In our annual San Juan Capistrano high school football preview, we delve into everything you need to know about the upcoming football season. Click the links below to read the team-specific previews, scroll through the PDF version here for more photos and interviews.
Photos and Text by Zach Cavanagh
Four Players to Watch, Offense
MICHAEL “BUTTER” TOLLEFSON, San Juan Hills, QB, Soph.
Tollefson earned the name “Butter” for his smooth release, which showed in his freshman campaign for the Stallions. Tollefsen completed 60% of his passes for 1,307 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. Tollefsen is much more confident in the offense this season and has, so far, collected 14 Division 1 college offers.
ZANDER SINGH, JSerra, QB, Jr.
Singh didn’t get the full starting control of the JSerra offense until late in his sophomore season, but he provided a much-needed spark. Singh threw for more than 300 yards and five touchdowns in JSerra’s first-round playoff loss, but it was valuable experience as he takes over more of the Lions offense this season.
DEREK SMITH, St. Margaret’s, WR, Sr.
Smith will be key to opening up opposing defenses for the St. Margaret’s offense. Smith already showcased himself as deep threat last season with 627 yards and 11 touchdowns on 43 catches. Smith’s speed and senior leadership will be integral to the Tartan attack. He’ll also get some snaps on defense.
HAYDEN CARLSON, CVC, ATH, Sr.
Carlson will be everywhere and do everything for Capistrano Valley Christian. He will play at running back and receiver, and he will run wildcat packages as a quarterback. Carlson will also play on defense at safety. He is an all-around athlete, including being a Division 1 baseball commit to Indiana.
Four Players to Watch, Defense
WESTON PORT, San Juan Hills, LB, Soph.
Port was a man among boys last season, even though he was a freshman. Port has gotten bigger and stronger in the offseason with a now 6-foot-2, 220-pound frame, and he worked on his coverage abilities. Port led San Juan Hills in tackles and sacks, and he has 18 Division 1 college offers.
CLARENCE CHANEY, JSerra, LB, Jr.
Chaney steps in for a big opportunity in the middle of the JSerra defense. The Lions reload at defensive line, so it’s up to Chaney and the linebacking corps to fill the gaps. Chaney plays hard-nosed and comes straight downhill. He improved his coverage skills in the offseason to round out his game.
SAM DUNNELL, St. Margaret’s, CB, Sr.
Dunnell is a unique player with his 6-foot-4 frame being unusual for a cornerback, but that’s part of what Dunnell loves about playing the position. He pulled in two interceptions last year, and he’ll be a game-changer on defense again. Dunnell also will feature in the St. Margaret’s offense as a receiver.
JACK GALLO, CVC, LB, Soph.
Gallo led the Capistrano Valley Christian defense as a freshman last year with 62 tackles, including 43 solo tackles and 13 tackles for loss. Gallo was named defensive MVP for his efforts. A stronger defensive line for the Eagles will open lanes for Gallo to make an even bigger impact.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a multiple California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.