Prep Preview: North vs. Arlington

I’m covering the Riverside North-Riverside Arlington varsity football game tonight for The Press-Enterprise and The best part of this assignment is that the result will determine final Inland Valley League seedings for the upcoming CIF-Southern Section Central Division playoffs.

Since both teams lost to Moreno Valley Rancho Verde and all three sport 4-1 league records, this game could determine the league champion should Rancho Verde lose to MoVal Vista del Lago. Since that is more unlikely than Mitt Romney winning the upcoming election, the winner in tonight’s contest will be the Inland Valley League’s No. 2 playoff seed and the loser No. 3, with the latter being the far less enviable position.

North (5-4 overall, 4-1 Inland Valley) has won the games it was supposed to win while its only losses, thus far, have come to playoff-bound teams. In those losses, Coach Mark Parades has seen his critically acclaimed offensive plans thwarted as North has been held to 14 points or fewer in each defeat. There have been a number or bright spots: Senior RB Denzel Foster has fostered the Huskies, taking 67.5 percent (181 of 268) of the team’s carries this season. The 5-foot-9, 200-pounder has totaled 1,215 yards and 13 TDs this season. Junior QB Joseph Garcia also has accumulated some decent statistics this year, completing more than 56 percent of his pass attempts for nearly 1,300 yards.

Arlington (6-3 overall, 4-1 Inland Valley) is coming off a 27-20 loss to MoVal Rancho Verde in Week 9. The Lions’ hind-quarters will be up against a wall vs. the Huskies, an explosive offensive team if nothing else. Junior RB Ruben Kelly surpassed the 1,000-yard mark vs. Rancho Verde after going for 127 vs. the Mustangs. He’s now averaging more than 120 yards per game on the ground, and has 10 TDs after rushing for two in the loss. Senior TB Martez Duarte has been the thunder to Kelly’s lightning, adding 714 yards and five TDs for in Coach Pat McCarthy’s running attack. Senior QB Roman Holston continues to be competent under center, and has thrown just one INT against seven TDs and a 59-percent completion percentage this season.

 — QB: Joseph Garcia, Jr. (6-foot-2, 182 pounds); RB: Denzel Foster, Sr. (5-9, 200); Tavita Samuelu, Jr. (5-9, 185); TE/LB: Marcus Baugh, Sr. (6-4, 245); WR: Christian Horton, Sr. (5-11, 170); DL: Chris Carter, Sr. (6-1, 245); LB: Rene Rodriguez, Sr. (5-9, 200); ILB: Brandon Bromley, Sr. (6-foot, 185); OLB/WR: Kyle Helmle, Sr. (6-foot, 200); Jason Bell-Wilson, Sr. (6-1, 191); DB: Jakeil Hampton, Sr. (5-11, 178), Shaquille Jones, (5-11, 150).

Arlington — QB/DB: Roman Holston, Sr. (5-foot-11, 185 pounds); RB/DB: Martez Duarte, Sr. (5-11, 185); Ruben Kelly, Jr. (5-9, 170); Akuin Phelps, Sr. (5-10, 170); WR/DB: Devone Stokes, Jr. (6-foot, 245); Lavell Thomas, Jr. (5-10, 180); RB/LB: Tim Weaver, Jr. (5-11, 180); WR/DB: Mikuel Smith, Sr. (5-9, 165); TE/LB: Daniel Castro, Sr. (6-2, 215); TE/LB: Clayton Palmer, Sr. (6-3, 225); K/P: D.J. Young, Sr. (5-9, 169).

Arlington’s defense scheme and execution. It’s the best among Riverside city schools and No. 1 in the Inland Valley League. Coach ‘Mac’ and his staff should be able to isolate Foster and force North to beat the Lions with its passing game. The Huskies will get close, but not close enough.
THE FINAL SCORE: Arlington 27, North 26

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