Season Preview: Sunbelt League

PREP FOOTBALL 2018
SUNBELT LEAGUE PREVIEW

(2017 Records in parenthesis)

Alright, this is where things start to get wacky in the CIF-Southern Section football reshuffle. Elsinore and Temescal Canyon .. and Riverside Arlington? .. and Riverside Notre Dame? The only similarity between these four teams is that they are all kind of bad right now. But the more we think about this one the less we want to think about it because it’s so dumb. Why are these teams matched together? Who did this? A 25- to 30-mile drive each way for a shot a competitive equity? Why isn’t Lakeside with this group? This is crazy.

ELSINORE (5-6 overall, 2-3 Sunbelt) is the traditional power of the Sunbelt League. Even before Paloma Valley or Heritage came along, the Tigers were kings of the street and still win the majority of games against its LEUSD rivals. The run-dominated team will be looking for a new QB this season but juniors running backs Manny Vasquez and Earl Miller will likely share the carries.

ARLINGTON (8-3 overall, 4-1 Inland Valley) had some good seasons under Rich Lunsford but he’s gone now and replaced by Jeff Roney, who was an assistant coach the last two seasons. The Lions will need to find a QB to get the back to senior RB/WR Zach Alexander, one of the team’s few proven offensive playmakers. Junior NG/DE Jayden Khneiser (6-3, 275) is gonna be good.

NOTRE DAME (7-4 overall, 4-1 Ambassador) were OK last season but are down overall, so it makes sense for the Titans to jump at the chance to escape the Ambassador League. They’d stagnated after winning a CIF-SS title, and are now on their third head coach in three seasons. The talent looks decent, though, so maybe they get into the playoffs again.

TEMESCAL CANYON (4-6 overall, 2-3 Sunbelt) might not be that far away from taking over this league. These Titans have been forming under Phil Cohen for a couple of seasons now, and it wouldn’t surprise many in-the-know if they won two-of-three or even swept league this season. Take a look at their roster. They’ve got a some dudes.

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
Elsinore
Arlington
Notre Dame
Temescal Canyon

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
RB/WR Zach Alexander, Sr., Arlington
RB/OLB Brandon Clemons, Sr., Temescal Canyon
MLB/TE Collin Kerr, Sr., Elsinore
NG/DE Jayden Khneiser, Jr., Arlington
QB Rodney Koenig, Sr., Notre Dame
G/C/DE Jacob Mercado, Sr., Notre Dame
RB/OLB Earl Miller, Sr., Elsinore
WR/CB Jacob Tomazin, Sr., Temescal Canyon

PROMINENT GAMES:
Aug. 16 – Arlington vs. Hillcrest at Norte Vista HS
Sept. 14 – San Bernardino Aquinas at Notre Dame
Oct. 12 – Temescal Canyon at Notre Dame
Oct. 26 – Elsinore at Temescal Canyon
Oct. 26 – Notre Dame vs. Arlington at Riverside CC

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