California’s Top 50 high school football teams: No. 27 Norco will rely on strong defense

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California ahead of the fall 2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Norco Cougars of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 27 team in our countdown.

MORE: PRESEASON ALL-STATE TEAM | TOP 50 COUNTDOWN

NORCO TEAM PAGE | 2021 FALL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

NORCO HEAD COACH

Chuck Chastain – 8th season (50-25)

2021 SPRING AT A GLANCE

  • 5-0 overall record
  • 5-0 in Big VIII League (1st)

2021 SCHEDULE

  • Aug. 20 @ Vista Murrieta – 7PM
  • Aug. 26 vs. Santa Margarita – 7PM
  • Sep. 3 @ Rancho Cucamonga – 7PM
  • Sep. 17 vs. Murrieta Valley – 7PM
  • Sep. 24 @ Rancho Verde – 7PM
  • Oct. 1 vs. Santiago – 7PM
  • Oct. 8 @ Corona – 7PM
  • Oct. 15 vs. Centennial – 7PM
  • Oct. 22 vs. King – 7PM
  • Oct. 28 @ Roosevelt – 7PM

RETURNING STARTERS

  • 9 on offense
  • 8 on defense

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kyle Crum (Senior-QB) (6-3, 190)

Coach Chastain: “He’s a special leader, phenomenal mindset and approach to the game.”

2021 spring stats: 1,254 passing yards, 14 passing touchdowns, 185 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns

Grant Gray (Junior-WR) (6-3, 180)

Coach Chastain: “Tall, lanky kid and very good with his body.”

2021 spring stats: 23 catches, 410 receiving yards, five touchdowns

Elijah Rodriguez (Senior-WR) (5-8, 155)

Coach Chastain: 20 catches, 411 receiving yards, five touchdowns

2021 spring stats: “Super explosive and dynamic player.”

GJ Delatorre (Senior-DL) (6-1, 225)

Coach Chastain: “He’s one of the top defensive linemen in SoCal.”

2021 spring stats: 25 tackles, 6.5 sacks, one forced fumble

Chase Miller (Senior-LB) (6-0, 210)

Coach Chastain: “He’s a standout middle linebacker, very savvy and a nose to the ball.”

2021 spring stats: 25 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble

HOW DID THE SPRING SEASON AFFECT NORCO?

Norco went undefeated during the spring 2021 season, finishing 5-0. Coach Chastain shares how the Cougars handled the spring:

“We wanted to make sure we did right by our seniors, but we did use it as a spring ball launching board since we didn’t get to do spring with our underclassmen. The biggest thing was just trying to build momentum into the summer and into this season with the short turnaround. We’re pretty happy with what we were able to accomplish.”

BEST-CASE SCENARIO FOR NORCO

The Cougars loaded up on their non-league schedule and will start the season with battles against Vista Murrieta and Santa Margarita. If they can make it through those two games, they’ll have a solid chance to be unbeaten heading into week nine’s showdown against Corona Centennial. Norco will be a tough out come playoff time no matter what division they end up in.

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

Norco will battle Corona Centennial for the Big VIII League title. The Cougars took down the Huskies last season for the first time since 2009, ending Centennial’s 57-game league winning streak, and will be looking to extend their own winning streak. After five non-league games against strong programs, the Cougars will get two of their easier league games leading into their battle with Centennial.

COACH SAID

“I think defensively we’re pretty strong, even though we graduated three guys on that side, we were already rotating people in those spots so defensively I think we’re gonna be pretty special.”

“Offensively we return nine of 11 but the two we lost were four-year starting offensive linemen. We’ve gotta get our offensive line up to speed across the board but other than that we’re pretty solid. Just the linemen gotta work as a unit, it’s just the constant bonding and trusting each other and getting better with every rep.”

— Head Coach Chuck Chastain

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