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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Spring wrap-up Q&A: Aliso Niguel boys lacrosse coach says team had ‘an outstanding opportunity’ as a D2 front-runner


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Editor’s note: The Orange County Register is having the area’s spring sports coaches take part in a Q&A about the 2020 season that was cut short by the coronavirus crisis.


Zach Henderson, Aliso Niguel boys lacrosse

Q: How are you adapting to being home every day during the spring?

A: It was certainly very difficult. In relation to everything, us being asked to stay home isn’t necessarily a “huge” sacrifice. However, in terms of work and seeing the team every single day, it was absolutely an adjustment period and a constant reminder of what was happening and what the team may have missed out on.

Q: As a coach, what do you miss most about your “normal routine” (pre-coronavirus)?

A: I simply miss seeing the young men every single day. In terms of a “routine,” I miss the pregame aspect right before the games took place. It was these moments where the young men were completely autonomous in their pregame warmup, and that was a lot of fun to watch.

Q: When you think about your team these days, what stands out the most?

A: How special this group was. With the adoption from CIF, this particular team had an outstanding opportunity in front of them as one of the front-runners in Division 2. We had tremendous leadership on and off the field, and it would have been incredibly special to see where it may have taken the program.

Q: As a coach, what has been the worst moment for you this spring and why?

A: The worst moment of the spring or season was us driving two hours to Santiago High School in the pouring rain, only to find out that our game (and season, eventually) was cancelled. At the time, there was so much uncertainty with everything going on. I truly believed that we were going to be able to play again during the spring. I feel like I unintentionally lied to my players, and seeing the amount of disappointment top to bottom from the team was excruciating.

Q: And what has been the best moment for you this spring and why?

A: The best moment of the spring is being able to reflect and recognize just how special these young men are and how important the program is as a whole. We can often get caught up in wins and losses with lacrosse, but talking to my seniors especially has opened my eyes to how incredible and strong they have been through this entire process. It makes me very proud to lead them.

Q: If you could play one game tomorrow, what would that look like?

A: One game: Aliso Niguel vs. San Juan Hills. Any place and any time. I think this game had major CIF Division 2 implications, and may have been a battle for the best D2 Orange County team. Not to mention, a league rival. Can’t beat that!

Q: What do you want your players to learn from all of this?

A: I want my players to learn that this is life. While this may have been an unprecedented event in every person’s life globally, it is life. We must always do our best to prioritize things that are most important and not get caught up in surface-level things that don’t matter.

I hope they learn that they are stronger for this than making a deep playoff run. Of course, they want to play and win. But we pride ourselves in developing young men who attack life head on and look straight ahead.

Q: For fun, which player(s) on your team made you laugh the most?

A: I think it is safe to say that Tommy Walsh made the entire team laugh the most. He ALWAYS has something interesting to say, no matter the mood or situation.

Q: For fun, who on your team would you like to challenge to a friendly showdown on the field? And would it be a faceoff or do you go 1-on-1 on offense or defense?

A: My days are long behind me! I am proud to say that nearly every player on my team would have no problem against me 1-on-1. Signs of an improving program!

Q: For fun, what song do you play on the team bus for the final bus ride home?

A: That really isn’t up to me. The players fought to win their game, they get to pick the music. Just keep it clean!

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2019-20 athletes & coaches of the year, All-County teams, Outstanding Seniors

A look back at the OCVarsity award winners for the 2019-20 high school sports season.

Athletes and coaches of the year and All-County teams were selected for the fall and winter sports. For the spring sports, which had their season cut short by COVID-19, the Register chose an Outstanding Senior for each sport.

OCVarsity 2020 Athletes & Coaches of the Year page

FALL SPORTS

FOOTBALL

Offensive Player of the Year: Bryce Young, Mater Dei

Defensive Player of the Year: Clark Phillips III, La Habra

Coach of the Year: Nick Karavedas, Sunny Hills

All-County team: First Team Offense

All-County team: First Team Defense

All-County teams: Second Team and Third Team

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Player of the Year: Mia Tuaniga, Mater Dei

Coach of the Year: Isaac Owens, Esperanza

All-County team

BOYS CROSS COUNTY

Runner of the Year: Anthony Grover, JSerra

Coach of the Year: Craig Dunn, Dana Hills

All-County team

GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

Runner of the Year: Carly Corsinita, Capistrano Valley

Coach of the Year: Ken Chai, El Toro

All-County team

GIRLS GOLF

Golfer of the Year: Sherilyn Villaneuva, Troy

Coach of the Year: Bruce Loman, Sage Hill

All-County team

GIRLS TENNIS

Player of the Year: Kaytlin Taylor, Huntington Beach

Coach of the Year: Natasha Schottland, Portola

All-County team

BOYS WATER POLO

Player of the Year: Tanner Pulice, Corona del Mar

Coach of the Year: Logan Powell, San Clemente

All-County team

 

WINTER SPORTS

BOYS BASKETBALL

Player of the Year: Devin Askew, Mater Dei

Coach of the Year: D’Cean Bryant, Fountain Valley

All-County team

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Player of the Year: Asia Avinger, Rosary

Coach of the Year: Jimmy Valverde, Esperanza

All-County team

BOYS SOCCER

Player of the Year: Uriel Sanchez, Servite

Coach of the Year: Jon Spencer, Servite

All-County team

GIRLS SOCCER

Player of the Year: Samantha Williams, JSerra

Coach of the Year: Pat Rossi, Los Alamitos

All-County team

GIRLS WATER POLO

Player of the Year: Emma Lineback, Laguna Beach

Coach of the Year: Rory Bevins, Rosary

All-County team

BOYS WRESTLING

Wrestler of the Year: Aaron Nagao, Esperanza

Coach of the Year: Dane Valdez, Calvary Chapel

All-County team

GIRLS WRESTLING

Wrestler of the Year: Aine Drury, Westminster

All-County team

 

SPRING SPORTS

Outstanding Seniors

Baseball: Jonny Long, Orange

Softball: Madi Simon, Beckman

Boys Swimming: Ryan Abdollahi, Dana Hills

Girls Swimming: Ella Ristic,  Santa Margarita

Boys Track & Field: Isaac Korn, Trabuco Hills

Girls Track & Field: Sophia Hartwell, Orange Lutheran

Boys Volleyball: Niko Colburn, Huntington Beach

Boys Tennis: Jake Huarte, Mater Dei

Boys Golf: Taehoon Song, Anaheim Discovery Christian

Boys Lacrosse: Andrew Cumming, Foothill

Girls Lacrosse: Ashley Stokes, Foothill

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OCVarsity 2020 Athletes of the Year special section

The Register wraps up a year of excellence in high school sports by selecting the Orange County Athletes of the Year.

The honorees are featured in a special section that includes lists of all of the athletes and coaches who received OCVarsity honors in 2019-20. The section is included in Sunday’s edition of the Register.

There is also an interactive online version of the section that can be found here.

A link to our page for the 2020 OCVaristy Athlete & Coach Awards.

This year, because of COVID-19, the Register couldn’t host its annual banquet for all of the year’s award winners, but the OCVarsity staff congratulates the honorees, including Rosary’s Asia Avinger, who received the Trinity League Athlete of the Year award from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.

 

To read the individual stories, click on the athlete names below.

Male Athlete of the Year

Bryce Young, Mater Dei


Mater Dei High quarterback Bryce Young announced his commitment to attend Alabama on social media on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

 

Female Athlete of the Year

Asia Avinger, Rosary


Rosary’s Asia Avinger is one of the Orange County Register’s 2020 Athletes of the Year. The San Clemente High School athlete committed to play basketball at San Diego State. Photographed in Anaheim, CA on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

 

Male Outstanding Competitor

Lance Keneley, Mission Viejo


Mission Viejo High School’s Lance Keneley is one of the Orange County Register’s 2020 Athletes of the Year. Keneley has committed to play football at Stanford. Photographed in Anaheim, CA on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Female Outstanding Competitor

Ella Gardiner, San Clemente


San Clemente athlete Ella Gardiner is one of the Orange County Register’s 2020 Athletes of the Year. Gardiner excelled in basketball and volleyball.  Photographed in Anaheim, CA on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Spring wrap-up Q&A: Northwood boys lacrosse coach says best moment was beating No. 1 Dana Hills


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Editor’s note: The Orange County Register is having the area’s spring sports coaches take part in a Q&A about the 2020 season that was cut short by the coronavirus crisis.


Perry Craz, Northwood boys lacrosse

Q: How are you adapting to being home every day during the spring?

A: I’m adapting well. There’s still a lot of work and planning that goes into each season, so it’s been nice to get a head start on 2021.

Q: As a coach, what do you miss most about your “normal routine” (pre-coronavirus)?

A: I miss everything. Interacting with players, game days, practices, and watching the team grow on a daily basis.

Q: When you think about your team these days, what stands out the most?

A: I think NHS lacrosse is resilient. The players have continued to improve and invest in the culture of “do more, get more.”

Q: As a coach, what has been the worst moment for you this spring and why?

A: The worst was the cancellation of the Orange Lutheran game on March 16. The boys were ready to play after a great game vs Capo, and the rain, lightning, and virus ended up being the last day the team was together.

Q: And what has been the best moment for you this spring and why?

A: The best moment of 2020 was defeating then No. 1 Dana Hills on the road. We played a complete game and were beginning to gel offensively and defensively.

Q: If you could play one game tomorrow, what would that look like?

A: If we played a game tomorrow I’d hope it was against our biggest rival, Beckman High School, at Northwood HS. Final redemption for the seniors. I imagine a lot of energy and fans in attendance.

Q: What do you want your players to learn from all of this?

A: Learn the importance of today. Give your all every day because at any moment things can change for the best or worst. Be ready for both!

Q: For fun, which player(s) on your team made you laugh the most?

A: Hands down the player who made me laugh the most this year was Travis Arena. He just does things to defenders that are laughable. Can’t wait for the league to see him play next season.

Q: For fun, who on your team would you like to challenge to a friendly showdown on the field? And would it be a face-off or do you go 1-on-1 on offense or defense?

A: It would have to be 1-on-1 vs captain and starting defender Matthew Keith. He wouldn’t stand a chance but it would be fun!

Q: For fun, what song do you play on the team bus for the final bus ride home?

A: After each victory the team jams out to “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.

 

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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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