Swimming official Kieth Pike remembered for deck excellence during 56-year career


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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.”

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Santa Margarita quarterback Colt Fulton motivated to improve while preparing for season

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.”

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Mater Dei All-County cornerback Jaylin Davies to forgo revised football season, enroll early at Oregon

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.

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PGF cancels national championships for older divisions, All-American high school game


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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.”

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California community colleges shift all sports to spring season for 2020-21 academic year


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The CIF State is expected to announce its plans for sports in 2020-21 on July 20 but the organization received a look Thursday at an approved collegiate model in the state.

The California Community College Athletic Association announced that all its sports — even the socially-distanced friendly ones — will be played in the spring of 2021 this coming school year.

The schedule depends on local and state guidelines regarding the coronavirus pandemic, which is forcing high school, college and professional sports to reconsider their schedules.

The junior colleges will feature early and late spring seasons, with football starting practices on Jan. 18, 2021 in the early spring season.

The football season kickoffs about four weeks later on Feb. 13, 2021 and ends April 17.

Basketball and soccer are among the other sports in the early spring season.

The late spring season will run from March 27 through June 23.

All sports also playing seasons shortened by about 30 percent. Football, for example, will feature seven games.

There will be regional playoffs but no state championships.

The CCCAA features 110 colleges throughout the state and approximately 24,000 athletes.

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County of Orange defends messaging about youth sports postponement


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The County of Orange on Thursday defended its messaging about youth sports, which at the high school level were abruptly halted this week after receiving clearance by the county on June 15.

Frank Kim, Executive Officer for Orange County, said during a press conference about the coronavirus pandemic that youth sports were suspended after the California Department of Public Health modified guidelines.

He also said that the county re-opened athletics June 15 after other counties were given the clearance from the state.

Kim referenced a news report from Sacramento earlier this month that mentioned other counties.

“When the state provides that guidance and authority to one particular county (to allow modified, socially-distanced youth sports),” Kim said, “many of us began opening that program that was consistent with the guidance some counties had received directly from the state.

“And the state recently had modified their guidance on that so we did the exact appropriate thing, which  was we re-issued the press release and we had conversations with the Department of Education. … I see this being a completely open and transparent process.”

The O.C. Department of Education ended up delivering the news first Monday.

Through its legal counsel, the department advised schools to postpone summer workouts based on a clarification it received from the California Department of Public Health.

Despite high school athletic programs focusing on social distancing, wearing masks and taking temperature checks, they were advised that their modified workouts weren’t approved by the state.

While the O.C. Department of Education doesn’t govern high school athletics, districts throughout the county promptly followed the advice and started shutting down their summer programs on Monday night.

By the time the County of Orange issued its press release Wednesday night that youth sports were postponed, some private schools had already stopped their workouts as well and most of the county already knew the update.

“(The California Department of Public Health) again indicated that guidance specific to youth sports would be released in the future,” Jeffrey J. Riel, general counsel for the O.C. Department of Education, wrote to school superintendents.

“Once statewide guidance is released, we will collectively work with the local public health officer to consider local community conditions when implementing the statewide guidance.”

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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.

RELATED COVERAGE

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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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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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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