Prep Preview: Upland at Centennial

I’m covering the Upland-Corona Centennial CIF-Southern Section Inland Division semifinal varsity football playoff game tonight for The Press-Enterprise and HSGametime.pe.com. The best part of this assignment will gauging the Inland Area’s best offense vs. one of its best defenses.

THE LOW DOWN:
One of two Inland Division games on the night, the winner will likely face No. 1 Vista Murrieta on Nov. 30 for the section title.

The Highlanders (12-0 overall) enter the game having defeated Temecula Great Oak (35-6) and Redlands (28-14) while outscoring opponents 500-205 overall in getting to this point. A semifinalist last season, Coach Tim Salter’s team gets a shot at avenging a 52-23 loss to Centennial in a 2010, also a semifinal. Senior QB Nate Romine has completed 58.6 percent of his pass attempts (133 of 227) for 2,435 yards and 19 TDs, while also rushing for a team-leading 965 yards and 13 TDs this season. Senior DL Joe Mathis, headed to USC on scholarship, has had a down year but currently has 10 sacks, and senior LB Taloa Otuafi averages nearly eight tackles per game to pace an extremely deep corps of linebackers.

The Huskies (11-1 overall) beat Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos (47-21) and Murrieta Valley (70-35) to get here, their ninth consecutive division semifinal. Coach Matt Logan’s team has scored 70 points in two of its last three games, including a 70-28 victory over Corona Santiago in the regular season finale. Junior QB Robert Webber has thrown for 30 TDs against just one INT, completing 177 of 280 pass attempts for 2,749 yards in the process. Both Tre Watson and Austin Renken surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season, and combined for 35 TDs for a team that totaled more than 3,300 rushing yards in 2012.

THE KEY PLAYERS:
Upland
 — QB: Nate Romine, Sr. (6-foot, 195 pounds); RB: Tyler Bratton, Sr. (5-9, 200); Adonis Harrison, Sr. (5-7, 150); WR: Anthony Romero, Sr. (); James Johnson, Sr. (6-3, 205); Trevor Wright, Jr. (6-foot, 185); DL: Joe Mathis, Sr. (6-4, 250); Dean Kabir, Sr. (6-3, 220); LB: Taloa Otuafi, Sr. (6-1, 250); Kendal Dukes, Sr. (5-10, 215); Zac Toussaint, Sr. (5-10, 230); Nafei Lokotui, Sr. (6-1, 240), DB: Delvin Baptiste, Sr. (5-11, 200); K/DB: Sean Aspinall, Sr. (6-foot, 180)

Centennial — QB: Robert Webber, Jr. (5-10, 170); RB: Tre Watson, Jr. (5-10, 190), Austin Renken (5-7, 170); WR: Chase Krivishae, Sr. (5-9, 165); Ryan Pascarella, Sr. (6-2, 190); Barry Ware, Jr. (6-3, 190); D’Vonte McNeely, Jr. (5-11, 200); OL: Cameron Hunt, Sr. (6-5, 275); Anthony Juarez, Sr. (6-6, 310); DL: Jaylen Johnson, Jr. (6-4, 225); Kimo Sherlin, Sr. (5-9, 210); LB: Anthony Yim, Sr. (5-10, 215); Xavier Hughes, Jr. (6-foot, 195); DB: Shane Murray, Sr. (5-9, 180) Miquan Johnson, Sr. (5-9, 200); K: Rigo Luna, Sr. (5-10, 180).

THE DIFFERENCE:
The Huskies undeniable offensive prowess. Some say it may be Centennial’s best offense ever, but regardless of where it ranks, it will take an all-hands-on-deck performance to just slow Webber & Co. because there isn’t a team in the Inland Area that can stop them outright.
THE FINAL SCORE: Centennial 56, Upland 42

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