Column: Offseason football ‘trades’ abound in Trinity League

There have been lots of trading of players in Trinity League football. Receiver Amon-ra St. Brown of Mater Dei started his career at Servite.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Southern Section football practice began Monday, and let’s hope all the players who have been switching schools around the Trinity League have learned their new fight songs and are comfortable wearing their new Nike, Under Armour or Adidas gear.

Yes, Major League Baseball had its trade deadline, but there seems to be no limit when it comes to Trinity League football teams exchanging players. The league’s six schools might want to consider hiring a general manager to decide who’s coming, who’s going and who will be the player to be named in all their personnel swaps.

Now I’m just having a little fun here, but going down the rosters the last two seasons indicates which players were part of the “future considerations” trading market.


Let’s start with receiver Amon-ra St. Brown, who started his career at Servite, then transferred with his brother, Osiris, to Santa Ana Mater Dei. In consideration for how good the St. Brown brothers turned out to be, Mater Dei sent to Servite brothers Isaiah and Jeminai Leuta-Ulu. Jeminai was a lineman on Mater Dei’s unbeaten freshman team last season. Servite also got defensive back Titus Toler, who might be the steal of that deal.

Then you have Orange Lutheran launching a blockbuster, multiple-player trade involving JSerra, Servite, Mater Dei, St. John Bosco and Santa Margarita that’s still generating buzz.

It started when junior quarterback Ryan Hilinski went from JSerra to Orange Lutheran after his freshman year. After all, JSerra knew who its quarterback would be through 2017: Matt Robinson. Hilinski was the Brock Osweiler of the Trinity League. Everyone wanted him, and you know how important quarterbacks are. They lead to many future trades.

Hilinski was joined this summer at Orange Lutheran by the Servite receiving duo of Ethan Rae and Kyle Ford. Mater Dei got from JSerra brothers Austin and Andrew Faoliu, huge linemen, and, from Santa Margarita, linebacker Mase Funa. JSerra received from Santa Margarita the McClain brothers, Abdul-Malik and Munir, versatile two-way players. St. John Bosco received from JSerra defensive back Jake Bailey and lineman Cole Aubrey and just sent a defensive end from the JV team to JSerra as part of “future considerations.”

Everybody’s happy, right? Well, for now, maybe.

And this is not just a pick on the Trinity League or private schools. There’s also trading going on with public-school programs.

St. John Bosco has picked up Mataio Tupuola, a 300-pound lineman from Torrance, and receiver Devon Cooley, a UCLA commit, from Buena Park. In separate transactions, St. John Bosco sent backup quarterbacks Joey Yellen to Mission Viejo and Jack Alexander to Redondo, and shipped linebacker Alex Miskela to Los Alamitos.

Santa Margarita has picked up players from El Toro, Tesoro and Troy. Mater Dei got defensive end Keyon Ware-Hudson from Vista Murrieta, linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu from Claremont and defensive lineman Samuela Tuihalamaka from Riverside King.

Orange Lutheran, which apparently didn’t have enough targets for Hilinski, added receiver Jojo Hawkins from Buena Park, but lost quarterback Ryan Zanelli to La Habra.

Is this beginning to make sense?

Confused? Surprised? Welcome to high school sports in 2017.

If you want to know the trades in basketball, get back to me in December when everyone who switched schools sees whether they can start for their new team.

And I’ll be sure to name the general manager of the year in football when the season ends.

Follow Eric Sondheimer on Twitter: @latsondheimer