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High School Sports

When it comes to defending quarterbacks, the best that Trinity League coaches can do is pray

Re-al Mitchell and Matt Robinson are among the top Trinity League quarterbacks this season.

This is the week defensive coordinators from the six schools in the Trinity League begin to toss and turn at night and wake up sweating and muttering to themselves, “No!”

There are going to be some nightmare scenarios over the next five weeks as coaches try to figure out how to deal with six quarterbacks who have the talent to be disruptors and difference makers.

“I think it’s probably the most elite group of quarterbacks in the country,” Bellflower St. John Bosco Coach Jason Negro said. “We have six guys who are Division I-caliber, recruitable athletes. It’s really impressive.”

Let’s review the challenge ahead for Trinity League defenses:

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There’s sophomore J.T. Daniels of Santa Ana Mater Dei. All he has done in five games for the unbeaten Monarchs is complete 80% of his passes for 1,925 yards and 28 touchdowns while usually playing a little more than half the game. He also has a 4.3 grade-point average.

There’s junior Re-al Mitchell of St. John Bosco. He might be the fastest quarterback in Southern California. He has a 98-yard touchdown run this season. He’s coming off his best passing performance, having completed 19 of 23 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns against Stockton St. Mary’s.

There’s junior Matt Robinson of San Juan Capistrano JSerra. A first-team All-Trinity League selection as a sophomore, his ability to run, pass and lead makes the Lions a rising team. In his last game, he caught two touchdowns on trick plays.

There’s senior Tyler Lytle of Anaheim Servite. At 6 feet 4, 200 pounds, the Colorado commit has passed for 1,151 yards and five touchdowns. Give him time and he’ll pick apart a secondary.

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There’s senior Richard Wagner of Santa Margarita. He has completed 70% of his passes for 955 yards and five touchdowns while leading the Eagles to a four-game winning streak.

There’s sophomore Ryan Hilinski of Orange Lutheran. The JSerra transfer has passed for 811 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s the younger brother of college quarterbacks Kelly and Tyler Hilinski. Orange Lutheran switched from an option attack to more spread formations to fit Hilinski’s talents.

As a group, the six quarterbacks will offer quite a variety of challenges each week.

“I would say you would have to go long and far to find a better group,” Orange Lutheran Coach Chuck Petersen said. “It’s not any fun being a defensive coach. What’s remarkable is the schemes. JT Daniels is doing things often at Mater Dei different than Mitchell is. That, to me, is the most difficult thing to do every week. You have to defend an entire different scheme.”

Said JSerra Coach Jim Hartigan: “Everybody’s got their guy and everyone is different in their ways. It’s going to make for exciting offense in the league.”

Certainly the most anticipated league game ahead has Mater Dei playing St. John Bosco on Oct. 21 at Cerritos College. Friday’s opening schedule has JSerra playing Orange Lutheran at Orange Coast College; Mater Dei taking on Santa Margarita at Santa Ana Stadium, and St. John Bosco facing Servite at Cerritos College.

If you happen to run into a defensive coordinator  with dark circles under his eyes, you’ll know why.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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Twitter: @latsondheimer


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