Orange County public school football teams are ready for season to begin

Tesoro coach Matt Poston took part in a videoconference on Monday among six Orange County teams.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)
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Cal-bound receiver Mavin Anderson of Mission Viejo High was asked on Monday during a video call promoting public school football teams from Orange County how he would describe the excitement of getting to play later this month.

His response: “Let’s go.”

Athletes and coaches from Mission Viejo, La Habra, Tesoro, San Clemente, San Juan Hills and Capistrano Valley made it clear that obstacles and challenges from the past 11 months and whatever issues there will be in the future don’t matter. They are focused on finally getting a twice-delayed football season under way this month.

“All these kids stuck it out,” La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta said of his senior class. “These guys were here without having that promise of playing. They showed up and worked hard.”

Among La Habra players Mazzotta is ready to unleash is receiver Brandon Vasquez, who had 71 receptions last season. “He’s electric with the ball,” Mazzotta said. “We’re not hiding anything. Everyone knows what we’re going to do.”

Mission Viejo coach Chad Johnson is on baby watch. His wife Megan is supposed to deliver her third child by March 13, the day after Mission Viejo opens the season against La Habra.


“I’m really hoping it happens and comes before the day March 13,” Johnson said. “If coach Mazzotta sees me sprinting out of the stadium on March 12, everyone will know what’s going on. We thought we had it planned out correctly and what do you know — COVID came.”

Mission Viejo has been able to keep two of its best seniors, Anderson and Oregon State-bound linebacker Easton Mascarenas. Both said their future colleges supported them deciding to play this month.

“It was easy,” Mascarenas said. “If we had a season, it was full go. I get to go out and play with my brothers again.”

Mascarenas has been playing football with several Mission Viejo teammates since they were 5 or 6.

San Juan Hills will benefit by the return of three-year starting quarterback Hudson Jones, who said he has gained 20 pounds and gotten faster and stronger. “I’m planning to run the ball a lot more,” Jones said. “This year I want to be that dude. I want to prove to everyone I can be a dual threat.”

Jones said his family almost moved to Arizona when there was uncertainty last fall whether there would be a football season in California. “Me and my family were praying,” he said.


San Clemente has become the school for outstanding tight ends, and the Tritons have another good one in Bentley Redden. “Honestly, there’s no other place to be than San Clemente,” said Redden, who also might be the best surfer on the football team.

Capistrano Valley is building its offense around veteran quarterback Dartanyon Moussiaux, a 6-foot-4 senior whose experience and poise should be critical. The Cougars, though, lost two players to baseball.

Anyone who has been to a Tesoro home football game has a story to tell about trying to get out of a traffic-filled parking lot after a game. With spectators limited to family members, the traffic jam could be missing for a while.

“We’re thrilled to be able to play,” Titans coach Matt Poston said. “These kids have been working so long and so hard.”