’11 Inland Area Football List

I covered 17 games for HS GameTime this season. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from September to December, I saw prep football’s good and bad and mostly pristine surfaces from Ontario to Lake Arrowhead, Rubidoux to Victorville.

Here’s FOMB’s best from 2011 Inland Area prep football season:

BEST SLICE OF HISTORY:
Watching perhaps the low-point of Riverside Notre Dame’s football program. I covered the Titans in Weeks 9 and 10 and was treated, err witness, to some of the poorest organized football I’ve ever seen. Notre Dame trailed Rubidoux 24-0 at halftime in Week 9, and Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World 28-0 at halftime in Week 10. Yes, that’s a combined 52-0. That’s really, truly awful for a historically prominent program.

BEST COACH-SPEAK:
Riverside La Sierra wins its first playoff game since 2005, and first-year Coach Mark Recktenwald is all smiles after the Eagles defeated Ontario Chaffey 23-6 in a CIF-Southern Section Central Division quarterfinal game, saying: “It (the victory) means we get to practice on Thanksgiving which, of course, is everybody’s dream. But it’s something for me to reflect upon later. Right now we’re gonna enjoy the win. I’m gonna go home and kiss the wife, and we’ll get ready for next week.”

BEST PERFORMANCE:
Eastvale Roosevelt’s Brandon Rodgers throws for 344 yards and three TDs on 16 of 21 passing as the Mustangs routed Riverside Poly in Week 5. Typically a receiver, Rodgers was thrust into the starting QB role after Aaron Crone, Roosevelt’s three-year starter, was sidelined with a strained throwing shoulder. Rodgers finished the season with some of the best QB numbers in the Inland Area.

BEST COMEBACK:
With the fourth quarter set to begin, Riverside Poly destroys a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat Riverside Ramona 21-17 on Week 2. Poly QB Steven Hamm threw two long TD passes to receivers John Stuart and Matt Peck, respectively, on consecutive drives as the Bears fought back after falling behind 17-7 in the second half. Ramona coach Bob Monk resigned following the regular season.

BEST MOMENT(S):
One game, two moments, Week 8 at California School for the Deaf, Riverside. First, the Riverside Christian “supporter” who gave me the business for going about my business. He insisted I was a “spy” for the other team. Hilarious. Then, my interviews with CSDR’s coach, Rantz Teeters, and senior FB Kelvin Nhan. Their ability to communicate is as impressive as their ability to perform under pressure. Their brilliance was almost overwhelming.

BEST GAME:
With a playoff spot hanging in the balance for both teams, Redlands goes to Fontana in Week 10 and comes from behind to beat Miller. Junior RB Craig Lee established himself as one of the best at his position going into 2012 with a 221-yard performance that almost single-handedly altered the fortunes of two programs. His second-quarter outburst (129 yards, three TDs) will one day be the stuff of school legend.

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