Prep Preview: Big VIII League

The Big VIII League is no longer composed of eight teams. So calling themselves a league of eight becomes sort of ridiculous.

Also, it is no longer the most dominant league in the Inland Area (as had been the case since its inception), having been usurped by the Southwestern League in 2011.

Needless to say, the shine has worn off.

Corona Centennial gave Vista Murrieta a tough time in the Inland Division title game but fell short when Hayden Gavett failed to complete a 4th-and-forever pass with less than a minute remaining to seal a 35-28 defeat, Coach Matt Logan’s first loss in five title games since 2004.

This season the Huskies look stout up front but fail to return a noticeable skill-position athlete other than senior Chase Krivishae, a very good slot receiver. Coach Logan prefers a high-tempo offense so it’ll be interesting to see to see which junior, Robert Webber or Risaiah Basurto, takes the most snaps. Either way, it’s hard to see this team equaling its 12-2 record from a year ago.

If there is a season for either Norco (6-5) or Santiago (7-4) to take a title away from Centennial, 2012 may be that season.

The Cougars are building with dual-threat sophomore QB Coltin Gerhart, a bruising runner and improving passer, to give Coach Todd Gerhart a multi-dimensional attack. And count on electric runner Joseph Ajeigbe, a senior returning from a 1,000-yard season, to produce again, and again, and again.

The Sharks are playing on the arm of senior QB Michael Darr, a four-year starter and the program’s all-time leader in most passing statistics. He’ll be throwing to WR Dorion Barnett and hoping that a defense led by LB Derryck Lowrie can give his team the edge it needs to take the top spot for the first time.

Roosevelt (3-7) is that talk of the league, having hired Tony Barile, one of the most successful young coaches in the Inland Area, following Barile’s win in last year’s CIF-SS Eastern Division title game. The coach landed in a talent-rich environment, and should quickly build a winner.

In terms of football, Corona (2-8) is in a worse position than Riverside North (which should have been retained) but remains in a premier league because of tradition and association. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

Riverside King (0-10) went without a varsity football victory in 2011. That’s the City of Riverside’s flagship high school, and it won zero games against 10 defeats. Yeah, the Wolves should still be in the league. …

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. Norco
2. Corona Santiago
3. Corona Centennial
4. Eastvale Roosevelt
5. Corona
6. Riverside King

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Norco RB Joseph Ajiegbe (5-foot-9, 212 pounds)
King RB/DB Miles Brass (5-11, 175)
Santiago QB Michael Darr (5-10, 170)
Centennial OL Cameron Hunt (6-4, 263)
Eastvale RB/WR Dvonte McKneely (5-11, 190)
Corona QB Tristan Beck (6-3, 170)

GAMES TO CONSIDER:
Corona Santiago at Norco, Oct. 5
Corona Centennial at Norco, Oct. 12
Norco at Eastvale Roosevelt, Oct. 19
Corona Centennial at Corona Santiago, Nov. 2

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