PREVIEW: Top-ranked Corona Centennial squares-off with #8 Orange Lutheran in SoCal showdown

Corona Centennial Huskies

Orange Lutheran‘s incredibly tough non-league schedule continues Friday night when the top-ranked team in the High School Football America SoCal Top 25, the Corona Centennial Huskies, come to Orange Coast College for a battle between 2-0 teams.  OLu is ranked #8 in our latest Southern California rankings.

Related: High School Football America SoCal Top 25

Related: Corona Centennial #3 in High School Football America National Top 25

Centennial’s offense has been nearly unstoppable in its wins against East High School (49-13) from Utah and Gardena Serra (52-13).  Running back J.J. Taylor, who packs a lot of punch from his 5-6, 160-pound frame, has scored six touchdowns with 275 yards rushing.  Taylor is averaging 9.8 yards per carry.

“J.J. is just a special running back,” said Centennial head coach Matt Logan on Thursday night’s High School Football America Radio Show. “Every carry he runs like it’s his last carry…he’s always hungry looking for that extra yard…or inch.”

Related: Matt Logan on September 10, 2015 High School Football America Radio Show

Senior quarterback Anthony Catalano owns a 112.3 quarterback rating.  4-star wide receiver Javon McKinley, who is coming-off a 95 catch junior year, has caught only three balls to this point, but he’s averaging 53.3 yards per caught with two touchdowns.

With so much focus on McKinley, it’s opened the door for others to step-up.  Through two games, the Huskies have six receivers averaging double-digits in yards per catch.

OLu is coming-off a very impressive 43-28 win over Crespi last week.

The Lancers triple-option offense is led by Harvard-bound quarterback L.J. Northington, who’s completed 60-percent of his passes so far for 284 yards and three touchdowns.  He’s spread the ball around with Brandon McKinley being his favorite target with five catches for an average of 14 yards per catch.  Austin Lyles and Milshon Lathan have both caught four passes.  Lyles is averaging over 28 yards per catch, while Lathan is averaging 20 yards per grab.

On the ground, Dominik Austin is coming-off a 160 yard, two touchdown performance against Crespi.  Austin, who has 266 yards rushing in two games, is averaging nearly 11 yards per carry.

“It’s really is difficult to prepare (for Orange Lutheran offense), especially because we run a spread offense with one running back and they have three” said Logan, who is seeking his 200th career victory tonight. “It definitely makes it hard on our scout team to help us prepare.  They (OLu) do a great job with great athletes.”

Last year, OLu gave Centennial everything it could handle in a 52-49 win by the Huskies at The Honor Bowl.  The three-point loss was one of four games last season, in which the Lancers lost by four or less points.

Northington told me during fall camp that the team learned from those lost 2014 losses.

Expect lots of offense in tonight’s game, since in last year’s contest, Centennial put-up 643 yards in total offense, while the Lancers racked-up 543.

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.