Adults go from one job to another to seek a better opportunity.
High school athletes transfer from one school to another for the same reason.
This time of year is known as “transfer season” for Orange County high school football, and it’s happening everywhere.
The notable moves in Orange County so far: quarterback Michael Tollefson, a sophomore, has moved from San Juan Hills to JSerra; sophomore quarterback Alonzo Esparza from Sierra Canyon to Los Alamitos; and sophomore defensive tackle Tyler Parker from Santa Margarita to Crean Lutheran.
Tollefson (6-1, 175) was the starter at San Juan Hills the past two seasons. He is a fine pass-and-run combination quarterback who has scholarship offers from several schools, including Arizona and Georgia. JSerra’s starting quarterback this past season was junior Zander Singh, who helped the Lions finish third in the Trinity League and beat Santa Margarita in the playoffs.
Esparza (6-0, 175) has offers from Florida State and Louisville. He won a quarterback competition to be Sierra Canyon’s starter last season and could be in another battle at Los Alamitos, where freshman Jaden O’Neal (6-3, 200) looked terrific in spot duty last season as the backup to All-Orange County quarterback Malachi Nelson.
Parker is a 300-pounder with potential to be an elite run-stopping inside lineman. He has offers from Arizona, Cal, Colorado and Notre Dame.
Transfers can be a distasteful part of high school sports. Jeremiah Criddell and Sean Dollars transferred from Rancho Cucamonga to Mater Dei before the 2018-19 school year, played on the Monarchs’ 2018 CIF State championship team, participated in the Mater Dei letter-of-intent signing-day festivities a few days after the state championship game, and returned to Rancho Cucamonga for the spring semester. They even participated in signing day activities at Rancho Cucamonga in February of ’19.
Most transfers, though, work out fine for all involved.
Quarterback Parker Awad started high school in the Mater Dei program, saw a better opportunity to shine at Edison, transferred to Edison and had a fine time that included being named Sunset League offensive back of the year and All-Orange County this past season as a senior.
Aidan Chiles and Aidan Houston were quarterbacks in the Los Alamitos program before they left, Chiles going to Downey and Houston to Cypress. Neither was going to start ahead of Nelson at Los Alamitos. This past season, Chiles was the starting quarterback at Downey and Houston the starter at Cypress; those two teams met in the CIF-SS Division 4 championship game.
It would be beautiful if every high school athlete stayed at the same school for four years and if every adult’s first job was their forever job. Oftentimes, though, making a move is the right move.
• Mater Dei still has Feb. 1 as its target date to hire a football coach to replace mega-successful Bruce Rollinson. Expect the new coach to be a former Monarchs player. Former Mater Dei linemen Khaled Holmes and Lenny Vandermade could be among the finalists. One prominent coach who was supposedly interested in the Mater Dei opening explained why he did not apply for the job: “Do I really want to replace Rollinson and try to ride that dragon?” …
• Chris Reinert, the new football coach at Servite, has a deep Servite background, having been a standout on the school’s football and track teams. He also also served as the school’s ASB president. Reinert, most recently special teams coach at the University of Colorado, knows how Servite works, and at Servite that is important. …
• Dan O’Shea said last month he resigned as Corona del Mar’s football head coach “to pursue other opportunities that will provide him more time to spend with his family.” This week he was hired to be the football coach at St. Margaret’s. O’Shea at Corona del Mar was a hard-charger in passionate pursuit of consistent excellence, so it is difficult to see how coaching a private school football program, even one as relatively mellow as St. Margaret’s, is going to relax his pace. …
• The All-American Bowl high school football all-star game will be televised live from San Antonio on Saturday at 10 a.m. No Orange County players are playing in the game, but players with some O.C. background are in it, including Chiles and St. John Bosco receiver DeAndre Moore who, like Chiles, previously was at Los Alamitos. Chiles is on the East roster, although Downey is somewhat closer to the Pacific Ocean than it is to the Atlantic. …
• Other St. John Bosco players in the game are quarterback Pierce Clarkson, defensive lineman Matayo Uiagalelei and defensive back Aaron Williams. …
• CIF Southern Section boys and girls basketball championship games for the Open Division and Division 1 will be played at Honda Center on Feb. 25. The last time the basketball finals were played at Honda Center was 2017. …
Orange County boys basketball Top 25: Mater Dei stays No. 1 after league loss, Jan. 9
Orange County girls basketball Top 25: Rosary climbs after edging Orange Lutheran, Jan. 9
Santa Margarita girls soccer hands JSerra its first loss of the season
Orange County scores and player stats for Saturday, Jan. 7
St. John Bosco basketball hands Mater Dei its first league loss at home since 1998
• From the boys basketball games seen so far this season, early locks for All-Orange County first team are Tesoro senior guard Carson Brown, Mater Dei senior forward Zack Davidson and Canyon sophomore forward Brandon Benjamin. Many other good ones have been seen, and it’s early. We will have five All-County teams with 10 players per team; the same goes for All-County girls basketball.
• Josh Birket, a 6-6 senior forward who transferred from Crean Lutheran to Tustin, gives the Tillers’ boys basketball team something it has lacked for several years – an inside presence. Tustin has been a five-guards team for a long time. …
• Mater Dei got a huge win in boys soccer Wednesday when it beat JSerra 1-0 in a Trinity League opener. JSerra was No. 1 in the most recent CIF-SS Divisions 1 and 2 combined rankings. Mater Dei was not among the 16 teams in the rankings.