May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

High school football players of the week and a preview of week eight

University players celebrate the league victory Friday over Portola. (Photo Fernando M. Donado, for OC Sports Zone)

UNIVERSITY (2-5, 1-1)

Last week: University 28, Portola 16.

Offensive players of the week:  Eddie Castillo, 150 yards rushing; Branton Lucas, 120 yards rushing, two touchdowns) and Thomas Keeling, 57 yards rushing, two touchdowns.

Defensive player of the week: Jaydon Bonnafaux had 10 total tackles.

Coach’s comment:We played our best game of the season last week rushing for 320 yards on offense and our defense played a great second half holding Portola to only a second half field goal,” said Coach Scott Meyer.

This week: University hosts Irvine Friday at 7 p.m.  

IRVINE (2-5, 1-1)

Last week: Irvine 20, Beckman 17.

Offensive players of the week: “Our offensive line (Camren Mertins, Duncan Jarvis, Anthony Ramirez, Tyler Paulin, Zach Lyons, Brandon Alvidres and Will Leys) had their best performance of the season,” said Coach Erik Terry.

Defensive player of the week: Ethan Shank had several tackles and a key interception that sealed the game.

Special teams player of the week: “Our kick-off coverage team did a great job of not allowing Beckman’s athletes any big returns,” Terry said.

Coach’s quote: “Beckman came in with a great game plan and we were fortunate to earn a hard fought victory,” Terry said.

This week: Irvine plays at University Friday night. “University has some very talented athletes and they have improved every week,” Terry said. “We will need to play our best four quarters of football if we want to give ourselves an opportunity to win.”

WOODBRIDGE (4-3, 2-0)

Last week: Woodbridge 38, Northwood 0

Offensive player of the week: Jacob Nash with 220 yards receiving and 22 yards receiving.

Defensive players of the week: Roee Lachmish, five tackles; Colin Turner, 10 tackles and Max Tipple, six tackles.

Special teams player of the week: Jakob Trestik, five extra points and one field goal.

Coach’s comment: “The defense shined last week in what I believe to be their best team defensive game,” said Coach Rick Gibson,

This week: Woodbridge plays Beckman Friday at 7 p.m. at Tustin. “Beckman is very active defensively, offensively they have a very good  balanced attack,” Gibson said. “It will take a very solid effort to be successful.”

BECKMAN (4-3, 1-1)

Last week: Irvine 20, Beckman 17.

Offensive player of the week: Quarterback Jason Cheng completed his first 12 pass attempts and produced 186 yards of offense and one rushing touchdown.

Defensive players of the week: Junior safety Josh Carter led the team in tackles. He had one quarterback sack, and had a great night in coverage in the secondary, said Coach Marcello Giuliano. “Junior defensive tackle Jose Herrera was also an impact player with five tackles and a sack,” the coach said.

Coach’s comment: “Irvine really controlled the first 16 minutes of the game, jumping out to a 14-point lead before we could get things turned around,” the coach said.  “I was proud that our kids showed a lot of resilience on both sides of the ball, taking the lead at one point in the game. We had a chance to come back again at the end, but ultimately their kids made one more play than we did.

This week:  Beckman hosts Woodbridge Friday at Tustin. “Woodbridge is fast and aggressive in all aspects of the game,: Giuliano said. “We will need to play a clean, complete, team game this week.”

PORTOLA (2-5, 0-2)

Last week’s score: University 28, Portola 16.

Offensive player of the week: Kai Horn, junior running back.

Defensive player of the week: Andrew Gutierrez, sophomore lineman.

Special teams player of the week: Kyle De Oliveira, sophomore tight end.

Coach’s quote: “As anticipated, fantastic stadium environment and an exciting game all around with a much improved Bulldog team continuing to make progress as a varsity football team,” said Coach Peter Abe.  “For yet another week playing our most complete game in all phases, the Bulldogs have risen to the challenge of the 2018 PCL, putting ourselves in position to compete for success each week.  In the end, the Trojans made a few more plays in critical situations and came away with the victory, but the Bulldogs are utilizing every opportunity we can to learn and grow and bank this experience as we continue to take deliberate steps toward excellence as a program, together.”

This week: Portola plays Northwood Friday night at Irvine Stadium.  “Against the team speed/high tempo offense and defense of the T’Wolves, the Bulldogs will have to play their most disciplined game yet,” Abe said. “Another exciting match-up.”

TUSTIN (2-5, 1-1)

Last week: Valencia 27 Tustin 7.

Offensive player of the week: Junior guard Elyjah Siofele.  

Defensive player of the week:  Senior corner back Nick Arango, who had an interception towards the end of the first half.

Special teams player of the week: Senior Kicker Luis Flores, who was able to put every kick-off into the end zone last week.

Coach’s comment:  “Valencia is always tough and physical, and last week was no different,” said Coach Myron Miller. “We played them tough in the first half and just made one or two mistakes defensively in the second half to allow them the momentum to win the game.

This week: Tustin hosts Pacifica Thursday night at 7. “It doesn’t get any easier this week with Pacifica on Thursday night,” Miller said.

CREAN LUTHERAN (4-3, 0-2) 

Last week: Pacifica 40, Crean Lutheran 13.

Offensive player of the week: Quarterback Michael Berelowitz, 51 passing yards, 31 receiving yards and one receiving TD.

Defensive player of the week: Tyler Buban 14 tackles.

Special teams player of the week: Nolan Folsom, 75 yard kick-off return for a touchdown.

Coach’s quote: “In our second week in the Empire League, we faced another very quality opponent,” said Coach Randall Reynoso. “We saw speed we haven’t seen all season and speed and size we cannot replicate at practice. For us, it’s all about finding something positive in every play and seeking improvement every week.”

This week: Crean Lutheran hosts Cypress Friday night at 7 at Portola. “Cypress has few weaknesses,” Randall said. “They have a very aggressive and capable front seven, a quality run and pass game, and they play hard for four quarters. For us, a victory is a better result than the previous two weeks.”


Last week: El Modena 37, Foothill 15.

Offensive player of the week: Roman Pistone, 170 yards rushing

Defensive player of the week: Dylan Ventress, 11 tackles

Coach’s quote:  “We played better but still didn’t capitalize on a couple key plays that could have changed the outcome,” said Coach Doug Case.

This week: Foothill opens league play Thursday vs. Esperanza at Yorba Linda. “Finally league play is here,” Case said. “We have a good match-up with Esperanza right out of the gate. With only three league games we cannot drop one or league champs is lost. Win two of three and you’re in the playoffs. It’s a critical fork in the road to get this season headed in the right direction and a step closer to making the third season. League champs and CIF playoffs are on the line.”

NORTHWOOD (5-1, 1-1)

Last week: Woodbridge 38, Northwood 0

Offensive player of the week: Luke Demaio.

Defensive player of the week: Xavier Cousar

Coach’s comment: “Woodbridge is a very good team and coached very well,” said Coach Pete Mitchell. “We have made big strides this year, but we have a long way to go.”

This week: Northwood hosts Portola Friday night at Irvine Stadium.


-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone