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Orange League football preview: What to expect this season

The top players and season outlook for the teams in the Orange League:

ORANGE LEAGUE

ANAHEIM

Top players: Arjae Allen, RB, Sr.; Sotero Galeana, LB, Sr.; Adam Herrera, LB, Sr.; Diego Meza, QB, LB, Sr.

What to expect: Anaheim had an outstanding season in 2021 and reached the CIF-SS Division 13 semifinals. The Colonists graduated a 1,000-yard rusher with 19 touchdowns but senior running back Arjae Allen is expected to pick up the slack. Allen was named the No. 10 running back in the county by the Register and the No. 148 player on the Hot 150. The defense is led by senior linebackers Sotero Galeana and Adam Herrera. Anaheim lost a lot of skill players from last year’s team, but if Allen has the season he is capable of, the Colonists will be in the mix for second place in this league again.

Editor’s note: Century team preview will be added later.

MAGNOLIA

Top players: Sean Thompson, WR/DB, Sr.; Andres Mollo, WR/DB, Sr.; Jesse Lopez, WR/DB, Sr.; Abraham Rodriguez, OL/DL, Sr.; Ulises Velez, WR/DB, Sr.

What to expect: Magnolia made the playoffs last season with some controversy. The Sentinels won a coin flip over Savanna despite having the game between the two teams canceled due to a Magnolia player testing positive for COVID. Magnolia is loaded with athletes who will play receiver and in the secondary. Sean Thompson is a player the coaching staff is high on and Andres Mollo and Jesse Lopez are back as well. Abraham Rodriguez is a lengthy tackle and defensive end at 6-foot-2. Magnolia had some impressive wins last season and should compete for a playoff spot.

SANTA ANA VALLEY

Top players: Mario Trujillo, RB, Sr.; Kevin Andrade, WR, Sr.; Bruce Sanchez, TE, Jr.; Luis Salgado, LB, Sr.; Bryan Solis, DB, Jr.; Luis Villanueva, DB, Sr.

What to expect: Santa Ana Valley really struggled last season, particularly on defense. The Falcons allowed 33 points per game while scoring only 13. Bryan Solis and Luis Villanueva are back in the secondary and may help slow down opposing passing games. Luis Salgado is a solid linebacker with some size who could rack up big tackling numbers. Mario Trujillo is the team’s best offensive player and will be tasked with getting the lion’s share of touches for the Falcons. Santa Ana Valley plays a challenging nonleague schedule and is likely to struggle again this year.

SAVANNA

Top players: Noah Ramirez, QB, Sr.; Bryce Machado, RB/LB, Sr.; Alex Teran, WR/DB, Sr.; Jake Dorsi, LB, Soph.; Brian Uriosegui, RB, Sr.

What to expect: Savanna had a roller-coaster season in 2021 and feels that it unjustly missed the playoffs due to a game being ruled a no contest instead of a forfeit. The disappointment of last season has fueled the Savanna players and coach Mike Willey says the team has worked hard to improve this offseason on and off the field. Noah Ramirez is back at quarterback for the Rebels and is one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Brian Uriosegui is back at running back and will share carries with Bryce Machado. The defense is young and Jake Dorsi is a sophomore linebacker the coaches are high on. Savanna will compete with Magnolia and Anaheim for a second-place finish in the Orange League.

Western’s Anthony Luna throws a pass during a nonleague game against Chino at Western in Anaheim on Thursday, August 19, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

WESTERN

Top players: Drew Faulkner, WR/DB, Sr.; Anthony Luna, QB, Jr.; Ayden Ware, TE/LB, Sr.; Daylon Brim, DB/WR, Sr.; Josh Faulkner, DB/RB, Jr.; Josh Atonio, OL/DL, Sr.

What to expect: Once again, Western is leaps and bounds better than the other teams in the Orange League. The Pioneers outscored their league opponents 261-10 last season and haven’t lost a league game since joining the league in 2020. Brothers Drew and Josh Faulkner are standouts and had great offseasons competing for the OC Elite passing team. Drew was named the No. 3 defensive back in the county by the Register and has offers from Arizona and Arizona State among others. Anthony Luna is back at quarterback after throwing 34 touchdown passes last season. Josh Atonio and Deijion Wheeler are senior linemen that coach Dan Davidson is high on. Western also has talented sophomores in Malachi Alatorre and Desmin Joshway-Fairley.

 

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