NORCO, Calif. — Norco High School's quarterback Kyle Crum is all business. He has kept his eyes firmly ahead and mind centered on the word Centennial.
"Centennial," he said. "Beating Centennial keeps me motivated."
What You Need To Know
- Norco football finally got the best of their rival in Centennial last season for the first time since 2009
- Led by head coach Matt Logan, the Huskies have been on a 57-game league winning streak
- Coach Chuck Chastain said this rivalry is a special one to their community, with the league championship often coming down to either school
- Senior quarterback Kyle Crum has a personal stake in this game. He transferred from Centennial to Norco and has taken charge as a leader and captain for the Cougars
While remaining focused, Crum cannot help but look back and reminisce on a record-breaking win during the abbreviated season just a few months ago.
"Everyone running on the field, people were crying," Crum said. "I think our principal even jumped in the pool after, so it was just a cool moment to celebrate and enjoy it."
A special moment that has been on repeat to the entire Norco football team and, frankly, the whole town for the last six months.
It was the moment when the Cougars finally beat their rivals in Centennial for the first time in 11 years. Before that matchup, coach Matt Logan and the Huskies had not lost to a league opponent since 2009, with 57 consecutive wins.
While Norco head coach Chuck Chastain and his program found a way to take them down, he believes the Cougars still have something to prove.
"That's the question. Was last year a fluke? Did we get them at the right time? Was it the COVID season?" he said. "But we don't believe any of that. Our kids put in the work."
It is no different this season, and for Crum, it is personal.
The quarterback started his high school career at Centennial before transferring to Norco — a field he started his football career on many years ago.
Over the last three years, the journey has come full circle.
"It's crazy just to be here on Friday nights when you're little watching the games and to actually get in and be the ones under the lights," Crum said. "So, it's definitely a special feeling and something I take a lot of pride in."
After all, in the Inland Empire, pride in high school football runs deep.
Many of the players and coaches, including Chastain, grew up in Norco.
"I think that's what separates us from most people," Chastain said. "It'd be safe to say the community lives and dies through us on Friday nights and it generates a lot of electricity around town."
The electricity is especially heightened during rivalry week.
"That rivalry is special for me because I went there and know all the players and coaches, so it definitely means more to me," Crum said.
"You can feel it, everyone feels it, you can feel it around town — everyone's talking about it, everyone's buzzing," Chastain added.
Therefore, Chastain and his quarterback do their best to lead by example. The ultimate goal is to show everyone what Norco football is all about.
After all, around here, it is one town, one team, one dream.