By Gary Montgomery
As one of the Inland Empire’s best football programs over the past 10 years Corona Centennial knows a little bit about winning. After playing one of the toughest preseason schedules imaginable, the Huskies are primed for a showdown with Big VIII and neighborhood rival Santiago next weekend.
Centennial played nationally ranked powers Mater Dei and Bishop Gorman during the preseason losing hard fought contests to both before bouncing back to beat Long Beach Poly in its final preseason game before entering conference play.
Centennial’s challenging preseason schedule has paid immediate dividends. After only two conference games, the Huskies have scored 87-points and only given their two opponent a mere 19-points. The Huskies beat Riverside’s Martin Luther King High 41-9 one week before romping past Roosevelt on Friday night.
“We knew playing such a tough schedule early would be tough but we could also use it to help us get ready for the season,” said Huskies’ junior running back JJ Taylor.
Taylor rushed for 198-yards on 20 carries leading the Huskies to a 39-point lead by halftime and pretty much making the second half all about opportunity for the second stringers to get some playing time. Taylor also crossed the 1,000-yard mark for his second time with a total of 1,017-yards.
The Mustangs were completely out matched. A couple of big plays by Bishop Gorman transfer Sean Bowden and Quarterback Andrew Labruna were able to score a couple of times to avoid being shutout.
Centennial senior quarterback Nate Ketteringham passed for 157-yards pushing the Huskies to a 46-10 victory over its Big VIII rival. Centennial’s win raises their record to 5-2 and 2-0 in the league. The loss dropped Roosevelt to 1-6 and 0-2 in league play. Roosevelt’s only win of the season came on a forfeit by Pomona in the first game of the season.
“The plan is to win every game. We should have probably scored more than we did but its ok we had a good game and did the things we were supposed to do so we’re happy anytime we get the win,” said Taylor.
Centennial’s win over Roosevelt also sets the table for next week’s showdown with Big VIII and cross-town rival Santiago. The two teams will square off with identical 0-2 league records.
Santiago is led by Alabama bound Senior Quarterback Blake Barnett. Barnett is averaging an incredible 298.3-yards per game passing and has amassed an incredible 2088 total passing yards and 16 touchdowns in only 7 games this season.
The game will be played on Friday night at Santiago and will likely decide the favorite to win the Big VIII title this season.
Gary Montgomery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org