Two of high school football's most entertaining and successful coaches, 73-year-old Bill Redell of Oaks Christian and 65-year-old Bruce Rollinson of Santa Ana Mater Dei, warmly greeted each other on Saturday at the San Juan Hills passing tournament.
"What are the two of us still doing this for?" Rollinson said.
"I have no idea," Redell countered, "especially after I ran into two parents on the way down."
Both are elite coaches with programs that have maintained a high standard. Redell is back as head coach at Oaks Christian after leaving for two years, and let's just say based on his team's skill position players, the Lions' cupboard is hardly bare.
The big task for Oaks Christian is replacing Arizona-bound quarterback Brandon Dawkins. Holden Thomas, a 6-foot-4 junior, did a terrific job guiding the Lions to a pool-play win over Mater Dei. And he will have a collection of receivers that are outstanding. There's 6-4 Michael Pittman, a junior, 6-5 Michael Owuzu, a sophomore, and 6-6 Colby Parkinson, a sophomore. Jeremy Vincent is back to catch lots of passes, and there's plenty more after that, including 6-4 tight end Trevor Howard.
Scheduled to arrive on Monday is another quarterback candidate, freshman Matt Corral, a highly regarded youth player.
The strength for Mater Dei will be its front seven on offense and defense. The new quarterback, Jack Lowary, is a pro-style passer, so the Monarchs will need to protect him. He has an outstanding receiver in Ben Humphreys.
Lots of players were missing from Saturday's actitivies because of ACT testing and college trips. Westlake participated but quarterback Malik Henry was away taking unofficial college visits. He picked up a scholarship offer from Penn State.
Mater Dei ended up beating Oaks Christian in overtime in the championship game after losing earlier in the day to the Lions.
Next Saturday's big passing tournament is at Bellflower, where Long Beach Poly will get to show off its skills. Then comes the Saugus tournament on June 28.
Redell is enjoying his return to Oaks Christian. He's hired some top assistants, including Clay Matthews and Mike Sherrard. Former Oaks Christian quarterback Chris Potter is coaching receivers.
And his grandson is set to be a freshman this fall.