Prep football preview: Big men up front are key to successful offense

Mater Dei's BJ Tolo (62) gestures during Southern Section Division 1 championship final against Servite.
(Kyusung Gong)

If you want to know a major reason for Santa Ana Mater Dei winning 17 consecutive games over the last two seasons, look no further than the offensive line. The Monarchs are known for producing big, powerful and effective blockers, and this year’s group should be no different.

You have to begin with four-year starter BJ Tolo, who moved to center and hasn’t missed a beat. DeAndre Carter is a 340-pound senior with strength and toughness.

USC has recruited Tobias Raymond from Ventura. He’s 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds. Raymond Pulido of Apple Valley was at St. John Bosco during the spring but has returned to his old school and will be playing guard at 350 pounds. He’s getting recruited by UCLA, Alabama and Oregon.


Raymond Pulido, a 6-foot-7, 350-pound offensive guard, is back for his senior year at Apple Valley.
(Apple Valley Booster Club)

St. John Bosco has Sean Na’a, 6-4 and 275 pounds, and Sean Haney, 6-2 and 280 pounds. Nathan Gates of Edison has been a standout blocker in the Sunset League. Tyson Ruffins of Long Beach Poly is a 300-pounder with a great work ethic. Elishah Jacket of El Modena has committed to Washington.

St. Francis has two future NCAA Division 1 blockers in senior Rachin Delgatty and junior Phillip Ocon. Jason Steele of Murrieta Valley and junior Justin Tauanuu of Huntington Beach will be key players for their respective teams.

Luke Baklenko of Oaks Christian is a 6-6, 300-pound senior committed to Stanford.

Junior offensive tackle Aitor Urionabarrenechea has moved from Bishop Alemany to Chaminade and joins a veteran offensive line that will cause trouble in the Mission League.

Senior center David Tuliau of JSerra was all-Trinity League last season.