IE: Five questions to ponder after Week 2

Q: Which I.E. team has improved the most since last season?

A: That question was a little tougher to answer following Week 1, but after upsetting Alemany last weekend, J.W. North might be on the verge of one of the greatest one-year turnarounds in I.E. history. The Huskies, who finished 2-8 last season, improved to 2-0 with a 36-35 victory Friday night against Alemany, which entered the game ranked No. 3 in the Southland by ESPNLA. North could have played for the tie after scoring with 53 seconds remaining, but who wants to see a tie? Instead, coach Mark Paredes opted to try for the two-point conversion and the Huskies punched it in to the roar of the crowd at Riverside College. By the time he graduates, Justin Gheorghe might end up with a statue on the front lawn at North. Back in June, he helped the Huskies win their first section title in baseball since 1994, and Friday night he threw for 216 yards, completing all three passes on the game-winning drive and carrying the ball twice for 40 yards.

Q: Which team has been the most surprising?

A: Cajon was expected to be good this season, but not this good. The Cowboys had their way with Kaiser on Friday night, building a 24-point halftime lead on their way to a 52-7 victory, the most points allowed by Kaiser in program history. Probably most impressive is Cajon's offensive balance and its ability to pinprick their opponent’s weaknesses. Edwin Morales threw for 171 yards and two touchdowns against Kaiser, and the running game accounted for 224 yards and five scores. Defensively, the Cowboys held Kaiser to 171 total yards and zero through the air. Just as important, Cajon isn’t beating itself, committing just one turnover this season.

Q: Which program has gone backward the furthest?

A: Roosevelt earns that distinction after another defensive meltdown Friday night against Murrieta Valley. The Mustangs led by 10 points at the half but couldn’t hold on against the Nighthawks and lost, 35-34, to fall to 0-2. Roosevelt defeated Murrieta Valley, 33-12, last season en route to finishing 9-3, including 5-2 in the Big VIII League. In the rematch, the Mustangs were expected to get quarterback Aaron Crone back from an injury to his throwing shoulder, but he wasn’t ready and sat for the second consecutive week. Still, that doesn’t excuse the defense for allowing five touchdowns for the second straight game. During the offseason, some suggested the Mustangs would be hurt by the departure of several key players and it appears they were correct.

Q: Which running back is off to the best start?

A: Michael Shepherd of Temescal Canyon was the front runner after totaling 468 rushing yards and seven touchdowns through the first two weeks of the season but then he suffered a leg injury and had to sit out last week’s 24-10 loss to Steele Canyon. That allowed Xavier Browne of Chino to move into the lead after he rushed for 191 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-34 victory against Oak Park. In three games, Browne has rushed for 503 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 6.13 yards a carry.

Q: Who has been the most impressive sophomore?

A: Brett Hollingsworth is taking his lumps as the starting quarterback for M.L. King this season, and he could be one of the top quarterbacks in the I.E. two years from now, but the sophomore who’s off to the best start is Heritage kicker Logan Netter, who has booted four field goals in three games. Last season, the Patriots kicked three field goals in 13 games. Netter knows there’s a backup kicker just waiting to step in should he falter. That would be his brother, Jordan, a junior.