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Division Viii

September 12, 2002|Dan Arritt

2001 champion: La Quinta.

League favorites: Victorville Victor Valley (Desert Sky), La Quinta (Desert Valley), Pomona Diamond Ranch (Mt. Baldy), Phelan Serrano (Mojave River), Fontana Kaiser (Sunkist).

Contenders: Barstow (Desert Sky), Palm Desert (Desert Valley), Ontario Chaffey (Mt. Baldy), Hesperia Sultana (Mojave River), Riverside Norte Vista (Sunkist).

Key dates: Friday, Kaiser vs. Rancho Cucamonga at Chaffey College; Sept. 20, Kaiser vs. Riverside North at Riverside College; Sept. 27, Diamond Ranch vs. West Covina South Hills at Covina District Stadium; Oct. 4, Sultana at Victor Valley; Nov. 1, Serrano at Sultana; Nov. 15, La Quinta at Palm Desert.

The scoop: Kaiser, in only its second varsity season, advanced to the division final but lost to La Quinta, 21-10. The Cats return six starters on offense, including 6-foot-3, 215-pound running back Allen Wade, and six on defense, led by 6-4, 230-pound lineman Kyle Musselman. La Quinta, which will be trying for its third consecutive division title, graduated one of the region's top athletes in tailback/defensive back Frederick Collins, but Joe Jiannoni is expected to take over as the team leader. Another top player is Palm Desert's Joe Johnson, a Palm Springs transfer. Serrano will be trying for its fourth consecutive Mojave River title. Diamond Ranch, which returns 15 starters from its inaugural varsity team, makes its debut in the Mt. Baldy League.

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