Prep Preview: Southwestern League

The Southwestern League has produced two CIF-Southern Section football champions in the last three seasons. Temecula Chaparral won the Inland Division title in 2009, while Vista Murrieta is the reigning Inland Division champion. (Corona Centennial won it in between.)

Clearly, the road to the 2012 title will be Interstate 15-S from Corona to the heart of SoCal’s wine country.

Vista was 14-0 on the field in 2011 but forfeited five non-league games because of an ineligible player. Still, the Broncos defeated Corona Centennial in a thrilling title game. Their best player, Su’a Cravens, is back for his senior year before rolling off to USC as a blue chip recruit. Their QB, Nicolas Stevens, will attend Colorado State. All the pieces are in place.

Murrieta Mesa (4-6) may be a dark horse, but they have the Inland Area’s elite quarterback-receiver combination and an evolving defense that can only get better. Look out opposing DCs! Who can stop senior QB Chase Chambers to senior WR Kahlil Greene from going down as one of the best duos ever?

Chaparral (7-5) has a couple of athletic and talented kids (RB/DB Skyler Seibold and CB/WR Patrick Clifford) but lack much appeal. Can the Pumas play enough defense and control the clock all the way to a league title? It’ll take more than three yards and a cloud of dust. They’re going to need big plays. Are Seibold and Clifford big-time players?

Great Oak (5-5) has a lethal 1-2 combination in senior QB Carson Luna and senior RB Jakob Certeza. The Wolfpack, however, run the ball hard and only throw it, seemingly, as a necessity. Have Luna’s limited attempts have downplayed his ability and effected his scholarship perceptions?

Murrieta Valley (5-5) is senior QB Andrew Blake’s team. There’s no doubt about it. Mostly because there’s no one left to throw to. Blake inherits as void of the big-play potential the Nighthawks unleashed last season.

Temecula Valley (5-5) is the history of this league. But the Golden Bears are like a favorite uncle: He can’t shoot hoops anymore (because of his bad knees) but there’s some newspaper clippings and a plaque on the wall at your aunt’s house that says he’s once was on a team that’d won a CIF title. He’s a great guy, though. Comes to all the parties.

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. Vista Murrieta
2. Murrieta Mesa
3. Temecula Chaparral
4. Temecula Great Oak
5. Murrieta Valley
6. Temecula Valley

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Murrieta Valley QB Andrew Blake (6-foot-2, 180 pounds)
Great Oak RB Jakob Certeza (6-1, 205)
Murrieta Mesa QB Chase Chambers (6-3, 195)
Vista Murrieta LB Su’a Cravens (6-3, 215)
Temecula Valley OL Addison Pulsipher (6-6, 230)
Chaparral RB/DB Skyler Seibold (6-2, 200)

GAMES TO CONSIDER:
Murrieta Mesa at Murrieta Valley, Oct. 12
Temecula Great Oak at Temecula Valley Oct. 26
Temecula Chaparral at Vista Murrieta, Nov. 2

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