It’s exam time for the Beaumont High football program.
The Cougars will see how much they’ve improved since the abbreviated spring season and also have a chance to seize sole possession of first place in the Citrus Belt League on Friday, Oct. 15.
That’s when Beaumont (6-1 overall, 2-0 CBL) meets host Cajon (7-0, 2-0) in a huge league game.
Cajon is seeking its fifth consecutive league title and also eyes a return to the postseason where it won section and Southern California regional titles in 2017.
“It’s exciting,” Beaumont coach Jeff Steinberg said. “They’re very athletic. They have some great players and a lot of team speed.”
Yucaipa coach Justin Price, whose team fell to Cajon 42-6 last week, lauded Cajon coach Nick Rogers for his ability to get the ball to Cajon playmakers in space.
Sophomore Martinez Miles Jr. won a heated competition for the QB spot before the season.
He has excelled, passing for 1,591 and 19 touchdowns with four interceptions.
The Cowboys also have the spring most valuable player in the backfield in senior Freddy Fletcher.
Fletcher has rushed for 815 yards and 11 touchdowns and has caught 22 passes for 334 yards and three scores.
It doesn’t end there. Sprint champion JeyQuan Smith has caught 22 passes for 456 yards and five scores and two-way terror Ethan Powell has latched onto 18 passes for 490 yards and nine scores.
Another threat is Rae Ford whose long TD off a tipped pass helped Cajon defeat previously unbeaten Yucaipa last week.
Ford has caught 28 passes for 396 yards and two TDs.
Cajon does have a penchant for negative plays.
The Cowboys in their last two games have had more than their share of bad center snaps or fumbled snaps, resulting in challenging down-and-distance calls for Rogers.
Defensively, there’s also no lack of playmakers. Philander Lee Jr., Powell, Chris Williams, Maika Esau, TJ Hughes and Brent Austin are among the players to watch. Austin is a transfer from Aquinas.
Beaumont has been an offensive machine. Quarterback Christopher Cooper, a transfer from Citrus Valley, has passed for 2,318 yards with 30 TDs with seven interceptions. He averages a ridiculous 4.3 TDs passes per game.
Cooper has a capable trio of receivers. They are Gabriel Nunez (75 catches, 1,140 yards, 17 TDs), Anson Kraut (43-684-9), and Solomon German (27-384-2).
Running back Armando Cuellar is seeing increased daylight. He averages 5.2 yards per carry and has scored nine TDs.
John Exley anchors the Cougar offensive line.
“Offensively they have some dynamic weapons that will be tough to stop,” Rogers said of Beaumont. “Their QB does a good job throwing to open guys and making good decisions. Their defensive line is also really good. We will have a tough time blocking that group.”
Among the players to watch on the Beaumont defense are Tayven Anderson, Jimmy Dominguez, Vincent Torquato, Kevin Palacios, Ezekial Valdivia, and Jimmy Valdivia.
Both teams have capable kickers — Kaden Stines for Beaumont and Aidan Morris for Cajon.