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1827 posts
  • Football
Junior Mykael Wright of Valencia.
Junior Mykael Wright of Valencia. (Eric Sondheimer)

Considering how much passing is taking place at the high school, college and professional level, it came as no surprise that a record number of defensive backs were taken in this year's NFL draft. There were 32 corners and 24 safeties selected.

That makes it good timing for Southern California to have lots of quality defensive backs this season and showcase what I believe is the most depth of any position.

Let's start with the St. John Bosco trio of Jaiden Woodbey (Ohio State), Stephan Blaylock (UCLA) and junior Chris Steele, who's wanted by everybody. The Braves are so strong in the secondary that several backups, like junior Jake Bailey, have scholarship offers.

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Nicholas Barr-Mira, the junior kicker from Loyola and younger brother of former Loyola and UCLA standout Anthony Barr.
Nicholas Barr-Mira, the junior kicker from Loyola and younger brother of former Loyola and UCLA standout Anthony Barr. (Eric Sondheimer)

All-Pro linebacker Anthony Barr of the Minnesota Vikings knows he's not No. 1 in his family when it comes to kicking.

That ranking belongs to his younger brother, Nicholas Barr-Mira, a junior at Loyola.

He kicked field goals from 37, 42, 47 and 52 yards on Saturday during an intrasquad scrimmage.

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Merlin Robertson of Gardena Serra
Merlin Robertson of Gardena Serra (Eric Sondheimer)

For those who enjoy watching linebackers this season, the Narbonne-Gardena Serra season opener on Aug. 25 at Narbonne will be linebacker heaven.

Narbonne All-City linebackers Raymond Scott, Darien Butler and Julian Lewis will get to match skills against Serra linebacker standouts Merlin Robertson, Justin Houston, Justin Patterson and Taelenuu Tua'au.

Spectators should pay particular attention to Jack Lamb of Great Oak. He's committed to Notre Dame.

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Jermar Jefferson of Narbonne scores a touchdown in a scrimmage on Friday.
Jermar Jefferson of Narbonne scores a touchdown in a scrimmage on Friday. (Eric Sondheimer)

Narbonne's green vs. gold intrasquad scrimmage always produces some highlights, because the players and coaches are very competitive. Head coach Manuel Douglas picks his team, and assistant Brandon Manumaleuna picks his players.

On Friday night, Douglas let his team wear new Nike green uniforms with white helmets. The gold team players weren't too happy.

But the scrimmage was an opportunity for Narbonne fans to get their first glimpse at some new players. Two stood out.

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If you're a Carson football fan, you might need a little patience this season. The team has 17 transfers, according to the City Section, and most are part of the sit-out period, meaning they won't be eligible until Oct. 1.

That means they will miss five games. Also, several players who transferred from Banning might not be able to play for the Narbonne game on Oct. 6. The City Section is looking at film from last year's Banning-El Camino Real playoff game, and those Banning players who left the bench during a brawl have to sit out one additional game this season.

The best transfer is All-City defensive back Sultan Moala from Banning. Right now, he's not eligible until Oct. 1. Several cousins also joined him in transferring from Banning.

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Norco senior Dalton Shepard is honored at a bull-riding competition.
Norco senior Dalton Shepard is honored at a bull-riding competition. (Facebook.com / amanda.r.sutton.)

Classes began this week at Norco High, where senior Dalton Shepard is the school's real-life cowboy.

He just got back from a bull-riding competition that he won in Utah.

As the announcer says on the Facebook video: "Shoot No. 2 on a bull called Knockout. He slides up on 1,800 pounds of fury."

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Loyola manager Gabriel Danaj and his drone that he uses to film practices.
Loyola manager Gabriel Danaj and his drone that he uses to film practices. (Eric Sondheimer)

It's the hottest new toy in high school football: drones flying above practice fields filming practices.

And it's usually the football manager doing the flying. Coaches are turning over their expensive drones to student managers.

It's only a matter of time before someone has a drone football manager competition to see who can be the next F-16 pilot using remote control.

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Defensive end Tim Mosley of Dorsey.
Defensive end Tim Mosley of Dorsey. (Eric Sondheimer)

With the increase in passing, defensive linemen and defensive ends have more opportunities to sack quarterbacks, and everybody better be on alert this season because there's plenty of talent among the sackers.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, a junior defensive end, left Dorsey for Oaks Christian after recording 14 sacks last season. Dorsey isn't hurting because it still has Tim Mosley, an A student with a terrific motor who will have the freedom to go all out against quarterbacks.

Sal Spina is back at St. John Bosco after suffering a torn ACL last October. He should be healthy and better than ever.

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Dorsey players at practice Thursday.
Dorsey players at practice Thursday. (Eric Sondheimer)

This is the season Narbonne could finally have a strong challenger in the City Section.

Dorsey was a heavy underdog last season when it lost to the Gauchos in the Division I final, 42-34. This season, the Dons have begun practicing with every intention to win a rematch.

Of course, it's going to take lots of work for the Dons to reach the final, and coach Charles Mincy has begun the process of teaching and waiting to see if the players respond to the responsibilities ahead.

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The Korey Stringer Institute has ranked states on preventing and managing the leading causes of sudden death in high school athletics, and California ranks No. 50 out of 51 in the safety policy rankings.

The National Federation of State High School Assns. and individual state organizations are objecting to the rankings.

Here's a statement from CIF Executive Director Roger Blake: "Minimizing risk and reducing injuries of California’s student-athletes is paramount, not only to the CIF, but to our 1,587-member high schools and to our 70,000 coaches in California. The Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) has chosen to shine a light on certain areas, but it has left others in the dark. Thus, the information provided presented an inaccurate and incomplete assessment of what is occurring throughout California.