Prep Rally: High school quarterbacks to watch this season

Twins Brady and Beau Smigiel of Newbury Park. Brady, a junior quarterback, committed to Florida State on Saturday.
(Craig Weston)
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Hi, and welcome to another edition of Prep Rally. My name is Eric Sondheimer. It’s summer time, which means football teams are beginning the preparation for 11-man openers the weekend of Aug. 23-24. Let’s start examining players to watch by position. This week: quarterbacks.

QBs in the spotlight

Corona Centennial quarterback Husan Longstreet.
Corona Centennial quarterback Husan Longstreet.
(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

A year ago, Husan Longstreet struggled in his early games after transferring to Corona Centennial. By season’s end, he had figured out coach Matt Logan’s offense, passing for 3,013 yards and 24 touchdowns. Imagine what the Texas A&M commit might do this season knowing the offense. It’s going to be fun watching his development.


Stanford commit Bear Bachmeier of Murrieta Valley is ready to be turned loose with his arm and legs. There’s high expectations for TJ Lateef of Orange Lutheran, a Nebraska commit who was injured last season. Wyatt Becker of Sierra Canyon, a Utah commit, has improved his speed and continues to throw the long ball well. Mission Viejo’s Luke Fahey is coming off a spectacular sophomore season, as is Brady Smigiel of Newbury Park. Smigiel committed to Florida State on Saturday.

Leo Hannan of Servite is committed to Michigan State. Jackson Kollock of Laguna Beach is committed to Minnesota. Madden Iamaleava of Warren is committed to UCLA. All should have big seasons with good receivers supporting them. Rising sophomore Ryan Rakowski of Palos Verdes led his team to a 10-1 record as a freshman. Oscar Rios of Downey is gaining attention as a junior and committed to Purdue. Steele Pizzella of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame ran a 10.64 100 meters, making him the fastest quarterback in Southern California. He committed to Washington State last week.

Junior Jaden O’Neal has transferred to Narbonne, where he should be the No. 1 quarterback in the City Section. He committed to Oklahoma on Monday. Dash Beierly, a Washington commit, is the heir apparent at Mater Dei. Jarrett Nielsen of Long Beach Jordan is coming off a junior season in which he passed for 3,411 yards and 29 touchdowns. Wyatt Brown of Santa Monica is finally healthy and ready to show off his strong arm after 31 touchdown passes with one interception as a sophomore. John Sanders of St. Francis is one of the most versatile quarterbacks with his arm and legs.

Brady Edmunds of Huntington Beach is coming off a productive freshman year. Timmy Herr of San Juan Hills passed for 2,434 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore. Junior Corin Berry of Charter Oak has committed to Boston College. JP Mialovski of Long Beach Millikan is committed to San Diego State. Tommy Acosta is returning All-CIF quarterback for Capistrano Valley. John Gazzaniga of Santa Margarita is 6 feet 7 and came on strong last season.

Wall of dreams

High school basketball jerseys from every team in California (1,544 and counting) are being displayed at the Intuit Dome.
High school basketball jerseys from every team in California _ 1,544 and counting _ are being displayed on walls at the $1.8 billion Intuit Dome that opens in August.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The Intuit Dome is set to open in August, and one of the must-see areas will be eight walls filled with high school basketball jerseys from teams from across California.


As of last week, 1,544 had been donated to the Clippers. They are being put in glass frames and mounted on the walls.

Here’s a report on the exhibit.

Girls basketball

Get ready for the era of Etiwanda girls basketball. As a two-time defending state champion, the Eagles are showing no signs of becoming beatable any time soon. They won the Section 7 championship in Arizona in dominating fashion. The addition of 6-foot-6 freshman Sydney Douglas only adds to a talent-laden lineup that will probably make all the rest of the teams in California try for second place next season.

Sage Hill, boasted by transfer students, won the Cali Live competition at the highest division, defeating Brentwood in the final. Both teams will have to deal with Etiwanda in the Southern Section Open Division playoffs next season.

With new computer rankings set for basketball next season, the competition will be fierce to avoid the Open Division.


Boys basketball

The Section 7 tournament in Arizona showed that the top two teams in Southern California from last season, Harvard-Westlake and Roosevelt, will be competing for No. 1 again. There are others hoping to provide competition, such as St. John Bosco, St. Pius X-St. Matthias, Mater Dei and Windward.

Summer ball also tells us where some of the transfers have shown up. Grayson Sinek form La Habra was playing for JSerra. AJ Johnson from Pacifica Christian and Brandon Benjamin from Mater Dei were playing for Anaheim Canyon. Joseph Sterling left Crespi for Harvard-Westlake. McKel Shedrick is playing for Rancho Cucamonga after being at Hillcrest.

Players helping themselves in Arizona included Benjamin and Angelino Mark from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (USC offered). Benjamin used to play for Canyon and helped his team reach the divisional championship before losing to Crespi in the final. He had 26 points in the final. Payton White led Crespi with 28 points.

Rolling Hills Prep won the Maranatha tournament championship, defeating Campbell Hall in the final. And Rolling Hills Prep made its division of the Section 7 tournament, defeating Campbell Hall again in the final. Kawika Suter scored 28 points. St. Anthony and St. Pius X-St. Matthias also won divisions.

Boys Cali Live is scheduled for this weekend in Roseville.

Fairfax won its own tournament championship, beating Bishop Alemany in the final. OJ Blankson, a transfer from Burbank, scored 28 points.


Gardena Serra is looking good at the skill-position areas after winning the Colony tournament seven on seven competition. Quarterback Jimmy Butler has lots of weapons, including CJ Mcbean. The Cavaliers have added the Robinson brothers, Jadyn and Skylar, increasing their depth at receiver and defensive back.

Serra will be competing in the St. John Bosco tournament on June 29.

There are tournaments on Saturday at Mission Viejo, Redondo Union and Simi Valley, among others.


Former Windward coach Hasan Muhammad is the new head coach at Beverly Hills.

Chaminade quarterback Seth Shigg has transferred to Culver City. He’s also an outstanding 400-meter runner.

Oak Hills won the Big Man competition at an 11-on-11 tournament in Temecula sponsored by the Rams. Temecula Valley won the passing tournament. Santa Monica won the Troy tournament. Mater Dei finished unbeaten at the Chargers tournament. San Juan Hills won the Cal Poly tournament. El Camino Real won its own tournament.

The 2024 season has two huge openers on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23 that will provide a sneak peek of the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. Corona Centennial vs. Mater Dei at Santa Ana Stadium on Aug. 22 and Orange Lutheran at Gardena Serra on Aug. 23.

Quarterback Cole Leinart has transferred from Newport Harbor to Redondo Union.
(Craig Weston)

Junior quarterback Cole Leinart has left Newport Harbor for Redondo Union.

Former Burbank coach Adam Colman has joined the staff at Buena as an assistant coach.

Westlake first-year football coach Jesse Craven said Sunday he has resigned. He was hired from Burbank Burroughs last December. Craven said he decided to step down after differences with the administration. He follows Jim Benkert, Tony Henney, Tim Kirksey and Mark Serve in what has become a revolving door of coaches since Benkert left after the 2014 season and was there for 26 seasons.


Former Taft football coach Fred Emmerson is the new coach at Savanna High in Anaheim. . . .


Former Palisades setter Miles Partain is headed to the Paris Olympic Games to represent the U.S. in beach volleyball. . . .

Richard Russell has been named softball coach at El Camino Real. He’s the athletic director and former JV softball coach. . . .

Infielder Cole Clark from Huntington Beach has committed to UC Irvine. . . .

Infielder Diego Gonzalez of El Dorado has committed to San Diego. . . .

Receiver AJ Jones of Vista Murrieta has committed to Boise State. . . .

Receiver Sean Embree of Santa Margarita has committed to Washington State. . . .

Defensive back Logan Christensen of JSerra has committed to UNLV. . . .

Receiver Noah Westbrook of Corona Centennial has committed to Washington State. . . .

Offensive lineman Drew Nichols of Murrieta Valley has committed to Michigan State. . . .

Linebacker Jake Silverman of Torrance has committed to Nevada. . . .

Dylan Hull is the new wrestling coach at Agoura. . . .

St. John Bosco’s basketball team is taking a trip to China in August and will play some exhibition games. . . .

Chris Nwuli, a 6-foot-7 senior, has transferred to Sierra Canyon. He played last season at Wasatch Academy in Utah. . . .

Orangewood Academy has decided not to have any sports teams for the 2024-25 season. . . .

Standout guard Elzie Harrington of St. John Bosco has committed to Harvard. This past season, Harvard-Westlake guard Robert Hinton committed to Harvard. The SoCal connection. . . .

Former UCLA assistant TJ Bruce is returning to Southern California to become baseball coach at Long Beach State. He was head coach at Nevada and an assistant at TCU. . . .


Derrick Taylor is the new basketball coach at Gardena Serra. He didn’t coach last season after his departure from Taft, where he has won four City titles. It’s his second experience coaching at a private school. He was once head coach at St. John Bosco. “Serra has always been on my short list of dream jobs,” he said. “I am very lucky to have been selected to lead a legendary program.”. . .

Former Channel Islands star Jeremiah Valoaga is the new football coach at his alma mater. . . .

Damien JV coach Troy Beverly is the new basketball coach at Baldwin Park. Steve Swanger is the new girls coach. . . .

Former Riverside Arlington soccer player Javier Hernandez was chosen the Gatorade state player of the year. . . .

Infielder Toby Lite from Saugus has committed to The Master’s. . . .

Former El Camino Real football coach Skip Giancanelli has died. He was 95. . . .

The Dodd brothers, Ryder and Chase, have made the U.S. Olympic water polo team. Here’s the report.

Jesse Mendez is the new softball coach at South Hills. . . .

Jeremy Barnes is returning for a second stint as softball coach at Edison. . . .

Sophomore point guard Hunter Caplan has left Brentwood and transferred to Crean Lutheran, which lost Kaiden Bailey to Calvary Chapel. . . .

The Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame will be holding its latest induction ceremony on Sunday at the Skirball Center. High school athletes of the year to be honored are Shane Rosenthal from Newbury Park and Yalee Schwartz from Shalhevet. Jake Lancer from Harvard-Westlake is the Allan Malamud Journalism Award winner.

From the archives: Hunter Greene

Hunter Greene, right, a pitcher and shortstop from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Hunter Greene, right, a pitcher and shortstop from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., talks to commissioner Rob Manfred after being selected No. 2 by the Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft in 2017.

(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Former Sherman Oaks Notre Dame pitcher Hunter Greene has settled into his role as starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds while throwing 100-mph fastballs.


Greene was the No. 2 pick overall in the 2017 amateur draft. He’s 5-2 with a 3.35 ERA this season. He remains very involved in giving back, helping support communities in Ohio and at Notre Dame, where he awards yearly scholarships.

Here’s a story from 2017 on Greene’s rise as a baseball prospect.


From, an evaluation of Harvard-Westlake grad Bryce Rainer.

From, a story on the rising costs of youth sports.

From the Los Angeles Times on Marcedes Lewis agreeing to a 19th season playing in the NFL.

Tweets you might have missed


Until next time...

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