Football: The real season begins in the Inland Division
For 12 weeks, it has been pretty clear that the Inland Division semifinals would be the start of the real football season. Everyone knew that Vista Murrieta (12-0), Corona Centennial (11-1) and Upland (12-0) would be part of the final four teams, and now that Rancho Cucamonga (10-2) has joined them, the real fun begins.
So Friday's semifinals matching Vista Murrieta at Rancho Cucamonga and Upland at Corona Centennial should produce some tough, hard-nosed football.
Teams that have been cruising had better switch into high gear immediately, or their season will be over. And that includes Vista Murrieta, which hasn't played particularly well the last two weeks and is still waiting for its standout player, Su'a Cravens, to put together a top playoff performance. He didn't play in the opener because of a shoulder injury and struggled last week against Norco.
The quarterback play will be fun to watch in Centennial-Upland. Junior Robert Webber of Centennial has passed for 32 touchdowns with just one interception. Senior Nate Romine of Upland has passed for 2,435 yards and ran for 965 yards. Both teams have effective offensive lines, and that's where the game figures to be won or lost.
The winner of the Inland Division is expected to be chosen for a CIF state championship regional bowl game, but it's going to be tough to survive these next two weeks of gigantic showdown games.
-- Eric Sondheimer