Through out this season, ESPNLA plans to highlight the Inland Empire's top matchups of the week, whether it's two undefeated teams going head to head in league play, a beefy offensive line against a swarming defensive front, or an offseason transfer meeting up against his former team. And what's a good preview without a prediction?
Here's what to look for this weekend.
Fontana Summit vs. Etiwanda at Fontana A.B. Miller HS, Friday (7 p.m.) -- One of the top passers in the Southern Section last season goes up against one of the best ball hawks. Larry Cutbirth of Etiwanda threw for 2,996 yards and 32 touchdowns last season, both stats among the top 10 in the state’s biggest section. He'll have to contend with Boise State-bound senior corner Donte Deayon, who hauled in 10 interceptions as a junior, which tied for second in the section. The game was expected to mark the long-awaited return of Etiwanda senior linebacker Chandler Scott, who sat out last season because of a knee injury after leading the Baseline League in tackles as a sophomore, but he suffered another knee injury over the summer and is expected to miss the first two games.
Prediction: Summit 26, Etiwanda 21.
San Bernardino Cajon at Temecula Chaparral, Friday (7 p.m.) -- Chaparral would very much like to spring from the blocks and start the season on a positive note for new coach Ryan Tukua. The matchup to watch here is also quarterback vs. cornerback. Matt Morin returns behind center for Chaparral and the San Diego State-bound left-hander will be trying to beat a Cajon secondary that includes Damontae Kazee, who has committed to Washington but has a brother, Walter, who plays running back for San Diego State. Kazee is also Cajon’s biggest offensive threat at receiver, and he’ll face a defense led by Chaparral strong safety C.J. Dozier, who has committed to Arizona State.
Prediction: Chaparral 20, Cajon 17.
Pomona Diamond Ranch at Chino, Friday (7 p.m.) -- If nothing else, this game should be interesting to watch from a coaching perspective. Chino’s balanced offense will stare down a defense coached by former Riverside North, USC and NFL defensive end Chris Claiborne, in his first season as defensive coordinator at Diamond Ranch. He'll have to find a way to stop Chino quarterback Sean Molles, who threw for 2,343 yards and 29 touchdowns last season, and running back Xavier Browne, who totaled 1,275 yards and 20 touchdowns. Claiborne was defensive coordinator the last two seasons at Corona High, where he developed defensive end DeVante Wilson, now at USC.
Prediction: Chino 28, Diamond Ranch 10.
La Quinta at Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos, Friday (7 p.m.) -- Taylor Pope might have to be a one-man band for La Quinta. The senior quarterback is the lone returning all-Desert Valley League selection from last season’s team, and one of the key pieces on defense and special teams for the Blackhawks. Los Osos missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2004 and returns just eight starters, but the Grizzlies have one of the area's better offensive guards to lean on in 6-4, 280-pound senior Dylan La Frenz.
Prediction: La Quinta 14, Los Osos 13.