Prep Preview: Citrus Belt League
CITRUS BELT LEAGUE PREVIEW
(Records in parenthesis)
The top of the CBL is relatively clear cut. Redlands East Valley is defending a CIF-State title, and Rialto Carter has one of the Inland area’s best players. So it’ll likely be the fight for third place, and the league’s final automatic playoff spot, that’s the most intriguing. Five teams have a shot at it. (Sorry Miller, but you have to do more than host every big local game.)
Redlands East Valley (15-1 overall, 7-0 CBL) made a whole lot of history last season, and junior QB Armando Herrera (3,864 yards, 42 TDs) has yet to reach his potential. Senior WRs Khris Vaughn (65 rec., 1,270 yards) and C.J. Harris (59 rec., 862 yards) are his main targets, and senior RB Joey Harman (1,521 yards, 13 TDs) will be leaned on even more this season.
Rialto Carter (9-3, 6-1) is another rare Inland area program that managed to keep pace in the face of divisional shifts. The Lions are physical and tough, and senior ILB Lokeni Toailoa has a motor that never stops. He’s something out of the Su’a Cravens mold, which is to say he’s rare and awesome.
San Bernardino Cajon (7-4, 5-2) had success with a young team last year. Now it’s up to coach Nick Rogers to push the program into the upper echelon of the CBL. The talent in North San Bernardino is there but the Cowboys still play in league’s worst stadium.
Redlands Citrus Valley (4-7, 3-4) was a playoff team in its first season in the CBL. That’s no minor accomplishment. The fact that the Blackhawks scored 10 points the last time they played REV is a minor accomplishment.
Yucaipa (5-5, 3-4) took some lumps last season as its youth was served, but coach Justin Price now has an experienced and confident team that still flies under the radar.
Redlands (4-6, 3-4) just missed out on the playoffs last year, but the Terriers have a QB-RB tandem that should be good enough for postseason play this year.
Rialto Eisenhower (4-6, 1-6) has a roster that looks nothing like it did last season. There’s no telling what coach Mike Clark has planned.
Fontana Miller (1-9, 0-7) defeated Fontana for its lone win last season. Beating the Steelers may be the Rebels’ only hope this season, too.
PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
Redlands East Valley
San Bernardino Cajon
Redlands Citrus Valley
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB Joe Burrola, Sr., Redlands
RB/WB Giovanni Daniel, Sr., Cajon
OLB/DE Erick Garcia, Sr., Cajon
RB Joey Harman, Sr., REV
QB/TE/ILB Brent Hernandez, Sr., Carter
QB Armando Herrera, Jr., REV
QB Nathan Martinez, Jr., Yucaipa
RB Kendall Johnson, Jr., Yucaipa
RB Tony Sandifer, Sr., Redlands
LB/SS/SB Lokeni Toailoa, Sr., Carter
WR Khris Vaughn, Sr., REV
Sept. 4 — Redlands at Palm Springs, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 — Fontana Kaiser at Cajon, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 — REV at MoVal Rancho Verde, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 — San Gorgonio at Yucaipa, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 — Carter at REV, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 — REV vs. Redlands at Dodge Stadium, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 — Eisenhower at Carter, 7 p.m.