Why Serra’s Adoree’ Jackson might have monster senior season, top NorCal coach steps down and Mission Viejo adds well-known position coach. That plus more in our football updates, including Californians that will compete at The Opening in Oregon.
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Bad Luck Strikes Serra of Gardena Twice
Serra of Gardena has aspirations of winning a second consecutive CIF state football title, but that hope took a turn for the worse in the past month as two ball-carriers suffered season-ending injuries. Malik Roberson, who rushed for 1,506 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore, will likely miss his entire junior season after tearing his ACL while competing in the long jump at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College. Just before the injury, Roberson had received offers from Arizona State, Oregon State and UCLA.
Josh Thomas was then expected to slide into Roberson’s starting role, but he recently suffered a torn ACL as well. Those two injuries means Adoree’ Jackson, one of the nation’s top overall recruits who excels at multiple positions, will become an every down back in the Cavs’ attack. Jackson was one of just four juniors named Cal-Hi Sports first team all-state last season. We can see him having a senior monster season with the ball in his hands more often, but Serra cannot afford anymore injuries to offensive players with the schedule it has lined up for 2013.
Top NorCal Coach Announces Retirement
Ernie Cooper, our 2012 State Coach of the Year, announced his retirement earlier this month after 17 seasons at Granite Bay. The Grizzlies started the 2012 season 1-3, but went on to capture the CIF Division I state championship with a 21-20 win over favored Long Beach Poly.
During his tenure, Cooper won five CIF Sac-Joaquin Section championships and ten league titles. He finished with a career record of 155-43-1 as the only head coach the Grizzlies have known. Cooper was also named our Medium Schools State Coach of the Year back in 1999 before earning overall honors after the big win over Long Beach Poly.
USC Pass-Catch Duo Reunited at Mission Viejo
Keyshawn Johnson, a brash former NFL wide receiver with strong ties to SoCal football, will join former USC teammate Rob Johnson on the Diablos’ coaching staff. Johnson, a 1991 graduate of L.A. Dorsey who used to visit the Cal-Hi Sports offices in Anaheim while still in high school, naturally will coach wide receivers. Currently a football analyst with ESPN, Johnson will be limited at times but head coach Bob Johnson told Steve Fryer of OCVarsity.com that he will be at practice Tuesdays and Wednesdays and at half of the games.
Rob and Keyshawn were teammates at USC for one season before Rob left for the NFL. The next season in 1995, Keyshawn led USC to a win at the Rose Bowl and was the No. 1 pick of the 1996 NFL Draft. His son, Keyshawn Johnson Jr., will be an incoming freshman this season.
The Opening 2013: 27 Californians Selected
The official roster for The Opening has been announced by Student Sports. There will be 27 players from the Golden State among a total of 162 players that will participate in the SPARQ Rating National Championship, the Elite Linemen Challenge and the Nike 7ON Tournament.
The Opening runs from June 30th to July 3rd at Nike World Headquarters in Oregon and will air on ESPNU. The SPARQ Rating National Championship will air July 1 at 7 p.m. ET. The Nike 7ON Tournament pool play will air July 2 at 9 p.m. ET and the Elite Linemen Challenge finals and the Nike 7ON Tournament semifinals and final will air on July 3 beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
Centennial of Corona, El Cerrito, Long Beach Poly and St. John Bosco of Bellflower will each have multiple players in attendance at The Opening. Centennial and Long Beach Poly each have two players while El Cerrito and St. John Bosco will have three athletes competing.
Californians at The Opening
(listed in alphabetical order; all players are 2014 prospects unless noted)
WR — Erik Brown (Summit, Fontana) 6-0.5, 170
LB — D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito) 5-11.5, 200
QB — K.J Carta-Samuels (Bellarmine, San Jose) 6-1.5, 220
QB — Keller Chryst (Palo Alto) 6-4, 220
LB — Jamardre Cobb (Salesian, Los Angeles) 6-0, 220
OL — Kammy Delp (Diamond Ranch, Pomona) 6-2.5, 305
RB — Royce Freeman (Imperial) 5’11-5, 220
DB — Naijiel Hale (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) 5-11, 175
WR — Jalen Harvey (El Cerrito) 6-1, 185
DB — Adoree’ Jackson (Serra, Gardena) 5-9.5, 170
QB — Brad Kaaya (Chaminade, West Hills) 6-4, 220
OL — Toa Lobendahn (La Habra) 6-3, 285
DB — Jonathan Lockett (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 5-11, 170
TE — Tyler Luatua (La Mirada) 6-3, 245
QB — Morgan Mahalak (Marin Catholic, Kentfield) 6-3, 185
OL — Damien Mama (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) 6-4, 350
DB — Iman Marshall (Poly, Long Beach) 6-0.5, 185 (2015)
RB — Joe Mixon (Freedom, Oakley) 6-1, 210
DB — John Plattenburg (Centennial, Corona) 5-10, 175
DB — Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito) 5-11, 175
WR — Michiah Quick (Central, Fresno) 5-11, 175
WR — JuJu Smith (Poly, Long Beach) 6-1, 180
OL — Viane Talamaivao (Centennial, Corona) 6-2, 315
DL — Ainuu Taua (Lompoc) 5-11.5, 295
DB — Jaleel Wadood (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) 5-10, 165
QB — Manny Wilkins (San Marin, Novato) 6-2, 185
LB — Dwight Williams (Serra, Gardena) 6-1, 200
For more on The Opening 2013, please visit StudentSports.com
Ronnie Flores contributed to this report.