Magnolia High football coach Desmond Hernandez, who turned around the Sentinels the past three seasons, has resigned, he confirmed Thursday night.
In an Instagram post, Hernandez said he accepted a physical education teaching position at another high school, which he didn’t mention by name.
When contacted, Hernandez said he couldn’t yet discuss his destination.
Last season, Hernandez led Magnolia to seven victories on the field (one victory was forfeited for an ineligible player) after the school won three games combined his first two seasons.
Magnolia (6-4) placed third in the Orange League and notched its first winning season since 2008.
But Hernandez also helped the team overcoming a fire last summer that destroyed an on-campus equipment shed with football gear.
Magnolia returns a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in seniors Lloyd Marshbanks and Joseph Lariz. But the Orange League looks tougher with arrival of Western, a CIF-SS champion in 2018. Katella has dominated the league the last several seasons.
Hernandez is the third Orange League coach to resign since last season, joining the retired Fred DiPalma (Katella) and Larry Mohr (Santa Ana Valley).
The Avinger siblings are set to reunite in college.
Servite High wide receiver/defensive back Noah Avinger (5-11, 165) on Thursday committed to San Diego State, the same school that signed his twin sister Asia Avinger for women’s basketball last year and received a commitment in July from his brother Lucky Avinger for football.
Asia Avinger was The Register’s female athlete of the year for 2019-20 after a stellar season with Rosary, which advanced to its second consecutive CIF State Division 1 championship game. The final wasn’t played because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lucky Avinger (6-1, 215) is a running back from Fullerton College and La Habra High. Last season, he rushed for 240 yards and three TDs for the Hornets.
Noah Avinger led Servite last season with four interceptions and earned first-team All-Trinity League honors. He picked the Aztecs over several Pac-12 offers, including Oregon, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State.
San Diego State’s recruiting class for 2021 also includes another former Trinity League standout defensive back: New Zealand Williams. The former JSerra safety is now at St. Bernard of Playa Del Rey. Williams was a second-team All-Trinity League selection last season.
The Aztecs’ secondary includes former Santa Ana and Godinez standout Patrick McMorris.
Please send football recruiting news to Dan Albano at firstname.lastname@example.org or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter
Legendary former Mater Dei football coach Dick Coury, who helped build the Monarchs into a powerhouse before embarking on a long and successful career at the collegiate and professional levels, died Saturday, Aug. 15, announced Lake Oswego High in Oregon, where Coury’s son Steve is the football coach.
The announcement, from the official twitter account of the Lake Oswego football program, said Coury was 91.
“He treated everyone he came in contact with like they were the most important person in the world,” Lake Oswego tweeted. “Even with all of his accomplishments in coaching, he will be remembered more for the type of person he was.”
While he helped with the Lake Oswego team, Coury also could be spotted at Mater Dei in retirement. He attended the Monarchs’ pre-game ceremony for the 1950 and 1960 team in 2015.
Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson, who hoisted Coury’s arm before the 2015 game, played for Coury at Mater Dei.
“I’ve known Coach Coury since around the seventh grade and have always admired him as both a great coach and a great person,” said Phil Anton, a longtime observer of Orange County football and former chairman of the county all-star game.
The state recommendations prohibit games but allow for physical conditioning and skill training conducted outdoors with 6 feet of physical distancing between participants.
The guidelines are similar to what many schools were following in mid-June and early July before the sessions were postponed.
Cunningham said the Irvine district received clearance Thursday from Orange County health officials to hold the modified workouts.
“Scheduling facilities is going to be the challenge,” he said. “(We) need to give athletic directors the opportunity to meet with coaches and work together to facilitate the start of camps.”
The Irvine district consists of five high schools: Irvine, Northwood, Portola, University and Woodbridge.
Camps held after the start of school will operate under the CIF Southern Section’s summertime rules, or under the authority of school principals, until the official start of the fall season in mid-December. The CIF-SS extended the summertime rules in its July 20 announcement about the new sports calendar for the 202-21 school year.
Support our high school sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. Subscribe now
Kieth Pike, one of Southern California’s most experienced, respected and colorful swimming officials, died July 19 after a sudden bout with ketoacidosis, an acidic blood condition, his wife, Jo Ann, said Monday.
Pike, 84, started officiating high school meets in Southern California in 1962 and continued until 2017, the year he received the Ed Ruth Excellence in Officiating Award from Southern California Swimming.
“I respected him every time I had him deck,” veteran swimming official Richard Davis said. “I knew the deck was covered.”
Pike officiated the CIF-Southern Section swimming championships and was a fixture at Long Beach Wilson-hosted Klaus Barth Invitational.
The Westminster resident also officiated USA Swimming meets and high school water polo matches. He was past president of the Southern California Aquatics Federation.
“Kieth was one our best officials,” veteran referee John Montrella said.
Pike indeed spelled his first name Kieth, a unique flair picked by his mother.
Pike swam and played water polo at Long Beach Jordan High before serving in the Air Force from 1956-1962.
After the Air Force, he began working as the pool attendant/lifeguard at Long Beach Millikan High’s indoor pool. He balanced the position with his referee assignments.
“He enjoyed (officiating) because he was there for the students and the athletes,” Jo Ann said.
Pike met Jo Ann, his wife of nearly 35 years, while at the Long Beach Millikan pool.
He is survived by children, Keith, Kevin, Michael, Randy, Bryan and Wendi, ex-wife Suzanne and several grandchildren.
A funeral service is being planned for Riverside National Cemetery in August.
“His zest for life and laughter were contagious and irresistible,” the Pike family wrote in a tribute. “He was silly and loud, dedicated and strong, dynamic and deep. … Kieth’s voice will always be with us, cracking jokes, brightening our days and urging us to be be better.”
Support our high school sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. Subscribe now
California’s high school swimming season ended abruptly in the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s scheduled comeback in 2021 offers intrigue and challenges.
In other words, it could feel a lot like just another swimming season in Southern California.
And considering the health crisis that has raged since March, that normalcy would be a welcomed vibe.
“We’re just hopeful we can have something this year,” Santa Margarita co-coach Rich Blanc said this week.
The revised sports calendar by the CIF-Southern Section pushes the swimming season back about three weeks to a start on March 13, 2021. The season will then operate in nearly its regular spring window.
The Southern Section championships are scheduled for the week of May 24, the last week before Memorial Day. The state championships remain and slotted for June 4-5.
Part of the intrigue and benefit for swimming in the new calendar is that many boys will enter the season directly from water polo. The water polo season will end for most teams in early March.
Traditionally, the boys play water polo in the fall and have an extended break before swimming. But with essentially no break between seasons this school year, the boys could be excellence shape early in the swimming campaign.
“I bet in the first two weeks of the season, you’ll see their best times until league,” Villa Park consultant John Kulisich said.
The boys, of course, will make the same transition that the girls have made for years from water polo to swimming. The girls usually play water polo in the winter and move right into swimming.
The swimming season also might experience a rehearsal of sorts in November. USA Swimming’s TYR Pro Swim Series is scheduled to make a stop in Irvine at Woollett Aquatics Center, Nov. 12-15, 2020.
Coach Ken LaMont of the host Irvine Novaquatics said his club will work with health officials leading up the meet but knows the pandemic makes the future uncertain.
“We’re excited about the possibility of the meet,” LaMont said Friday.
The high school season will face hurdles with scheduling.
The calendar’s stretch into late May and early June could conflict with high school graduations.
And there’s the typical, Olympic-year consideration. The early June conclusion of the season will be close to the start of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, June 13-20, in Omaha, Neb.
In past Olympic years, some elite high school swimmers alter their schedule and training in preparation of Trials.
“We will deal with it successfully,” Mission Viejo Nadadores coach Mark Schubert said the balance act. “I don’t think there is a negative.”
Yes, any type of comeback from a canceled season would certainly be a positive.
Colt Fulton wishes the high school football season could start this fall but he has important plans for the march toward kickoff.
The Santa Margarita senior quarterback aims to improve a skill set that has landed him five college offers and positioned him for a breakout season come Jan. 8, 2021.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound left-handed passer wants to increase his strength and fine-tune throwing mechanics during the delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m just using this time as an opportunity to get better,” Fulton said this week. “I get an extra four months to really focus on what I need to get better at but also (the time) is a negative because I love playing in the fall. But as long as I’m playing (at some point), it’s not a big deal.”
Fulton flashed his upside last season at Santa Margarita, his first since transferring from Centennial of Corona. Despite playing with an inexperienced offense, he showed a strong arm, good footwork and toughness in the pocket in passing for 1,361 yards and seven touchdowns.
Fulton passed for season-high 274 yards and two TDs in a 35-21 loss against Sierra Canyon in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs.
The Eagles finished 3-8 overall, 0-5 in the Trinity League but college scouts have noticed Fulton. He has been offered by San Diego, Bucknell, Yale, Northern Colorado and Florida Atlantic.
Fulton also is receiving interest from Cal, Rutgers and Houston.
“I feel thankful but there’s definitely some offers that I still waiting for,” he said. “It’s definitely going to have to be senior-year film for me.”
In January, Fulton will debut under new Santa Margarita coach Tim Walsh, the former Cal Poly SLO coach and returning offensive coordinator Tim Holt. The Eagles will continue to run the spread offense with the run-pass option.
Fulton recently began training privately with Chris Flores at STARS in Anaheim. Flores has also worked with quarterbacks such as Bryce Young (Mater Dei/Alabama), DJ Uiagalelei (St. John Bosco/Clemson) and Los Alamitos sophomore Malachi Nelson.
Another positive for Fulton will be his offensive line. The group now includes the return of Brody Crane from JSerra.
Senior Tyler Wetmore (5-10, 183) leads the receiving group. The slot was recently offered by Penn.
“Everyone is going to be pretty shocked how good we are and how improved we are,” Fulton said. “I’m excited.”
Jaylin Davies watched the standouts before him at Mater Dei make the early leap to college football.
As a freshman, he saw quarterback JT Daniels blaze a new path, reclassifying to enroll at USC.
As a sophomore, it was wide receiver Bru McCoy who enrolled early with the Trojans.
And last year, all eyes were on quarterback Bryce Young, who graduated early to join Alabama.
Davies spotted the potential collegiate boost in the decisions and wanted to follow the same path.
The All-County cornerback never imagined he would need to miss his senior season to make it a reality.
But with Monday’s announcement that the high school football season will be delayed to an early January start, Davies (6-1, 165) has decided to forgo his senior season with the Monarchs to graduate early and enroll at Oregon.
“It’s tough but the decision was made a long time ago when I was a freshman,” he explained. “(I) just never thought my senior season would be pushed back until spring.”
The coronavirus pandemic has forced plenty of change, including the news that the football season in the CIF-SS aims to start Jan. 8, 2021 and play through mid-April. Davies aims to be part of the Ducks’ program by then.
He will miss more than the season.
Davies said he will miss Coach Bruce Rollinson and the coaching staff and going to In-N-Out Burger with his friends.
And the Monarchs will miss Davies. He will be remembered as clutch performer who filled big shoes after the unexpected transfers of cornerbacks Elias Ricks and Darion Green-Warren. Davies also helped seal a victory against St. John Bosco for Trinity League title last season.
A look at what the Orange County school districts and private schools have announced about their plans for the start of the 2020-21 school year.
School campuses were shut down and all sports activities were stopped in mid-March during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools are currently working on plans for the new school year while receiving recommendations, from health agencies and other groups, regarding how to protect the well-being of students and teachers during the pandemic.
OCVarsity will be tracking announcements about plans for sports activities and whether schools will open their campuses (for in-person instruction) or have closed campuses (distance learning only).
Administrators have been saying that schools with closed campuses aren’t expected to allow any sports activities until their campus is reopened.
Here is where things stand as of Tuesday, July 14:
ORANGE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS
Anaheim Union (starting Aug. 12): Plan is TBD
Brea Olinda Unified (starting Aug. 17): Plan is TBD
Notable: District board of education meeting on Thursday, July 16.
Capistrano Unified (starting Aug. 18): Plan is TBD
Notable: District board of trustees meeting on Wednesday, July 15.
Fullerton Joint Union (starting Aug. 11): Plan is TBD
Garden Grove (starting Aug. 24): Plan is TBD
Huntington Beach Union (starting Sept. 3): Plan is TBD
Irvine Unified (starting Aug. 20): Plan is TBD
Notable: District board meeting on Tuesday, July 14.
Laguna Beach (starting Aug. 24): Plan is TBD
Los Alamitos (starting Aug. 31): Plan is TBD
Newport-Mesa Unified (starting Aug. 24): Plan is TBD
Orange Unified (starting Aug. 19): Plan is TBD
Placentia-Yorba Linda (starting Sept. 1): Plan is TBD
Support our high school sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. Subscribe now
Premier Girls Fastpitch on Sunday canceled its 18- and 16-and-under national travel softball championships and its All-American high school game — all scheduled for Orange County this summer — because of the coronavirus.
PGF president/CEO Dan Hay hoped the last several weeks that the tournaments scheduled for July 24-Aug. 1 and the national all-star game planned for Aug. 1 could be played but the recent surge of coronavirus cases and the suspension of youth sports in the state sealed the fate of the high-profile events.
Hay made the announcement with a heavy heart. The PGF nationals have grown into a festival for the softball community and attracted national television exposure for players and teams.
Pacifica’s Alyssa Brito (Oregon) and Los Alamitos’ Kennedi Houshmandzadeh (LSU) were selected to the All-American game.
“These kids aren’t going to have these life-long memories,” Hay said. “We looked into relocating it to another part of the country and every other part of the country is having problems. It’s too uncertain. … There was no way to do it.”
PGF hasn’t yet canceled the second week of its championships — for the 14, 12 and 10 age divisions — but Hay isn’t optimistic those events scheduled for Aug. 2-9 will be played. An announcement is expected on July 19.
“I don’t think there’s a chance,” Hay said of the likelihood of the tournaments being played.
Last season between its two sessions, the PGF Nationals hosted about 635 teams from across the nation.
The tournaments were viewed as the crown jewel of the highly-competitive travel softball season.
“The cancellation is a such a huge blow for our softball season,” said Coach Alan Caouette of California Cruisers and Aliso Niguel High. “All year we look forward to playing in this prestigious event. … In a year of chaos, it would been outstanding to finish with this event.”
Hay said the PGF trimmed the number of teams this year to about 550 in hopes of managing the schedule amid the pandemic and limiting crowds.
But the number of coronavirus cases in Orange County have risen and youth sports statewide have been postponed by the California Department of Public Heath.
Hay, however, believes the softball games should be allowed to go on.
“I believe that these kids should be able to go out and play games and allow the organizations to social distance responsibly,” said Hay, also the co-head softball at Marina. “Baseball and softball, it’s pretty easy to social distance.”
Hay said his organization has been seriously impacted financially by the cancellations but will be “fine” and “ready for 2021.” PGF applied for and received funds through the Payroll Protect Plan, he said.
The cities of Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley and Irvine also will be impacted financially by the cancellation of the tournaments.
“We bring over 50,000 people into Southern California during those two weeks,” Hay said. “The money that they’re spending in restaurants and hotels and stores and gas stations is going to be sorely missed by these communities.”