Prep Preview: Notre Dame at Linfield Chr.

I’m working the Riverside Notre Dame-Temecula Linfield Christian CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division Championship Game tonight, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, for @Inland_Sports.

The best part of this assignment is the opportunity to see a Riverside city school capture a CIF section title.

NotreDameLOGOTHE LOW DOWN:
Notre Dame (13-0 overall) were slow to start in the semifinal vs. Aquinas but pummeled their rival in the second half en route to a 34-6 victory and their first CIF section title appearance since 1977. Senior RB Ian Zamudio gained 156 of his 161 yards and all three of his touchdowns in the second half. Senior RB Christian Gurrola will get the bulk of the carries early as the Titans look to control the ball and run the clock to their advantage. Senior QB Niles Harrell must play better than he did last week against Aquinas. Senior WR/CB Wesley Smith has blossomed into a phenomenal all-around athlete.

LinfieldLOGOLinfield Christian (12-1) put up a good fight when the two met during the regular season, but fails to match up against Notre Dame’s discipline and depth. Senior RB/WR Lorenzo Burns is a game-breaker with more than a few NCAA Division I offers but needs the ball to be effective. The Lions struggle to throw the ball — Shh, it’s a secret — but have a pair of 1,000-yard runners in Burns and Zac Archer.

THE KEY PLAYERS:
Notre Dame
— QB Niles Harrell (Jr., 6-foot-1, 195 pounds); RB Christian Gurrola (Sr., 5-8, 180); WR/DB Ian Zamudio (Sr., 5-9, 155); WR/DB Wesley Smith (Sr., 6-foot, 178); WR/DB Noel Leon (Sr., 5-6, 165); TE/LB Ryan Simpson (Sr., 6-foot, 215); ATH Manny Guerrero (Sr., 5-10, 175); OLB/TE Jaden Gardner (Sr., 6-foot, 215); TE/ILB Lawrence Mai (Sr., 6-foot, 210); OLB/SS Victor Gama (Sr., 5-8, 195); K Jun Hwang (Fr., 5-8, 210).

Linfield Christian — QB Clay Maranville (Sr., 6-foot-3, 165 pounds); LB/RB Greg Holt (Sr., 5-11, 220); WR Lorenzo Burns (Sr., 5-11, 160); K/P/WR Michael Brown (Sr., 6-2, 194); RB/CB Zac Archer (Sr., 6-foot, 180); WR/FS Isaiah Pate (Sr., 6-2, 177); WR/SS Travis Lau (Soph., 5-10, 155); OG/DT Kevin You (Sr., 5-11, 220); C/DT Jake Bennett (Sr., 6-foot, 215).

THE DIFFERENCE:
Notre Dame’s defense. The Titans swarm to the ball and get better as games go on.

THE FINAL SCORE:
Riverside Notre Dame 32, Temecula Linfield Christian 28

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