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Former Inland Stars Power USC Trojans

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By Gary Montgomery, BVN Staff Writer –

Clichés are as common in sports as bad grammar. “You have to lay it all on the line” or “Their will to win” are some of my favorites – usually thrown around by sportscasters just to improve their cool rating. Sports fans get so accustomed to clichés that most of the time they go in one ear and out the other without a thought about what is really being said.

After watching the Trojans offensive line handle the Cal Bears on Saturday, one often used cliché kept coming to mind. “Football games are won in the trenches.”

And that is exactly what got the party started for USC on Saturday.

The Trojans’ mammoth frontline took charge early and gave Matt Barkley all the time he needed to drive Cal’s secondary crazy. After scoring two quick touchdowns in the air and securing a 14-0 lead, USC turned to the running game with equal success.

The Trojans fourth possession produced their third touchdown when tailback Mark Tyler sprinted around the left side and dashed 11- yards down the sideline for the score.

One of the biggest reasons Tyler found running room on the left side is Moreno Valley’s Tyron Smith.

At 6-5, 280 pounds, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde’s Tyron Smith anchors the left tackle position clearing the way for running backs and just like in the movie has the quarterback’s “blind side”. Smith a true junior in his second year as a starter has become one of the most dependable members of the frontline.

A celebrated recruit from Rancho Verde in 2007 Smith was Parade All-American along with a host of other awards too numerous to list here. During his three seasons at Troy, Smith has quietly become one of the team’s leaders.

“We had to pull together and get it done. We always knew what we were capable of, we just had to come together and show everybody else what we could do,” said Smith about Saturday’s effort.

Smith opens gaping holes for all of the tailbacks including another former Inland Star. Two weeks ago against the Washington Huskies, tailback Allen Bradford, a Colton product rushed for 221-yards on 21 carries. More than half of Bradford’s 21 carries were running behind the Smith’s powerful blocks.

Senior cornerback and former Colton High star Sharecee Wright is the Trojan’s defensive leader and is regarded by most as the best defensive player on the field. Lane Kiffin said before the season that Sharecee Wright was the best natural cover corner that he had ever seen.

“I hadn’t said anything (during losses) but I had to finally say something. I told the guys that we weren’t playing our football game, not calling anybody out but I had to say what I had to say and I think the guys listened to me. I probably should have spoken up before,” said Wright.

Both Inland seniors, Wright and Bradford spoke to the team before Saturday’s game. Obviously, both have politics in their futures USC played the most inspired and complete football game Trojan fans have seen two seasons.

Scoring 42 points in the first half, USC gave Cal its worst halftime deficient in school history. An astonishing and incredible feat considering that USC was only a slight favorite and was picked in preseason polls to finish behind the Bears in the Pac-10.

“They certainly did some things that they hadn’t done before,” said Cal’s Coach Tedford. “We missed a lot of plays and dropped passes in big situations but the bottom line is somebody’s got to make some plays.”

There are lots of theories as to the origin of USC’s newly found superpowers. The discussion will likely continue right up until their game against Number 2 Oregon in two weeks with little agreement anywhere but you can bet that the Inland Stars will be giving regular pre-game speeches.

Gmontgomery can be reached at sports@blackvoicenews.com

Washington Wizards' Arenas Fined for Fake Injury

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(Reuters) - Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas has been fined an undisclosed amount by his team after making himself unavailable for a preseason game because of a fake injury.

The three-times All-Star claimed to be hampered by a knee injury and was replaced by Nick Young for Tuesday's home game against the Atlanta Hawks, which the Wizards won 107-92.

However, Arenas later told reporters he had pretended to be injured so that Young would gain a spot in the starting lineup.

"I talked to him (Arenas) both in front of the team and individually so we will find him and move on," Wizards coach Flip Saunders told reporters on Wednesday.

"I said to him: 'I am most disappointed personally because I believe in you and there has been a trust factor'. I told him: 'You have to be honest with me'.

"It's just like dealing with your kids. Your kids make mistakes. You deal with the mistake and you move on."

Asked if Arenas would be suspended, Sanders replied: "No."

A nine-year NBA veteran, Arenas had been expected to play his first home game on Tuesday since being suspended for most of the 2009-10 campaign for bringing guns into the team's locker room.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Rex Gowar)

Bradford Performance Impressive Despite USC Loss

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By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –

No Trojan football player knows more about patience than Allen Bradford. The fifth year senior from Colton High School, recruited by Pete Carroll and Todd McNair, may have earned the ‘golden ball’ number one tailback at USC.

The former Colton Yellowjacket had another breakout game on Saturday as he ran for 222 yards on 21 carries in a heartbreaking loss to Washington, 32-31.

Bradford, originally recruited as a 6’0” 230 lb. linebacker, eventually found a home behind Matt Leinart. The Trojan routine was to drive the ball 80 yards, throw a swing pass in the flat to Bradford, for a guaranteed USC touchdown.

It was the sure thing that worked many times.

From Leinart to Mark Sanchez to current quarterback Matt Barkley, Allen Bradford has smelled the roses and held the National Championship Trophy. When healthy, he has been the back the Trojans depend on.

Each year, USC has reloaded with premium running-backs to compete for precious carries on Saturdays. In the Trojan system, Bradford has had to contend with quality athletes like Stafon Johnson, Joe McKnight, C.J. Gable, Ronald Johnson, Stanley Havili, Marc Tyler and this years freshman phenom Dillon Baxter, just to name a few.

During spring football, where positions are earned through what may be the most intense competition in the country, Bradford emerged as the front runner, so to speak and slotted at number one. By a strange twist of fate, when the Trojans landed in Hawaii, Senior Marc Tyler had been pencilled in ahead of Allen.

Bradford, the patient one, touched the ball only eight times on the island and only three times during the home win against Virginia. His twelve carries for 133 yards, on the road against Minnesota, impressed the coaches, once again.

The Washington State game was a predicted 50 point rout, as USC went with a five back rotation. Bradford had a mere seven carries, but gained a substantial 84 yards for a hefty 12 yard average.

Bradford’s breakout 222 yard game, on Saturday at the Coliseum against Washington, may have been his most impressive performance as a Trojan.

Unfortunately, the usually stingy USC defense just couldn’t stop Husky quarterback Jake Locker. The Heisman trophy candidate rushed for 100 and passed for 310 yards on the day. Of note, former Redlands East Valley running back, Chris Polk, had a nifty 92 yards on the ground for Washington.

USC’s NCAA imposed two year ban from bowl consideration is not lost on Bradford.

Out of loyalty and patience, his mere presence and phenomenal performance upon the gridiron has impressed his teammates and opponents.

Pete Carroll once said of Allen Bradford’s God given talent, “He is the most explosive back, I have ever seen”. To put this year into perspective, Bradford has carried the ball 40 times for 440 yards, in the last three games. Former Colton coach Harold Strauss may not be so surprised.

Although the Trojans are not bowl eligible, they have a several intriguing games on the near horizon. USC travels to play 16th ranked Stanford in Palo Alto on Saturday. Then it’s top five ranked Oregon, California and Arizona State at home.

Young quarterback Matt Barkley hasn’t been as sharp of late. The Trojans may do well by handing off to the sure handed, downhill running Allen Bradford. With a lofty twelve yards per carry, Bradford may the most dependable player in the huddle.

Chino Hills Contains Redlands East Valley

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By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –

The 3-1, Chino Hills Huskies traveled east to face the 3-0 Redlands East Valley Wildcats, in an early season battle of county top five teams.

Redlands East Valley’s Austin Decoud has led his Wildcats with a high powered air attack this year.

Some polls had them ranked as high as number one in the area. Unfazed by the reputation, Chino Hills made a statement of their own by taking it to the home team 14-3.

The unpredictated defensive battle featured an aggressive Chino Hills front line that chased down quarterback Austin Decoud, most of the night. Decoud often found his receivers covered and had to scramble for small gains.

Huskie quarterback Andrew Chavez completed a touchdown pass within the first two minutes of the game. The defenses held from there as the Wildcats could only manage one field goal by Cody Madsen before the half.

In the second half, missed passes and self induced penalties halted most of the Wildcat drives. Redlands East Valley had their chances as they forced three Husky turnovers in the game. Chino Hills remained patient, chased down the quarterback, controlled the line and ultimately the clock.

Quarterback Andrew Chavez was 17 of 21 for Chino Hills as he accounted for both touchdowns. All Sierra League standout Ifo Ekpre-Olomu caught several key passes for the Huskies and made an impact at safety.

The talented senior is being recruited by USC, UCLA and Oregon.

Next week the Huskies travel to play Claremont.

Redlands East Valley has a tall order as they also travel to take on powerhouse Mission Viejo.

Lakers Ready To Defend Title

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By G. Montgomery, Staff Writer –

Just three seasons ago the buzz at media day was whether Kobe would attend? After a summer of discontent, the scribes were going crazy with Kobe drama. Throughout the summer Kobe had made it clear to everyone listening that the Jig was up.

If the team didn’t get him some help, he would be forced to take off for greener pastures. Fortunately, the Lakers’ management listened and start ed going after some quality players to help out their talented superstar.

No one has explained what the exact motives were during that very sad three year period of Lakers’ lethargy but thankfully they got over it and put one of sport’s most storied franchises back on track to winning titles again. Which brings us to this past Saturday’s media day event.

A mere three seasons later and the Lakers have made three NBA Finals appearances and come away with two titles.

Thank goodness they listened to Kobe and not those talk radio jokers who were calling for a mega trade. All is well again in Lakers land.

The 2010-11 pre-season roster is as strong as ever. New additions Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and Theo Ratliff appear to be upgrades at their respective positions and depending on who makes the final team; this could be a deeper team than last year’s championship squad.

The Lakers will get in a few days of practice and then head out to begin their preseason exhibition commitment with games in London and Barcelona before returning home.

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