Serrano went on to lose to Palm Springs in the Southern Section’s Eastern Division final. Upland won the Central Division.

This season, the game moves to Upland, where both teams enter 2-0. Serrano is the top-ranked team in the Eastern Division, while Upland has moved to the Inland Division, where it’s ranked No. 3 in the latest coaches’ poll.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Other games to watch:

Murrieta Valley (1-1) at Eastvale Roosevelt (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Roosevelt scored a touchdown on every offensive possession of the first half last week at Torrance. By the time the game mercifully ended, the Mustangs were ahead, 80-27, becoming just the fifth 11-man team in Riverside County history to score at least 80 points in a game.

Can they continue their offensive splurge Friday night against visiting Murrieta Valley?

Chances are, Roosevelt will find the going a little tougher against the Nighthawks, who feature just two returning starters on defense, but they’re both good ones, linebackers Kane Bachelor and Chris Czarnecki.

Murrieta Valley has also been stingy on defense its first two games, a 15-7 loss to Garden Grove Pacifica and a 17-15 victory against Escondido, courtesy of a buzzer-beating 30-yard field goal by Chad Romano.

Norco (1-0) vs. Etiwanda (0-2) at Colony High in Ontario, Friday, 7 p.m.

Etiwanda might be the best 0-2 team in the Inland Empire.

The Eagles lost, 42.35, two weeks ago against Fontana Summit, then moved the ball effectively last week against Vista Murrieta, but couldn’t keep up in the 42-27 loss.

Much of the credit for Etiwanda’s offensive success can go toward its passing game. Larry Cutbirth has thrown for 556 yards, more than any quarterback in Southern California, and five touchdowns.

Now comes another test for the Eagles. Keeping up with the Cougars and Stanford-bound running back Kelsey Young is a tall order, just ask Crenshaw of Los Angeles, which allowed nearly 300 rushing yards and three touchdowns in a 25-21 loss at Norco last Friday.

Fresno Central at Temecula Chaparral update:

Central running back Brendon Bigelow, one of the highest rated ball carriers in the state who was expected to spearhead his team’s game Friday night at Chaparral of Temecula, is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery, the Fresno Bee reported.

Bigelow, who committed to Washington last spring but was also being pursued by USC and Notre Dame, tore his right anterior cruciate ligament during a scrimmage Aug. 21. He had surgery on the same knee after injuring it during the last game of the 2009 season.

Bigelow is rated the No. 12 running back in the nation by ESPN. He is rated No. 3 in the nation by MaxPreps.com.