It's Zero Hour in the Inland Empire will preview leagues/games throughout the week leading up to Week #0...

They call them "O" week games.  The name suggests that nothing really important is going on but for a number of Inland Empire teams this will be a very big weekend.   The biggest game has to the Redland High Terriers who travel all the way across the country to play Pine Castle Christian Academy.  The problem for the Terriers has to be that they will know little or nothing about their opponents.  Pine Castle is classified as 1A but that could be a good thing or a bad thing.  Florida's top schools division is called 6A.  Redlands could be hooking up with a program that is on the level of Oaks Christian or Arrowhead Christian.  The Terriers are returning over twenty starters form last year and figure to be in the fight for Citrus Belt League Championship and with a change in the playoff format could make a deep run at a division championship. 


Why play a "0" week game?  Most programs like to run two-a-practices for two weeks then go to afternoon practices when classes begin.  However, recently school districts in California have been challenging the traditional agricultural based school calendars that started classes after Labor Day.  Football coaches have had to adjust their thinking about "Hell Week."  The CIF came up with a twenty-five practice rule.  A school counts back form the date of there first contest and is allowed twenty-five three hour practices.  Some high schools have classes starting as early as the first week of August.

The advantages can be subtle.  Although the season might be longer on the calendar, players arrive at their first game fresher.  If the staff is well organized and efficient in their use of practice time, the team is at least a week ahead of other teams on their schedule.  This evens itself out by week four or five but there is a great advantage to getting a rolling start to the season. 


The disadvantage may be that a "0" week game means that at some time there has to be a ‘bye' in the regular season.  Sometimes a bye or an off week can be a distraction. 


Some of the Inland Empire's best ‘0' week games are Arlington (Riverside) at Corona, Fontana A.B. Miller at Norco, ML King (Riverside) at Yucaipa.  On Saturday, Acton Vasquez travels to Big Bear Middle School to take on the Big Bear Bears.


Here is the full list of Inland Empire ‘0' week games:
Arlington at Corona

Artesia at Vista Murrieta
Cajon at Bloomington
Centennial at Valencia 

Diamond Bar at Temescal Canyon
King at Yucaipa, 7:30 p.m.
Lucerne Valley at Hamilton
Miller at Norco 
Pacific vs. Victorville Silverado at Victor Valley
Palm Desert at Ramona
Palm Springs vs. Beaumont at San Gorgonio Middle School, 7:30 p.m.
Riverside Poly at La Verne Damien
Rancho Verde at Tustin
Santiago at Murrieta Valley
Victor Valley vs. Vista del Lago at Valley View
Redlands at Orlando Pine Castle Christian Academy

Saturday, Sept. 2
CSDR at Pasadena Maranatha, 2 p.m.
Elsinore at Irvine
Twin Pines vs. Huntington Beach Liberty Christian at Ocean View
Acton Vasquez vs. Big Bear at Big Bear Middle School, 1:30 p.m.
Bakersfield Christian at Linfield Christian, 4 p.m.
Wilson Creek at Palos Verdes Estates Rolling Hills Prep, 6 p.m


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