At full strength, Santa Ana Mater Dei thrives in passing competition

VIDEO | 00:52
Stars come out to shine at summer passing tournaments

Top high school football players from around the Southland show off their skills.


Domani Jackson is an athletic freak, and everyone knows it. He ran the fastest 100 meters in state history last month at 10.25 seconds. As a cornerback, he’s so strong that when he tapped a Westlake Village Oaks Christian receiver on the shoulder Saturday during a seven-on-seven passing tournament at Bellflower St. John Bosco, it sounded almost like a swat with a paddle.

Having Jackson back on the football field after his brief focus on track and field makes a huge difference for the Monarchs’ secondary.

Ditto for the impact of receiver CJ Williams, who had been on summer recruiting visits. With Mater Dei at full strength, a strong, eight-team field had little chance against the Monarchs, who went 6-0. They took home the championship, beating Corona Centennial in the final.

If only teams could have made coach Bruce Rollinson have to cover a player or two. Rollinson’s left foot was in a walking boot after he injured it stepping into a hole at another passing tournament. About the only surprise was Oaks Christian upsetting St. John Bosco in a playoff opener behind quarterback Cole Tennenbaum.

Saturday was the busiest day so far in the July passing circuit, with Mission Viejo, La Verne Bonita and Culver City also hosting competitions.

Two quarterback stars were junior Malachi Nelson of Los Alamitos and senior Noah Fifita of Anaheim Servite. Fifita was missing his standout receiver, Tetairoa McMillan, who had a family commitment, but Michael Welsh was making plenty of tough catches. Nelson kept showing off one of the strongest arms anywhere. He’s even better than he was in the spring, when he guided the Griffins to a 6-0 record.

Also impressive was tight end Niko Lopez of Santa Margarita. For the second consecutive week, he was making tough catches. The semifinalists at Mission Viejo were Servite, Mission Viejo, Los Alamitos and La Puente Bishop Amat. Mission Viejo showed off an impressive passing combination of quarterback Kadin Semonza to receivers Mikey Matthews and Jackson Holman.

In the championship game, Los Alamitos defeated Mission Viejo.

In the Culver City tournament, San Diego Lincoln defeated Inglewood in the championship game.

In the Bonita tournament, Bonita and Valencia made it to the gold championship game and finished tied after regulation. San Jose State quarterback commit Tyler Voss led Valencia.