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Top Orange County storylines to follow at the Battle at the Beach passing tournament at Edison on Saturday:
Will Mater Dei stay hot this summer and capture a second straight 7-on-7 tournament?
The Monarchs won the Brave 8 Invitational at St. John Bosco last weekend, defeating Carlsbad 21-14 in the final.
One key development for the reigning CIF State champion was the emergence of freshman slot receiver Jonah Smith as a prime target for quarterback Elijah Brown.
Mater Dei’s wide receiver corps is looking to find its identity after graduating CJ Williams (USC) and Cooper Barkate (Harvard). Junior Jack Ressler and senior Jordan Onovughe are other receivers to watch as the Monarchs compete in Pool C with Norco, Bishop Amat, Corona del Mar and North Kitsap of Washington.
The status of Ressler will be worthy of a check-in. He didn’t play last weekend.
Can anyone slow down Los Alamitos’ offense and Malachi Nelson?
The USC committed senior quarterback led the Griffins past Mater Dei for the title at the inaugural Trojan Classic in late June at USC.
Los Alamitos didn’t play at the Brave 8 last weekend but open against St. John Bosco in a 9 a.m. pool play game. That clash and the Mission Viejo-Long Beach Poly game are the top openers at 9.
Nelson, an Elite 11 finalist, could be difficult to stop with targets such as Makai Lemon, a fellow USC commit, Gavin Porch and Kassius Ashtiani.
Ashtiani, an emerging slot receiver who transferred from Mater Dei, shined against his former school in the USC finale.
How will Edison’s new-look receiving corps look?
Edison returns steady, senior quarterback Parker Awad but graduated standout wide receivers Nico Brown and Tyler Hampton.
So who will Awad target as the Chargers navigate Pool A with Cathedral Catholic, Santa Margarita, JSerra and Chaparral?
Look for contributions at wide receiver from seniors Ashton Hurley, Tucker Tripp, Jackson Irwin and junior Mason York.
Will Santa Margarita showcase recent Michigan commit Collins Acheampong?
Acheampong, a 6-foot-7, 254-pound senior transfer from Fairmont Prep, committed to Michigan on Friday and is expected be at the Battle at the Beach.
He is a defensive end/tight end with a remarkable football journey. He hasn’t played football since his freshman year at Fairmont Prep, Santa Margarita coach Anthony Rouzier said.
Rouzier plays “some” tight end.
The Eagles, led by senior quarterback Jaxon Potter, won the tournament for the first time last summer.
How will Servite’s revamped offense perform?
No offense at the Battle at the Beach tournament is retooling more than the Friars, who sent their prolific duo of Noah Fifita and Tetairoa McMillan to Arizona.
Servite has shown promise this summer, losing to Mater Dei 23-7 in the semifinals of the Brave 8 and surprising the Monarchs at the Millikan tournament.
Friars coach Troy Thomas said his squad will feature Julian Puche and Mater Dei transfer James Johnson at quarterback and target players such as running back Quaid Carr and wide receiver Ethan Scaffidi and Quinn Rosenkranz.
The quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m. with the final scheduled for 3 p.m.
Please send football news to Dan Albano at [email protected] or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter