Prep Preview: Chaffey at La Sierra

I’m covering the Ontario Chaffey-Riverside La Sierra varsity football game tonight for The Press-Enterprise. The best part of this assignment — although there’s so much to like — will be reporting on the Eagles, a football program trending upward.

THE LOW DOWN
The Tigers (5-5 overall, 4-2 Mt. Baldy) enter the CIF-Southern Section Central Division playoffs the third best team from a league that doesn’t have a team rated higher than #222 in the state. The last time I covered Chaffey was 2009, also in the playoffs. It was a quarterfinal game vs. Los Osos. The Tigers lost by four or six points. The had a RB named Ronald Douglas who ran for more than 2,000 yards that season. It’s almost the same scenario this season, with senior RB Devon Samuels having rushed for 1,823 yards and 13 TDs in an offense predicated upon three yards and a cloud of dust. Coach Chris Brown’s team completed just 7 of 28 pass attempts for 90 yards ALL SEASON. The Tigers had five other players run for more than 100 yards, but nobody totaled more than 200.

The Eagles (9-1 overall, 6-1 Inland Valley) earned the No. 4 overall seed in the Central Division after going unbeaten aside from a loss to top-seeded Rancho Verde. New coach Mark Rechtenwald’s team scored nearly 30 points per game while his defense allowed fewer than 15 points per game. That pretty solid, no matter how you look at it. La Sierra’s Johnny Salazar has developed into an emerging star. The dual-threat QB finished the regular season sixth in passing yards (1,933) and his touchdown-to-interception ratio (21:3) is second only to Riverside North’s Justin Gheorghe (27:2). Like Gheorghe, Salazar excels outside the pocket. Unlike Gheorghe, Salazar seems a little wilder, by nature. Maybe its the eyes.

KEY PLAYERS:
Ontario Chaffey (Heights and weight not available)
— QB: Samisoni Seluini, Jr.; RB: Devon Samuels, Sr.; WR: Felix Edwards, Sr.; TE: Josh Nudauld, Sr.; OL/DL: Christian Ortiz, Sr.; Viliami Soakai, Sr.; Carnell Spencer, Sr.; LBs: Koko Sitanilei, Sr.; Michael Tejada, Sr.; Joel Koloa, Jr.; DBs: Jake Martinez, Sr.; Juan Bernardino, Sr.; Jamal Logan, Sr.; Lorenzo Garcia-Cline, Sr.; Diego Trejo, Sr.; Anthony Martinez, Sr.; Jesus Robelledo, Soph.; K: Jesus Tuason, Soph.

Riverside La Sierra — QB: Johnny Salazar, Jr. (5-foot-11, 170 pounds); RB: Noel Quinones, Sr. (6-foot, 200); WRs: R.J. Smith, Sr. (5-11, 190); Eric Villar, Sr. (5-9, 150); OL/DL: A.J. Fanene, Sr. (6-1, 280); Joel Sedano (6-foot, 260); Rodrigo Ortiz, Sr. (6-foot, 230); Jakob Madrid, Sr. (5-10, 240); Arturo Aviles, Sr. (5-9, 260); LBs: Ian Sisco-Taylor, Sr. (5-10, 180); Tim Mummert, Sr. (6-foot, 188); James McCoy, Sr. (5-10, 165); DBs: Matt Siems, Sr. (6-2, 170); Charles Green, Sr. (5-9, 165); Jimmy Stepanik, Sr. (5-11, 175); K/P: Daniel Beltran, Sr. (5-11, 190).

THE DIFFERENCE:
Not having seen this year’s verson of Chaffey’s wing-T offense so as to compare it against the 2009 version I cannot say if it’s any better. I’d guess that it’s pretty stinkin’ similar, which means all La Sierra has to do is stop Chaffey’s Samuels. Easy words not so easily accomplished, however. It’ll take muscle, sweat and probably a little blood to beat Chaffey’s mind-numbing blocking schemes. La Sierra’s Salazar and Co. should do there best to score 50 and take their opponent out of it.
PREDICTION: La Sierra 42, Chaffey 21

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