Intriguing Servite linebacker Harrison Cofell enrolls at St. John Bosco

Servite linebacker Harrison Cofell has enrolled at Trinity League rival St. John Bosco, the senior confirmed Tuesday.

The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Cofell joins a group of St. John Bosco linebackers led by Andrew Simpson and Benny Lockhart among others. Simpson (6-1, 215) has committed to Kansas.

USC-committed linebacker Ma’a Gaoteote would be another name to watch with the Braves’ linebackers but he has transferred to Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas.

Cofell’s strong offseason makes him an intriguing contender for key playing time with the reigning state and national champion. His highlights last season with the Friars included eight tackles in an early-season game against Bishop Gorman.

Another new St. John Bosco defender with Servite ties is junior safety Sione “Riz” Hala (6-3, 200). He impressed last season with Paramount in the CIF-SS Division 4 semifinals against San Juan Hills.

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Trinity League Football Podcast: Top offseason developments / The Miller Moss impact at Mater Dei

Please send football news to Dan Albano at dalbano@scng.com or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter of Instagram

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JSerra boys water polo among the O.C. contenders climbing divisions in new playoff groupings


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Division 1/2 in CIF-SS boys water polo will have a few intriguing newcomers from Orange County when the next season arrives.

JSerra, which captured the Division 4 title in the fall with a young squad, climbed all the way to Division 1/2 in the groupings recently released by the Southern Section.

The Lions improved dramatically in Coach Brett Orsmby’s second season, winning the section crown without a senior in the fall.

But instead of defending its title or moving up to Division 3, JSerra will jump at least two divisions for the postseason and perhaps even three. The top-eight teams in Division 1/2 grouping at the end of the regular season head to Division 1.

JSerra last competed in Division 2 in 2009.

Beckman also received a promotion to Division 1/2. The Pacific Coast League contender reached the Division 3 semifinals last season, falling 7-5 to Schurr.

“Part of me was hoping to stay in Division 3 to try and go all the way this year,” Beckman coach Duje Grubisic said. “But after talking to the team … we are really excited to compete at this level against all the other teams. We have a great team this year with a lot of returning, seasoned seniors hungry for water polo.”

Beckman returned to workouts this week under modified guidelines because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northwood, another semifinalist in Division 3 last season, also moved to Division 1/2.

Another notable move involves San Juan Hills, the Division 4 runner-up to JSerra last season. The Stallions will climb to Division 3 this coming season.

“We are super-excited to keep improving and going up divisions year to year and competing,” San Juan Hills coach Ivan Buich said.

Division 1/2 teams for 2020-21:

Beckman

Corona del Mar

Damien

Dana Hills

Dos Pueblos

Foothill

Harvard-Westlake

Huntington Beach

JSerra

Laguna Beach

Los Alamitos

Los Osos

Loyola

Orange Lutheran

Mater Dei

Mira Costa

Newport Harbor

Northwood

Oaks Christian

Palos Verdes

Riverside Poly

Redondo

San Clemente

Santa Barbara

Santa Margarita

Servite

Long Beach Wilson

Woodbridge

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Mater Dei accepts transfer quarterback Miller Moss, sets return to football workouts

The immediate direction of Mater Dei’s football program became a bit more clear on Tuesday.

The Trinity League school confirmed that it has accepted touted transfer Miller Moss of Alemany but said the USC-committed senior quarterback has not yet registered.

Last week, it was reported that Moss applied to Mater Dei but had not been accepted.

Enrollment is the major step in completing the transfer process and will become the next benchmark for Moss.

The Monarchs also announced Tuesday that they will return modified football workouts on Monday, June 22.

Orange County athletics has idle since mid-March because of the coronavirus but Tustin and Los Alamitos’ football teams began to practice Monday.

Mater Dei’s rival St. John Bosco also is expected to return to workouts Monday. Trinity League contender Servite is expected to resume workouts July 6.

Last season, Moss (6-3, 200) passed for 3,118 yards and 28 TDs to help Alemany reach the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs. The Monarchs finished 12-1 last season, losing to St. John Bosco in the CIF-SS Division 1 final.

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Mater Dei’s Jaden Cantafio savors narrow victory at Orange County senior golf showcase

COSTA MESA In-N-Out Burger delivered to the course. Custom, embroidered score books for every player. A golf bag and prestigious invite for the winner. And best of all, camaraderie with friends while playing golf.

Nothing can bring back the spring of 2020 for seniors but the inaugural Orange County Boys Golf All-Star Senior Showcase at Costa Mesa Country Club took its best swing on Monday.

Twenty-eight seniors from Southern California played the par-70 Mesa Linda Course and picked up a few perks along the way in their first high school competition since the coronavirus pandemic ended their season in mid-March.

Former Mater Dei player Jaden Cantafio took home the biggest prizes, out-dueling former Monarchs teammate Andrew Hoekstra in a one-hole playoff to capture the event with a sizzling 4-under-par 66.

With the victory, the Washington State-bound Cantafio also won a golf bag donated by One with Golf in Irvine and an invite to the Boys High School Golf National Invitational at Pinehust Resort in North Carolina.

Cantafio also savored a few other highlights.

“It was a fun round,” said Cantafio, who this past year attended Tesla Academy, a blended, online school in Irvine.

“I was playing with a few buddies of mine. It’s fun to get back and kind of just meet with everyone again after all the time without seeing them. … I have’t played a tournament since this all started.”

Cantafio and his Mater Dei teammates — including Geoffrey Von der Ahe and Ryan Pham — enjoyed the In-N-Out after their round courtesy of Monrachs coach Ryan Kelaher.

“I was eating on the putting green,” Cantafio said with a laugh. “I’m super thankful for everything.”

In the playoff, Cantafio made par on the par-4 No. 1 to edge the Long Beach State-bound Hoekstra, who carded his only bogey of the afternoon.

“Kind of one last hurrah,” Hoekstra said of the event, organized by Edison coach Brendan Patch and Kelaher.

Cantafio, who won the CIF-SS Southern individual regional as a junior, received an exemption to play in the national championships in August.

One With Golf donated score card holders to each player Monday with their names embroidered on the front.

“People heard about (our event) and I think wanted to do something,” Patch said of the donations and national invite.

The players observed social distancing as they walked the course during their round. In other precautions due to the coronavirus, the flag sticks remained in the holes and the players didn’t rake the sand in the bunkers.

“For Coach Patch and I,” Kelaher said, “putting something together to celebrate the seniors was a great idea. … All these kids did great.”

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Sunny Hills’ Lancers Gold eSports team to compete in national winter finals this weekend


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Sunny Hills will be one of four teams competing this weekend in the North America Scholastic Esports Federation’s winter finals for its League of Legends season, which was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The top-seeded Lancers Gold will be joined by Kitsilano Secondary of Vancouver, British Columbia, Acton Boxborough Regional of Acton, Mass. and Jones College Prep of Chicago, Ill.

League of Legends is a battle game in a fictional universe.

The online competition can be viewed Saturday on twitch.tv/esportsfed starting at 10 a.m. The play returns to twitch — a live video streaming service — Sunday at 10 a.m. with the finals scheduled for around 2:30 p.m.

The teams will receive awards and also compete for grants and HyperX headsets. First place will earn a $2,500 grant.

The playoffs were delayed more than eight weeks before the coronavirus. which physically shuttered schools throughout the nation.

The weekend competition will also feature senior sendoffs and moments of silence to “demonstrate our commitment to proactively building diversity and racial equality within NASEF, the eSports community, and hopefully extending through our members to impact the world at large.”

Sunny Hills’ roster consists of Erik or his screen name “Berik”, Dylan or “jenníe”, Soonchang, Gavin or  “Javeen”, Cameron or “cam” and alternate Tyler or “shmeety.”

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation works in partnership with Riot Games.

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Sunny Hills athletic director Jon Caffrey accepts new ‘challenge’ as assistant principal at Fullerton


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The diverse high school athletics career of Jon Caffrey has made another turn.

Sunny Hills’ successful athletic director and former football coach has left the Freeway League school and accepted an assistant principal post at nearby Fullerton, he confirmed Thursday.

Caffrey, 48, will oversee athletics, ASB and discipline at Fullerton.

“It’s always difficult to leave something that’s been home,” he said of Sunny Hills. “But I’m excited for this new challenge.”

As Sunny Hills’ athletic director the past six years, Caffrey replaced the legendary Ralph Trigsted and guided some of the best coaches in Orange County.

Six of Caffrey’s coaches earned Orange County Register coach of the year honors. They were: Pete Karavedas (football), Jae Byun (girls basketball), Keith Nighswonger (girls water polo), Arlie Kearney (baseball), Mike Schade (boys soccer) and Jeff Gordon (girls soccer).

Sunny Hills also won multiple CIF-SS titles and one CIF State SoCal crown during Caffrey’s tenure.

This past season, the Lancers’ football team captured its first section title since 1992. The boys and girls soccer teams have also claimed titles in recent years.

Byun led the girls basketball team to the SoCal regional title and a trip to the state championships three seasons ago.

“He has done an amazing job at Sunny Hills,” Karavedas said of Caffrey, who also coached softball for two years at the school.

Interestingly, Caffrey coached Karavedas (Calvary Chapel/Downey) and Byun (Sunny Hills) in high school and then mentored them into top coaches.

Caffrey arrived at Sunny Hills in 2009 to coach football. He previously coached football at Whittier Christian, the program his father Tom led to three section championships.

Sunny Hills has not announced a new athletic director.

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Orange County athletes speak out on social media against racism in wake of George Floyd death


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  • Mater Dei’s Devin Askew is the Orange County boys basketball player of the year for the 2019-20 season. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Twin brothers Cassius, left, and Caine Savage on the football field at Western High School in Anaheim on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. The brothers signed letters of intent with San Diego State and Utah. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Pitcher, Kylee Magee of Canyon is named to the 2019 Orange County All-County softball team. Magee is shown in Irvine on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Mater Dei Monarchs wide receiver Kyron Ware-Hudson (10) points to the sky after making a catch in the end zone for a touchdown against the St. John Bosco Braves during the first half of the 2019 CIF Southern Section Division 1 High School Football Championship game at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif. on Saturday November 30, 2019. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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Protests at community parks, in front of government buildings and on city streets aren’t the only places in Southern California that young people are expressing their feelings about the death of George Floyd, racism and equality in America.

Some of Orange County’s most well-known high school athletes have made their voices heard on social media since the unarmed Floyd died in Minneapolis at the hands of police on May 25.

Rosary point guard Asia Avinger, The Register’s player of the year in girls basketball for 2019-20, has been among the most vocal on her Instagram account.

The San Diego State signee recently shared with her more than 10,000 followers a video of a young girl tearful saying, “I could die from the color of my skin.”

“There is so much hate in the world that we live in and it’s so horrific that even children are starting to understand how cruel the real world is,” Avinger wrote on the post that included the hashtag BLACKLIVESMATTER.

“There is so much hurt, pain and anger that we are feeling due to discrimination and racism.

“It shouldn’t matter the color of our skin, we should be treated with respect and equality. … We need CHANGE and I pray everyday that things get better.”

Mater Dei point guard Devin Askew, The Register’s boys basketball player of the year this past season, posted a photo this week that looked like himself in a shirt that read, “I Can’t Breathe”, a rallying crying at many protests for Floyd.

Floyd’s death, while in police custody, has sparked nationwide unrest.

“We are all equal!” the Kentucky-bound Askew wrote to his more than 78,000 followers on Instagram. “We are one! Together we fight for what is right.”

Western All-County wide receiver/cornerback Caine Savage also encouraged unity in a post on Instagram on Wednesday.

“We are BLACK MEN! We build. We don’t tear down other BLACK MEN!” the Utah signee wrote to his more than 3,000 followers. “All too often, we men find it easier to criticize each other instead of building each other up. With all the negativity going around, let’s do something positive!”

Canyon All-County softball pitcher Kylee Magee shared on her Instagram stories a quote from UCLA softball’s Aaliyah Jordan posted to the Pac-12 Conference social media account.

“My blackness is not a joke and not something that will be ignored. If you can’t see that then there’s a problem,” the quote read.

Numerous Orange County athletes, including New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (San Clemente), posted black screens to their Instagram accounts Tuesday as part of #BlackOutTuesday, a social media trend and sign of solidarity against police brutality against African Americans.

Mater Dei wide receiver and Oregon commit Kyron Ware-Hudson posted a video to his Instagram stories of a peaceful protest in front of police and a quote from Colorado Rockies baseball player Ian Desmond.

“When you can’t say, ‘Black Lives Matter’ … To me, that’s you saying my life doesn’t matter. That’s what I hear and I can’t change that,” the quote from Desmond read.

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Orange County athletes speak out on social media about racism, equality in wake of George Floyd death

Protests at community parks, in front of government buildings and on city streets aren’t the only places in Southern California that young people are expressing their feelings about the death of George Floyd and equality in America.

Some of Orange County’s most well-known high athletes also have made their voices heard on social media since the unarmed Floyd died in Minneapolis at the hands of police on May 25.

Rosary point guard Asia Avinger, The Register’s player of the year in girls basketball, has been among the most vocal on her Instgram account.

The San Diego State signee recently shared with her more than 10,000 followers a video of a young girl tearful saying, “I could die from the color of my sign.”

“There is so much hate in the world that we live in and it’s so horrific that even children are starting to understand how cruel the real world is,” Avinger wrote on the post that included the hashtag BLACKLIVESMATTER. “There is so much hurt, pain and anger that we are feeling due to discrimination and racism.

“It shouldn’t mater the color of our skin, we should be treated with respect and equality. … We need CHANGE and I pray everyday that things get better.”

Mater Dei point guard Devin Askew, The Register’s boys basketball player of the year, posted a photo this week that looked like himself in a shirt that read, “I Can’t Breathe”, a rallying crying at many protests for Floyd.

“We are all equal,” the Kentucky-bound Askew wrote to his more than 78,000 followers on Instgram. “We are one! Together we fight for what is right.”

Western All-County wide receiver/cornerback Caine Savage also encouraged unity in a post on Wednesday.

“We are BLACK MEN! We build. We don’t tear down other BLACK MEN,” the Utah signee wrote to his more than 3,000 Instagram followers. “All too often, we men find it easier to criticize each other instead of building each other up. With all the negative going around, let’s do something positive.”

Canyon All-County softball pitcher Kylee Magee shared on her Instgram stories a quote from UCLA softball’s Aaliyah Jordan posted to the Pac-12 Conference Instagram account.

“My blackness is not a joke and not something that will be ignored. If you can’t see that then there’s a problem,” the quote read.

Numerous Orange County athletes, including New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, posted black screens to their Instagram accounts Tuesday as part of #BlackOutTuesday, a social media trend and sign of solidarity against police brutality against African Americans.

Mater Dei wide receiver and Oregon commit Kyron Ware-Hudson posted a video to his Instagram stories of a peaceful protest in front of police and a quote from Colorado Rockies baseball player Ian Desmond.

“When you can’t say, ‘Black Lives Matter’ … To me, that’s you saying my life doesn’t matter. That’s what I hear and I can’t change that,” the quote read.

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Tustin girls basketball coach Claire Gocke designs own play to honor graduating seniors


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Coach Claire Gocke designed numerous plays in guiding Tustin’s girls basketball team to the outright Empire League title in the winter.

Now, she has called perhaps the most important play for her graduating seniors.

Gocke will host Ahzira Faletoi, Lisbeth Cabrera, Savannah Thorn and Kylie Pulsifer, along with the Tillers’ game announcer and school principal, outside her house on Tuesday, May 26 to celebrate the players’ original graduation date.

The eighth-year coach will be following social distancing rules and also call upon teammates and families to line her street in support of the graduates.

Think of it as one coach’s plan to counter the coronavirus pandemic, which has delayed and drastically altered graduation ceremonies across the nation for the class of 2020.

“This is just a tricky time and it’s affecting everyone in a number of different ways so I wanted to make their graduation something memorable and not just another day in quarantine,” Gocke said.

The coach has arranged for veteran Tustin basketball announcer Keith Martyn to call the player’s name and Principal Jon Tuin to attend the event.

She also is planning for pictures of the players in their caps and gowns with their diplomas and showing senior reflections on a projector.

Tustin’s graduation has been pushed back to August 5-6 because of the coronavirus but Gocke drew up another play for her senior.

“It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate all their accomplishments and accolades at Tustin as they move onto the next chapter of their lives,” she said.

Faletoi (Golden West College), Cabrera (Chapman), Thorn (UCLA) and Pulsifer (Orange Coast College) are each headed to college after graduation.

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Orange County football coaches increasingly optimistic season will be played despite obstacles ahead


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Mission Viejo football coach Chad Johnson saw the social media post by the CIF-Southern Section in late April and quickly found hope in a story about football during the Spanish flu epidemic.

The tweet noted that poor health conditions caused a football championship between Santa Monica and host Fullerton to be played on March 8, 1919, the latest date during a school year for a football game in section history.

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and the questions swirling about the fall sports season of 2020, Johnson took his own message from the post.

“We’re going to play football,” he said Friday.

The status of the 2020 football season and path to get there remain uncertain in the wake of schools physically shuttering in March because coronavirus.

While numerous school districts across Orange County have set August start dates for their next school year, there are questions about whether students will be attending classes on campus, continuing with social distancing or a combination of both.

“It hasn’t been determined at this time,” Tustin Unified spokesman Mark Eliot said this week. “Though the COVID-19 situation changes daily, we are working on a plan for the new school year.”

The re-opening of high school facilities for summer camps is another pressing issue. Summer is an important time for conditioning and injury prevention for fall sports such as football.

Irvine has reportedly set a tentative date for camps to start June 22 while districts such as Placentia-Yorba Linda and Garden Grove will be dark for June and July.

The Placentia-Yorba district has a “soft” opening for Aug. 3.

“It’s so hard to prepare until I know what I’m dealing with,” Yorba Linda football coach Jeff Bailey said. “But I’m super-hopeful on so many levels.”

Corona del Mar football coach Dan O’Shea said his four-week summer camp is scheduled to start on July 6 but he’s not certain of the location. It could be held at a Newport-Mesa district site or another facility.

“That’s a good question,” he said Friday.

Johnson has been told by his Saddleback Valley district that his camp should be able to start July 1.

But Johnson believes the camps will be different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He expects student-athletes to be placed in smaller groups to help with social distancing and for the sessions to be shorter.

And like the picture he saw in the CIF-SS social media post, the players could be wearing masks.

“That’s the eerie thing,” Johnson said of the similarity.

#DidYouKnow in the 1918-19 school year, football championships weren’t held until March because of the Spanish Flu?

March 8th is the latest day a football game has ever been played in CIF-SS history!#CIFSSHistory 📰:https://t.co/LmVpyrgpTt pic.twitter.com/zLbaBuWayI

— CIF Southern Section (@CIFSS) April 21, 2020

The National Federation of State High School Associations released guidelines this week for athletics to return.

Phase 1 recommends that players and coaches be screened for COVID-19, including a temperature check. The plan also states that players shouldn’t share any equipment — not even a football — in Phase 1.

Modified practices for football begin in Phase 3.

El Modena football coach Matt Mitchell believes “modified” will become key for the sport to be played in the fall.

“I think it’s going to be modified from a fans standpoint and us coaches are going to have to figure out a way to modify practices,” he said.

Teams have already shown their flexibility this offseason. After schools closed in March, coaches began meeting with players weekly online via Zoom.

Before the pandemic in February, El Modena started using an online app called Learn to Win to familiarize players with schemes.

“Now it’s paying off,” Mitchell said. “The game is changing quickly.”

But the pandemic could offer other challenges. Coaches wonder what will happens if a player or players test positive for the virus?

Coaches are counting progress against the virus in the coming weeks and months.

The popular Edison passing tournament remains scheduled for June 27 but Chargers coach Jeff Grady is taking a wait-and-see approach.

“Everything is trending in the right way,” Rancho Alamitos football coach Mike Enright said. “I just hope we get to play (the season).”

Johnson believes the worst-case scenario is the football season gets pushed later in the school year, perhaps into 2021. Maybe that March 8 record will be approached.

CIF-SS commissioner Rob Wigod said this week that “all options are on the table” for the fall sports such as football.

“I think there’s a good possibility that it happens in the fall,” O’Shea said.

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