All games start at 7 p.m. today unless otherwise noted.
La Quinta (4-6) at Colony (6-4)
All you need: La Quinta’s mission in Ontario will be to contain Colony senior running back Samajie Grant, who has verbally committed to Arizona. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior has rushed for 1,287 yards on 98 carries — an average of more than 13 yards per rush — and scored 17 touchdowns. The Titans finished second in the Mt. Baldy League, losing 28-14 to champion Chino two weeks ago. The Cowboys rushed for 300 yards on 36 carries and attempted only five passes in the victory, a blueprint the Blackhawks likely will try to replicate. In a scheduling quirk, the Titans’ defeat to Chino was their final game of the regular season, so they have had a chance to rest during their bye last week. Whether they will be rusty at the outset of the playoffs remains to be seen.
Pick: La Quinta
How to get there: 3850 East Riverside Drive, Ontario. Take I-10 West to CA-60 West. Get off at Exit 39 for Haven Avenue. Turn left and then turn left onto Riverside Drive. The school will be on the right.
Palm Desert (3-7) at Heritage (9-1)
All you need: The Aztecs are traveling to Romoland to face Heritage, the second overall seed in the Central Division and the Sunbelt League champions. The teams faced each other in a preseason scrimmage. The Patriots like to run the ball out of an I-formation or offset I. Senior running back Jamal Morrow, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior who has verbally committed to Washington State, is the leader in the backfield, but two juniors — 5-10, 205-pound running back Limihai Hifo and 6-3, 240-pound fullback Sione Takitaki — also are dangerous. The Aztecs may be without middle linebacker Mike Wong, who was injured against La Quinta last week. Senior wide receiver Alex Jones, who was ejected from last week’s game, is suspended from tonight’s contest.
How to get there: 26001 Briggs Road, Romoland. Take I-10 West. Get off at Exit 94 for CA-79 South/Beaumont Avenue. Turn left onto CA-79 South and stay on that highway. Turn right onto Ramona Expressway and then left onto Warren Road. Turn right onto CA-74 West and then left onto Briggs Road. The school will be on the right.
Temescal Canyon (5-5) at Palm Springs (8-2)
All you need: Temescal Canyon’s record is deceiving because of its challenging schedule. In five non-league games, Temescal Canyon (Lake Elsinore) lost to two teams in the more competitive Inland Division and one playoff-bound squad from Division II in the San Diego Section, and in the deep Sunbelt League, they lost to Heritage, the Central Division’s No. 2 overall seed, and Elsinore, which was highly ranked all season. The Indians will need to play disciplined defense against the Titans’ option rushing attack, which resembles Air Force’s flexbone system. Temescal Canyon averages 223 rushing yards per game; five different Titans have rushed for at least 200 yards. On offense, Palm Springs needs to get off to a fast start unlike its last two games against Indio and Cathedral City.
Pick: Palm Springs
Shadow Hills (6-4) at Banning (9-1)
Time: 7 p.m. today
All you need: Seven weeks ago, the Knights hosted Banning in a fast-paced shootout. Shadow Hills led 34-22 in the third quarter, but three lost fumbles that all led to Broncos’ touchdowns doomed the Knights in a 50-47 loss. Another high-scoring contest is likely, perhaps inevitable. The Broncos will try to contain Shadow Hills running back James Toland IV, who has rushed for 2,541 yards on 282 carries and 39 touchdowns, while the Knights will aim to slow down Banning quarterback Sty Hairston, who has gained 2,624 yards on the ground on 181 carries and scored 39 touchdowns. Last week, Hairston racked up 423 rushing yards on 29 carries and seven touchdowns in a 49-41 victory over Rim of the World.
How to get there: 100 West Westward Ave., Banning. Take I-10 West. Exit at 8th St and turn left. Take a left on Westward Avenue. The school will be on the right.
Desert Chapel (8-2) at Marywood-Palm Valley (6-3)
When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday
All you need: These two teams played each other Sept. 20 as Desert Chapel blew out Marywood-Palm Valley 64-8. “This right here was a learning experience,” Firebirds coach Travis Smith said after the game. His players responded. The Firebirds are 5-0 since the defeat, but they haven’t played a team as talented as Desert Chapel, the No. 2 seed in Division II, since then. The Eagles led Liberty Christian 60-0 at halftime last week en route to a 68-14 victory. Branndon Garcia rushed for 380 yards as the Firebirds defeated St. Michael’s Prep 88-72 last week.
Pick: Desert Chapel
Calvary Chapel (9-1) at Desert Christian Academy (9-1)
When: 6 p.m. today
All you need: As the top seed in Division I, the Conquerors are hoping to improve their play after a subpar showing in their 53-37 first-round victory over Dunn (Los Olivos) last week. They trailed 23-13 at halftime before scoring 20 unanswered points in the third quarter to take the lead for good. Last week, Calvary Chapel (Downey) scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to come from behind to edge Faith Baptist 44-38. Calvary Chapel quarterback Nathan Jewell completed 13 of 19 passes for 207 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in the victory. In September, Desert Christian routed Faith Baptist 42-8 on the road.
Pick: Desert Christian Academy