|Camarillo's Colby Stevens is one of a handful of underrated seniors on the undefeated Scorpions, who now face the meat of the schedule starting first with the Friday, Oct. 9, showdown against 5-1 St. Bonaventure (photo by Lorenzo Reyna).|
As we continue our series called “Gold Mine at the half,” it’s time to see what teams and prospects have stood out between the 805 to San Diego through the first few games.
One undefeated team in Santa Barbara County has been a pleasant surprise. Another Central Coast team has unleashed a scorpion invasion on the region’s top teams. Then there’s the traditional powerhouses in Los Angeles and Orange County that figure to be in the section and state championship mix come November.
Here’s what’s stood out at the half in Southern California:
SURPRISING HANDS ON DECK IN SANTA YNEZ
The last time Santa Ynez High School got off to a fast start, the Pirates had future UCLA offensive lineman Matt Mosebar and Michael Jackson roamed around the nearby Neverland Ranch.
At 6-0, the Pirates have been the feel good story of the 805. They’ve gone from 1-9 last year to a dark horse Los Padres League championship pick.
Helping power the Pirates’ turnaround is quarterback Tanner Shean, who has completed 74.2% of his throws with nine touchdown passes and no interceptions. The most dynamic athlete on the SY roster is Austin Vreeland.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Vreeland - who is an offspring from the popular Vreeland Ford Dealership household - has been all gas, no breaks with 993 total yards and 12 touchdowns.
The defense is led by rising junior Michael McCoy, who has a team-high three interceptions and four pass deflections.
CAMARILLO UNLEASHING 805 ONSLAUGHT
In years past, the chatter down in Ventura County always centered on how well St. Bonaventure, Westlake and Oaks Christian were doing…and how Camarillo football was overlooked.
But now, the 5-0 Scorpions have a vice grip on the 805 rankings – and eyeing a possible perfect regular season.
A balanced and college football fast offense has averaged 46 points per game with quarterback Jake Constantine dropping bombs, running back Isaiah Otis overpowering defenses and a deep core of wide receivers who have proven to be unguardable.
Defensively, the Scorps are just as fast like their offensive counterparts. Defensive end Bronson Smith sets the tone, while linebackers Brett Triebold, Brett Herron and safety Collin Kirksey are the wild ones getting unleashed on blitzes.
Here comes the fun part for the Scorps: a brutal second half schedule beginning first with St. Bonaventure on Friday, Oct. 9, followed by future meetings with Calabasas, Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks.
If Cam survives the second half of the season, you could be looking at the CIF Southern Section Northern Division’s No. 1 seeded team.
LOS ANGELES REGION
ROSEN WHO? ST. JOHN BOSCO DOING JUST FINE
Led by a dual-threat at quarterback in Quentin Davis, a future PAC-12 running back in Sean McGrew and a talented receiving core, St. John Bosco has moved along nicely from the illustrious Josh Rosen era; by starting 5-0 and earning a No. 3 ranking in the Max Preps state poll.
Davis has accounted for 1,507 yards, 14 touchdown passes and one interception. McGrew, who committed to Washington in May 2015, has 584 yards on 61 carries, giving him an average of 9.6 yards per carry. The trio of Devin Fleming, Kristian Gilbert and Jared Harrell have a combined 53 catches and 891 yards in the first five games.
Heavyweight battles loom in the next two Fridays for Bosco, beginning first with Rancho Santa Margarita on Oct. 9 and then the big one on Oct. 16 at Mater Dei of Santa Ana.
SMALL BACKS PLAYING HUGE AT ARLETA
Arleta High’s Isaiah Gable and Felix Vega both stand at 5-foot-5, but with the way they’re carrying undefeated Arleta, you can tell their hearts are as big as a Los Angeles skyscraper.
The pint sized backs have combined for 1,088 yards and 15 touchdowns for the 5-0 Mustangs, who are currently Max Preps’ No. 1 ranked team in the Los Angeles City Section Division I standings.
UNBEATEN MATER DEI LED BY 2019 STAR
It’s one thing to be the starting quarterback at traditional state power Mater Dei. But when you’re a freshman guiding Mater Dei to an undefeated run, colleges are going to have a blast making an early run at you.
That’s the case with J.T. Daniels, who is listed as a freshman but has 1,018 yards, 14 touchdowns and only one interception.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Daniels already has Miami and USC expressing early interest. He took over for the injured Matthew McDonald, who broke his left arm in the 35-14 victory over Tesoro on Sept. 5.
ANOTHER FRESHMAN LEADING I.E. POWERHOUSE
Daniels isn’t the only freshman quarterback on varsity who’s setting defenses on fire. So is Cajon (San Bernardino) frosh sensation Jayden Daniels.
Through five games, Daniels has thrown for 1,250 yards, 17 touchdowns and one pick for the undefeated Cowboys. The 5-foot-11, 160-pound quarterback also has two rushing touchdowns.
He’s led Cajon to four consecutive lopsided wins, with the Cowboys beating their last four teams by an average margin of 48.75 points.
STACKED CENTENNIAL EYEING STATE TITLE
One year ago, Centennial High was blasted in the CIF State Open Division title game 63-42 against De La Salle.
Now, the Huskies sit at the top of the Max Preps state rankings by unleashing an offensive stampede.
This year’s Huskies have pounded state powerhouses Serra of Gardena (52-13) and Orange Lutheran (35-14) en route to the unbeaten start. A balanced offense has been led by dual-threat quarterback Anthony Catalano (1,254 all-purpose yards, 15 touchdowns), Arizona commit J.J. Taylor at running back (620 yards, 12 touchdowns) and 4-star wideout Javon McKinley (15 catches, 416 yards and four scores).
SAN DIEGO REGION
EL CAMINO PROVING TO BE A BIG CAT
From 2007-14, El Camino (Oceanside) had trouble with getting past the eight win threshold.
But now, the 5-0 Wildcats are not only half way toward regular season perfection, but find themselves among three teams in the San Diego Section D-I standings that hold an undefeated record.
Sophomore Chris Brown has revved up the running game. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has 323 yards and three touchdowns; plus had his first 100-yard game of the season against San Pasqual, which was a 12 carry, 113-yard night.
John Armentrout should be in the conversation for top San Diego County player. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior has been EC’s most reliable weapon in all three sides of the field. Offensively, he’s tops in receiving with 20 catches, 295 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, he’s the Wildcats top aerial snatcher with five interceptions. Then on special teams, he has 192 yards on kick and punt returns.