Prep Impressions: Week 4

Corona Santiago (dark uniforms) scored 28 points in the third quarter vs. Temecula Chaparral in Week 4.

Corona Santiago (charcoal and teal uniforms) exploded for 28 points during the third quarter vs. Temecula Chaparral in Week 4.

I covered the Temecula Chaparral-Corona Santiago varsity football game for The Press-Enterprise, & @pecom_preps on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, and came away thinking of four reasons why both teams will need a lot of things to go their respective ways in order to reach the postseason.

Both come from leagues considered the best the Inland Area has to offer. The Big VIII League boasts the current SoCal champion, while the Southwestern League is home to some of the best talent in the nation.

Neither is even the second-best team in said leagues. Chaparral has at least Vista Murrieta and Murrieta Valley ahead of the them in the SWL. Santiago will battle with Corona, Eastvale Roosevelt and Riverside King for third in the Big VIII because common sense dictates it’s not fair to compare to Corona Centennial (or Norco this season).

Neither team is very deep. Santiago comes closer here, in terms of numbers, to looking like a big-time program. Senior QB Jacob Hennie is as good as any Big VIII QB not named Victor Viramontes, and the Sharks have loads of skill position guys. Chaparral has senior WR/KR Lloyd Hightower — he’s very, very good — then starts three sophomores on its offensive line.

Both coaches are in their first year. Jeremy McCullough has put together an interesting coach staff at Chaparral, including local re-treads Tommy Leach and Jeff Roney, but results have proved inconsistent so far. Scott Morrison lost his first three games after being hired to replace energetic local favorite Jeff Steinberg, but has won his last two, including his first win.

Santiago head coach Scott Morrison:
“I think our kids played their butts off. We have a lot better to get but our effort was great tonight. We love our line-of-scrimmage guys. We think we’re pretty good there. We got five games left, and those are league games. Those are very important. We’re going to do what we do (during the Week 5 bye), kind of a Spring ball type of thing. We’re going to take a couple of days off and heal up and get ready to go the next week.”

Chaparral head coach Jeremy McCullough:
“Ugly, really ugly. And that starts with us as coaches and it trickles down. We had a lot of mistakes, turnovers, we were sloppy, and credit Santiago. They took care of it. They did what you should so when you play a team that makes mistakes and they took advantage of it. We wanted to get Quentin (Barry) in there, give him some more series and then kind of ease Austin Reza in. We figured we’d give Austin a quarter, let him see the game a little bit, and that was our plan. It wasn’t anything about Austin vs. whatever. Austin is our No. 1 guy, but that was our plan going in. Good, bad or ugly, that was our plan. We’re so young up front on both sides of the ball. Our front seven they’re all underclassmen except for one guy on defense. On offense, the two guys that are seniors haven’t started before so we have three sophomore filling out. (Santiago) threw some looks that we weren’t ready for, they do some unique things and it was difficult on us. I thought we got into a rhythm there and then we turned the ball over. We get a great play and we fumble. It’s the little things like that, and just sloppy. We’re exactly where everyone else is in league — oh-and-oh — but the good thing is we know what we have to work on and we’ve got two weeks to get ready for Temecula Valley, who is playing good. Preseason is preseason. It’s nice to be 5-0, but the important thing is that we get better and that’s what we got to do.”

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