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Several up-and-coming quarterbacks will take the spotlight Saturday as Edison plays host to the Battle at the Beach passing tournament, annually one of Orange County’s top summer events for high school football.
Here are 10 storylines to follow:
Mission Viejo’s quarterback competition: Sophomore Luke Fahey and junior Draiden Trudeau-Cicero will split time at quarterback for the defending champion Diablos, Coach Chad Johnson said.
The duo also competed during Mission Viejo’s spring game in late May. They could continue to push each other at the Diablos’ South County passing tournament July 8.
Mission Viejo is seeking to replace Kadin Semonza, now at Ball State.
The Diablos will also showcase some new wide receivers. Look for sophomore Vance Spafford to team with Travis Anderson and Dijon Lee Jr., both top defensive backs, on offense.
Other targets to watch: sophomore Markus Kier and juniors Winslow Garnier and Cash Semonza.
Orange Lutheran bounce back: The Lancers, who are playing the tournament for the first time under third-year coach Rod Sherman, are aiming to progress after a quiet showing at the USC tournament.
Orange Lutheran lost to Mater Dei 33-0 last weekend.
The Lancers are led by junior TJ Lateef, one of the county’s top returning quarterbacks.
Orange Lutheran and Mission Viejo face off in Pool B at 10:30 a.m.
Edison’s emerging QB: Junior Savelio Niumata (6-4, 205) will be the main quarterback for Edison, which is looking to replace graduate Parker Awad.
Niumata’s top targets could be returner Mason York along with Jake Minter and Carson Daniels, Chargers coach Jeff Grady said.
Edison will look to build off its run to the semifinals at the Millikan tournament in May. The Chargers open against St. John Bosco at 9 a.m. in Pool A.
St. John Bosco’s new signal caller: The Braves, who won the Millikan tournament, will play four quarterbacks at the Battle at the Beach but expect senior Caleb Sanchez to start most of the games, Braves coach Jason Negro said.
Sanchez (6-4, 225) appears on track to replace Pierce Clarkson, now at Louisville.
The reigning CIF-SS Division 1 champion Braves will feature some new wide receivers and defensive backs, including Jason Mitchell. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior is a transfer from Serra of Gardena.
Mater Dei’s personnel watch: Mater Dei reached the semifinals at the USC tournament without playing several of its top wide receivers, including seniors Jack Ressler and Marcus Brown, and junior Marcus Harris. The Monarchs also didn’t feature senior cornerback Zabien Brown.
Mater Dei rolled last weekend before falling to eventual champion Warren in the semifinals. The run included a 35-6 win against Los Alamitos.
Interestingly, the Monarchs play Warren at 9:45 a.m. in their second game in Pool C.
Mater Dei is led by quarterback Elijah Brown, an Elite 11 finalist who recently committed to Stanford.
Corona del Mar’s new QB1: New starter Kaleb Annett looks to continue his strong offseason. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior is replacing David Rasor, now at UC Davis.
“Kaleb has made a huge jump,” first-year Corona del Mar coach Kevin Hettig said of Annett, who was offered by Boise State earlier this month. “He’s for real.”
Annett’s top targets are senior Russell Weir and sophomore Dorsett Stecker and junior tight end Zach Giuliano.
Los Alamitos’ next quarterback: Sierra Canyon transfer Alonzo Esparza is the Griffins’ new passer. The junior is replacing Malachi Nelson, now a freshman at USC.
The Griffins feature a few other newcomers, including transfer tight end Davon Mitchell, arguably Orange County’s top junior recruits.
Los Alamitos could be the team to beat in Pool D, which includes Santa Margarita, Capistrano Valley, Rancho Cucamonga and Cathedral Catholic.
Santa Margarita new passer: Servite transfer James Johnson will be the Eagles’ quarterback to watch on Saturday, Santa Margarita coach Anthony Rouzier said.
Santa Margarita is looking to replace Jaxon Potter, now at Washington State, and touted junior Bekkem Kritza, who recently transferred to Miami Central.
The Eagles open against familiar foe Los Alamitos at 9 a.m.
Who’s spinning it for Capistrano Valley: The Cougars are the sixth and final county team with a new quarterback in the tournament. Junior Tommy Acosta, who started a few games last season, is the passer to watch, Coach Sean Curtis said.
Acosta could be the replacement for Trey Kukuk, now at Saddleback College.
His top targets include Hudson Campbell, Brayden Saavedra and Ethan Jarvis.
The Cougars are coming off a 3-2 showing at the Villa Park tournament last weekend.
10. Sportsmanship watch: Player conduct continues to be a talking point when it comes to passing tournament but sportsmanship has been solid at Edison the past two years.
Please send football news to Dan Albano at [email protected] or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter