Norco Cougars: 2019 Division 1/2 Southern Section high school football preview

Here’s an inside look at the CIF Southern Section Division 1/2 Norco football team.

Links: Norco team page | 2019 schedule | Roster


Overall record: 9-3 (4-1 in league, 2nd in the Big VIII League). Norco lost 33-28 to Upland in the Division 2 quarterfinals.


Chuck Chastain has been Norco’s head coach since 2014.


QB Shane Illingworth, 6-6, 230, Sr.

WR/CB/ATH Marquis Ashley, 5-10, 165, Sr.

WR/SS Ceaser Gonzalez, 6-1, 205, Sr.

DE/WR/OLB Jaden Navarrette, 6-3, 235, Sr.

OT Andrew Madrigal, 6-4, 305, Jr.

SS/FS Brandon Bos, 5-11, 175, Sr.

MLB Ethan Zentner, 6-1, 200, Sr.


Shane Illingworth – QB

Illingworth is the 16th-ranked senior quarterback in the entire country, per 247. The 4-star recruit and Oklahoma State commit threw for 2,739 yards last season, and posted an exceptional 123.6 QB rating. At 6-6, 230 pounds, Illingworth already has ideal size for an NFL quarterback.

Jaden Navarrette – WR/DE/OLB/ATH 

Illingworth will be throwing to another 4-star recruit in Jaden Navarrette. The Oregon commit registered 670 receiving yards last season, good for First Team All-League. Navarrette is a top-10 national recruit in his class at ATH, per 247. At 6-3, 235 pounds and with exceptional athleticism, he still may be figuring out what all he can do. 

Marquis Ashley – WR

Ashley was the Cougars’ leading receiver last season with 736 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. And when you factor in nearly 300 kick-returning yards, he recorded over 1,000 all-purpose yards. A First Team All-League performer, Ashley is a 2-star recruit and has received offers from UNLV and Hawaii.


Norco lost last season in the Division 2 quarterfinals, but eventual division champion Upland was a brutally tough draw. Just how close was Norco to the top? They came the closest in the D-2 playoffs to beating Upland, losing by five.

And this year, they have a chance to be even better. They could contend for not only a state title, but also an argument for best public school team in the country.

Last season, Norco was only held below 30 points twice. From their dominant passing attack, they’re returning their star quarterback, and their three top receivers. Their explosive offense starts with QB Shane Illingworth, an Oklahoma State commit who threw for 2,739 yards last season. Marquis Ashley, Ceaser Gonzalez, and Jaden Navarrette make up an elite receiving corps. The three of them alone combined for nearly 1,900 receiving yards last season. The Cougars are also returning First Team All-League offensive tackle Andrew Madrigal. At 6-4, 305 pounds, Madrigal led the team with 35 pancake blocks last season as a sophomore.

Defensively, Norco loses three First Team All-League seniors, but returns star safety Brandon Bos, who racked up an astounding 107 tackles last season and received First Team All-League honors. Norco should also have a strong defensive interior with linebackers Ethan Zenter and Brandon Manley and lineman Nick Salazar returning.

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