SBLive California is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in the state ahead of the 2020-2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Corona Centennial Huskies of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 3 team in our countdown.
CENTENNIAL HEAD COACH
Matt Logan, 24th season (253-54)
2019 AT A GLANCE
- 9-3 record
- 5-0 in Big VIII (1st)
- Corona Centennial beat JSerra 56-0 in the first round of the CIFSS Division 1 playoffs, then lost 52-14 to St. John Bosco in the semifinals.
ALL-SOUTHERN SECTION DEPARTURES
- Gary Bryant – RB (USC)
- Christian Herrera – OL (Graduated)
- Miguel Bautista – LB (Graduated)
- Simon Hall – LB (Graduated)
- Korey Foreman – DL (USC early enrollee)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Branden Alvarez (Senior-WR) (5-11, 175) (San Jose State signee)
Coach Logan: “Branden is a three-year starter for us. He’s a tremendously hard working kid. He’s fearless and he has great ball skills. He’ll do anything we ask of him.”
2019 stats: 35 catches for 520 yards and five TDs. Blocked a punt and recovered a fumble.
Devin Spencer (Senior-OL) (6-3, 260) (Penn commit)
Coach Logan: “Devin is a three-year starter for us. He’s very athletic and very smart. He’s also a captain.”
Calvin Pitcher (Senior-S) (6-1, 195)
Offer sheet: Eastern New Mexico, Idaho State, Valparaiso
Coach Logan: “Calvin is a two-year starter and team captain. He’s the general of our secondary. We’re young in the secondary, but he’s the senior member.”
2019 stats: Made 61 tackles
Dominique Clay (Senior-RB) (5-10, 185)
Coach Logan: “Dominique is a very physical runner. This was going to be his breakout year.”
2019 stats: 15 carries for 181 yards and one TD. He also had 12 catches for 170 yards.
Jake Retzlaff (Senior-QB) (6-1, 180)
Coach Logan: “Jake could potentially be one of the better quarterbacks we’ve had here. He’s very smart. He has a high football IQ. He’s really athletic and he has incredible precision and a great arm.”
2019 stats: Completed 51 of 89 passes for 1,067 yards and eight touchdowns with two interceptions. He rushed for 89 yards and three scores.
Israel Carter (Sophomore-QB) (6-2, 175)
Coach Logan: “Israel is very talented and probably would have rotated in with Jake this year.”
Dezmon Nash (Senior-NG) (6-0, 270)
Coach Logan: “Dezmon is a two-year starter at nose guard. He’s very physical. He has a high GPA. He’s hard working and very strong.”
2019 stats: Made 22 tackles and had one interception.
Poata Gatoloai (Senior-DT) (5-11, 255)
Coach Logan: “Poata is a two-year starter. He’s very physical.”
2019 stats: Made seven tackles.
Jaden Mickey (Junior-CB) (5-11, 155)
Offer sheet: 13 offers
Coach Logan: “Jaden is very talented. He has offers from all over the country. He’s a tremendous player, he’s Jalen Ramsey-esque.”
2019 stats: Made 31 tackles and had six interceptions.
Aj Vaipulu (Junior-OL) (6-2, 245)
Coach Logan: “AJ is a very athletic and very physical offensive lineman.
Gavriel Lightfoot (Junior-DE) (6-3, 275)
Coach Logan: “Gavriel is extremely strong. He’s a very physical player.”
2019 stats: Made 13 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
Aaron Williams (Sophomore-DB) (6-1, 160)
Offer sheet: Arizona State, BYU, Kansas and Oregon
Coach Logan: “Aaron tore his ACL so he didn’t play last year, but he would have been a starter. He’s a tremendous player.”
Owen Chambliss (Sophomore-DB) (6-2, 170)
Coach Logan: “Owen played a lot as a freshman for us on varsity.”
2019 stats: Made six tackles.
Isaac Perez (Sophomore-C) (6-3, 305)
Coach Logan: “We’re very high on Isaac.”
Doughless Teloma (Junior-OL) (6-5, 290)
Coach Logan: “Douglas is a really big and physical kid.”
- Eric Denham — 2022 WR (JSerra)
HOW COVID-19 HAS AFFECTED CENTENNIAL FOOTBALL
COVID-19 has affected every high school football team differently. Coach Logan shares how COVID-19 has impacted Centennial football over the past several months:
“Overall I think the kids have handled the pandemic pretty well. It’s definitely been challenging waiting to see if we have a season or not.
“We started conditioning back in the fall when we were cleared by the district and county and everything. It was great to start that up. The team had a great energy and did a really good job. We resumed activities after Christmas break last week and the kids have been really excited to see one another even with us not being able to use footballs. Hopefully we’re working towards that.
“We’ve had some kids take jobs, but they’re still planning on playing so we’ve been flexible with their schedules. We’ve had two younger guys opt out.
“I don’t mind if our kids are playing club, I just don’t want them to be missing our stuff for that. That’s a condition for us. If we don’t play, I’d try and do some type of senior showcase in the spring, if we’re allowed to. If the recruiting limitations are lifted and scouts could come out, that would be beneficial. If not, then we’d do some type of Zoom showcase or a prerecorded thing as a last chance effort since they didn’t get a chance to do it live. That’s our plan.”
BEST-CASE SCENARIO FOR CENTENNIAL
This year Corona Centennial returns its quarterback while Mater Dei and St. John Bosco do not. In a best-case scenario situation, maybe having Jake Retzlaff would have been the difference between a Division 1 playoff appearance and a potential championship game appearance. The Huskies are young in some key spots, but they always finish right around the top in the Southern Section and this year would have been no different.
MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO
The most realistic scenario for Corona Centennial would be to make the Division 1 playoffs in the Southern Section, like they did a year ago. Matt Logan has built a tremendous program and they’ve set a standard to compete at the highest level. That most likely would have continued this season.
“Overall we have a little bit of a younger team, but we’re still very talented. We feel like we have really solid lines on both sides even though they are young.
A big bright spot for us is our young secondary. We have the ability to move those guys around and do some different things.”
— Head Coach Matt Logan