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Top games

September 12, 2008|Ben Bolch

A look at some of the Southland's top high school football games:

No. 2 Corona Centennial (0-0) at No. 13 Temecula Chaparral (0-0)

Tonight at 7:30

* Chaparral upset Centennial in the 2006 playoffs, then suffered an upsetting 54-point loss to the Huskies last season in an Inland Division semifinal. Now the Pumas will open against Centennial, which wanted to upgrade its nonleague schedule to prepare for its first season of Big VIII League play. A defensive front that Huskies Coach Matt Logan described as "one of the best we've had" will be tested by Chaparral junior Jonathan Diaz, who rushed for 1,221 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore. The Pumas will be without quarterback Mitchell Glassman, who won't be eligible to play until next week because of transfer restrictions.

* The pick: Chaparral.

No. 11 Redlands East Valley (0-0) vs. No. 23 Riverside North (0-0)

Tonight at University of Redlands, 7:30

* Scott Pearne makes his debut as North coach after the dismissal of Lou Randall, who was fired after guiding the Huskies to consecutive Southern Section titles. Pearne helped coach the defense at Redlands East Valley for three years before becoming head coach at Yucaipa, where he went 14-18 in three seasons. Plenty of changes are afoot for the Huskies, who will switch from the wing-T to a multiple offense while moving into a tougher league (Big VIII) and playoff division (Inland). An opening matchup against Redlands East Valley and star quarterback Tyler Shreve should provide a quick indication of whether North can meet the challenge.

* The pick: Redlands East Valley.

No. 16 Anaheim Esperanza (1-0) vs. L.A. Jordan (1-0)

Tonight at Gardena High, 7

* Jordan hopes to cash in on Coach Elijah Asante's great scheduling gamble of 2008. The Bulldogs beat Locke, 42-15, in their opener but will up the ante against Esperanza, which held Corona Santiago to a safety in the second half of its season-opening 12-9 victory. Jordan will be without five players who were suspended for minor transgressions, including starting cornerback Oscar Riley.

* The pick: Esperanza.

Lake Balboa Birmingham (0-1) vs. No. 5 Encino Crespi (1-0)

Tonight at Pierce College, 7:30

* What better way for Birmingham to erase the sting of its opening loss to L.A. Garfield than to knock off Southern Section power Crespi? For the Patriots to follow their demoralizing loss with an uplifting victory, quarterback Morey Croson must rebound from his two-interception clunker and Birmingham cannot hit triple digits in penalty yardage for a second consecutive game.

* The pick: Crespi.

-- Ben Bolch

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