Hamburgers, holding and touchdowns: Welcome to summer football

Saturday morning in Huntington Beach started with an overcast sky. As dozens of hamburger patties were placed on the grill and sweet barbecue aromas began to spread around Edison High, the sun had come out and the Battle at the Beach seven-a-side football tournament was in full swing.

By early afternoon, St. John Bosco (4-0), Santa Ana Mater Dei (4-0) and Mission Viejo (4-0) led the 20-team field, followed by Corona del Mar (3-1) and JSerra (3-1), Edison (3-1), Los Alamitos (2-2) and Long Beach Poly (2-2). Quarterbacks threw, receivers caught, and defensive backs went so far as to pull jerseys with their not-so-hidden holding technique.

After lunch, when the smoke cleared and the heat set in a bit, it was survival of the fittest and Mission Viejo emerged victorious, beating St. John Bosco 21-0 in the final. The bottom four in the top division were St. John Bosco, Mater Dei, JSerra and Mission Viejo. St. John Bosco defeated JSerra and Mission Viejo defeated Mater Dei in the semifinals.

Among the lessons learned at Edison:

—Mission Viejo has experience and talent with its returning group of offensive players led by quarterback Kadin Semonza and receivers Mikey Matthews, Jackson Holman and KJ Reed. Matthews is so good at making catches that you just point a camera at him and wait until you can say “wow”. It does not take long. Matthews got the winning touchdown in the last game to eliminate Mater Dei in the semifinals. The Diablos have a number of players who have been together for four years and will be looking to repeat Servite’s success last season with four year old players.

– Long Beach Poly’s quarterback was Darius Curry, who picked up a knee injury last season and chose not to switch in the spring when a big deal was made of Nico Iamaleava, who switched from Warren. Iamaleava was absent from action Saturday and was away over the summer traveling across the country to promote his future school in Tennessee. Curry persevered, has fully recovered and is going on the offensive.

— St. John Bosco’s secondary school is brimming with talent, and none better than Ty Lee, a security guard and cousin of former Mater Dei star Bru McCoy. Lee, a UCLA commit, is physically fit and has excellent completion speed. He has good timing and a great instinct that knows when to step into a game to stop a pass.

– Corona del Mar’s Cooper Hoch and Norco’s Grant Gray showed their outstanding reception skills, making them excellent players for this fall.

—Los Alamitos will rise or fall behind four-year-old quarterback Malachi Nelson. The Griffins have picked up a lot of transfers and it will be interesting to see if there are enough high-quality linemen up front to add them to the Division 1 mix.

—Linebacker Leviticus Su’a of Mater Dei is a man among boys. He’s a physical specimen and while tackling isn’t allowed in seven-a-side competition, his mere presence in the middle makes him an intimidating player. He had an interception against Norco. He is a straight-A student with the opportunity to attend Stanford, among many other schools.

—Defenders keep holding in these tournaments. Officials called penalties early in the day and tried to send a message to the cornerbacks and safeties.

—Rancho Cucamonga quarterback CJ Tiller moved to the area from Arizona, is committed to Boise State and should be very good for a program this fall that sent CJ Stroud to Ohio State.

– Chaparral has a ball-of-fire 5-6 junior receiver named Stacy Dobbins who has the speed and fearlessness to cause some mismatches this fall.

At the Simi Valley Tournament, Santa Maria St. Joseph defeated Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in the championship game.

In Newport Harbor, the visiting school won its own tournament, defeating San Clemente in the championship match.

San Juan Hills went 5-0 behind second quarterback Michael Tollefson in the Semper Fi tournament in La Costa Canyon.

Pasadena won its tournament championship, defeating Downey in the finals.

Oxnard won the Culver City tournament, defeating Loyola in the championship.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/story/2022-07-09/hamburgers-holding-and-touchdowns-welcome-to-summer-football Hamburgers, holding and touchdowns: Welcome to summer football

Emma Bowman

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