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Mater Dei center Bol Bol blocks a shot by Chino Hills' LiAngelo Ball on Feb. 24. Bol transferred to California from Kansas.
Mater Dei center Bol Bol blocks a shot by Chino Hills' LiAngelo Ball on Feb. 24. Bol transferred to California from Kansas. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

If you've noticed that sports transfers seem to be increasing in California, you're not dreaming.

A record 16,595 students switched schools for the 2016-17 high school sports season, according to statistics compiled by the California Interscholastic Federation.

That's an increase from 15,882 in 2015-16 and 15,886 in 2014-15. The Southern Section had the most transfers of the 10 sections at 6,999, up from 6,876 in 2015-16.

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New book from Mike Maio and Bill Redell
New book from Mike Maio and Bill Redell (American Football Monthly)

Retired football coaches Bill Redell and Mike Maio have put out a new e-book entitled, "You can build a championship culture. Coaches complete guide to everything off the field."

It's available at American Football Monthly.

Redell was the highly successful football coach at Oaks Christian, Crespi and St. Francis. He's in the College Football Hall of Fame. Maio was head coach at El Camino Real, served as an assistant under Redell at Oaks Christian and also was baseball coach at El Camino Real.

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The National Federation of State High School Assns. released its annual sports survey Monday with the headline, "High school sports participation increases for the 28th straight year, nears 8 million mark."

Buried in the news release, however, was the fact that 25,901 fewer students played 11-player football in 2016-17. The overall drop was 25,503. That continues with a trend from a decline in youth football participation. The overall participation is 1,086,748 students playing football, No. 1 among all sports.

"While we are concerned when any sport experiences a decline in participation, the numbers do not substantiate that schools are dropping the sport of football," according to Bob Gardner, federation executive director, in a comment from the news release.

  • Football

Whether it's because of the increased reliance on passing or just a current talent streak going on, the number of quality receivers from Southern California is steady. This season will be no different.

The list starts with Amon-ra St. Brown from Santa Ana Mater Dei. And he needs to never let up because he has so many teammates challenging him for No. 1, such as Cal commit Nikko Remigio and UCLA commit CJ Parks. The Monarchs' collection of receivers is probably No. 1 in California, if not the nation. Mater Dei also has Bru McCoy and tight end Michael Martinez.

Calabasas has two top underclassmen in sophomore Johnny Wilson and junior Mycah Pittman. Gardena Serra is loaded with Kobe Smith and John Jackson. Long Beach Poly has Jalen Hall. Paraclete has Andre Hunt, a USC commit. Washington has commitments from Marquis Spiker (Murrieta Valley) and Austin Osborne (Mission Viejo).

  • Baseball

Kai Caranto from Santa Clarita helped the USA Baseball 12U national team win the gold medal on Sunday at the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup in Taiwan.

USA defeated Taiwan, 7-2, in the championship game. Caranto hit a three-run home run and also pitched in relief.

Also on the team was Daniel Arambula from Redlands; Owen Egan from Yucaipa; Gavin Grahovac from Orange; Gregory Pierantoni from Valencia; Bryce Rainer from Simi Valley; Benjamin Reiland from Irvine, and Raffaele Velasquez from Long Beach, who also homered Sunday.

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  • Football

It's time to begin looking at the top prep football players for the 2017 season leading up to The Times' nine-part series that debuts on Aug. 16.

Let's start with quarterbacks. There are many. And they have become so versatile that lots have replaced running backs as a team's key ball-carrier, besides passing.

The senior class features Tanner McKee of Corona Centennial, Matt Corral of Long Beach Poly, Re-Al Mitchell of St. John Bosco, Cameron Rising of Newbury Park, Jeremy Moussa of Eastvale Roosevelt, Steve Comstock of Northview and Matt Robinson of JSerra. All but McKee have made college commitments.

Left-handed pitcher Max Fried, a standout at Harvard-Westlake, has been called up to the major leagues by the Atlanta Braves.

Fried, a first-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2012, was promoted from double-A ball. He has come back from Tommy John surgery.

Fried was part of a Harvard-Westlake team that included future first-round picks Lucas Giolito and Jack Flaherty. Giolito is with the Chicago White Sox organization and Flaherty with the St. Louis Cardinals. They saluted Fried with tweets.

  • Football
Hawthorne coach Derwin Henderson, left, and his players visited school neighbors on Saturday.
Hawthorne coach Derwin Henderson, left, and his players visited school neighbors on Saturday. (Jaylin Henderson)

What a simple but ingenious idea: A high school football team introduces itself to its neighbors.

Hawthorne coach Derwin Henderson and his players went around the neighborhood on Saturday to introduce themselves and "to let people know we're back," Henderson said.

Not since the days of the early 1990s has Hawthorne football been relevant. But you have to start somewhere, and Henderson, a first-year coach, is building from the bottom up. The impact is already being felt with messages such as this:

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  • Football
Kyle Bryant, left, and Trevor Gill aim to lift the running backs at San Fernando.
Kyle Bryant, left, and Trevor Gill aim to lift the running backs at San Fernando. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The Hall of Famers from San Fernando's glorious football past can be seen by players every day when they're on the field. The names are emblazoned on a board near the entrance.

Manfred Moore, Dwight Chapman, Anthony Davis, Charles White, Kevin Williams and Sean Blunt were standouts in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

"I mention those names every day," sixth-year coach Robert Garcia said. "These guys look up to those names and research who those guys were. They know the expectations."

  • Football
Oreo cookies for vanilla ice cream served Friday night at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.
Oreo cookies for vanilla ice cream served Friday night at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. (Eric Sondheimer)

Anyone who has played football for Sherman Oaks Notre Dame over the last 25 years knows what happens this time of year: It's time to sleep in the gym and eat like you're staying in a hotel.

Kevin Rooney, in his 38th season as head coach, has used the sleepover as an opportunity for team bonding and focusing his players on football.

They practice during the day and cool off at night. Rooney allowed his players to use the school's pool on Friday night, and let's just say the players are much better in football than swimming or diving.