Prep Preview: Baseline League

Rancho Cucamonga senior four-star defensive back Thomas Graham verbally committed to Southern Cal as a sophomore.

Rancho Cucamonga senior four-star defensive back Thomas Graham verbally committed to Southern Cal as a sophomore.

PREP FOOTBALL 2016
BASELINE LEAGUE PREVIEW

(2015 records in parenthesis)

Come playoff time, you should figure that this league will look a lot different from what it did a year ago. Chino Hills won a string of nail-biters in a shocking 2015 title run, but there’s little doubt that Rancho Cucamonga will run away from the pack this season. The Cougars’ recent group of defensive backs is one of the Inland Area’s all-time best.

Chino Hills (10-3 overall, 5-0) claimed its first Baseline League title since moving over from the Sierra in 2015, and they did it with a new head coach Chris Stevens and no expectations. This year likely will be drastically different in both perception and reality. Senior Austin Zavala (6-foot, 185 pounds) moves into the starting QB role, but the strength of this team will be in its defense as senior DE Grant Trueman (6-4, 240) and LB Dylan Tucker (6-3, 220) form an impassable mountain.

Upland (8-4, 4-1) has in recent years been less of a football program and more a revolving door for transfers. This season it’s Tyler and Terayon Sweet from La Puente Bishop Amat. Coach Tim Salter oozes success, however, and the Scots remain a perennial playoff threat.

Rancho Cucamonga (9-4, 3-2) was a CIF-SS section semifinalist last season despite its third-place league finish. This season we’ll see the fruition of seniors Thomas Graham (5-11, 170) and Jaylon Redd (5-9, 180), two of the Inland Area’s top all-around athletes.

Los Osos (4-6, 1-4) made the playoffs in coach Kevin Price’s first two years but have failed to qualify in both 2014 and ’15, and prospects for a return trip seem faint. Senior DE Daivon Allen (6-4, 200) had 3.5 sacks and five QB hurries last season.

La Verne Damien (4-6, 1-4) has yet to reach the playoffs under Mark Parades in four seasons but junior QB Warren Bryan (6-2, 185), one of the Inland Area’s top returning QBs, may have the power to change all that.

Rancho Cucamonga Etiwanda (3-7, 1-4) enters its second season under coach Kevin Davis, who will get senior WR/DB Evan Gutierrez (6-2, 190) the ball as much as possible.

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
Rancho Cucamonga
Chino Hills
Upland
La Verne Damien
Rancho Cucamonga Etiwanda
Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
DE Daivon Allen, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos
QB Warren Bryan, Jr., La Verne Damien
DB/WR Thomas Graham, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga
WR/DB Evan Gutierrez, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga Etiwanda
RB/DB Jaylon Redd, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga
WR Gary Theard, Sr., Upland
DE Grant Trueman, Sr., Chino Hills

PROMINENT GAMES:
Sept. 2 — Norco at Rancho Cucamonga, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — Redlands East Valley at Upland, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — Rancho Cucamonga at Perris Citrus Hill, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — Rancho Cucamonga at Upland, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 — Rancho Cucamonga at Chino Hills, 7 p.m.

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