Prep football returns with a lot of hype for local teams

File photo. Gavin Porch was voted Sunset League All-Purpose Player of the Year last year and could have another big-impact season this year.


High School football season opens this weekend, and for fans of Los Alamitos and Cypress High, there is a lot of good news. Both the Griffins and Centurions are strong teams, with plenty of returning players that should produce on the field and provide leadership for the younger players.

That being said, both teams will be competing in leagues that are fairly loaded with talent. Los Al is getting national attention and a lot of hype from local sports outlets. They are ranked third in the county and were tabbed as the No. 10 team in the state by Cal-Hi Sports.

But right behind them in the county rankings are Edison at No. 8 and Corona del Mar at No. 12. Newport Harbor (14) and Huntington Beach (20) also made the top 25. After their recent win in the South Coast Passing Tournament, quarterback Malachi Nelson said the Griffins are ready for the battles.

“I’m excited for the season, it’s going to be exciting to watch,” Nelson said in a social media interview.

Nelson has been heavily recruited and recently signed with Oklahoma to continue his athletic and academic career. He was joined by teammate Makai Lemon, who also committed to Oklahoma to play for the Sooners. The Nelson/Lemon combo should be among the best in the county this season, but the Griffins have a lot of offensive weapons.

Gavin Porch, returning Sunset League all-purpose Player of the Year returns, as do receivers Deandre Moore and Ethan O’Connor. They also added transfer running back Nygel Osborne. There will be no shortage of ball handlers for the Griffins. Behind an offensive line anchored by the likes of David Main and Cash Koepke, the offense is going to be tough to contain.

Los Alamitos opens the season with a home game against Bakersfield on Friday at 7 p.m. at Los Alamitos High School.

On paper, Cypress looks like the favorite in the Empire League, but Pacifica is close and looks tough this year. Tustin is under a new coach and will a much different look on offense. The Tillers will be leaning much more on the passing game than in recent years, so defenses will need to adjust.

Cypress returns a pretty good quarterback in Dylan Eldridge, who set a single-game school record for passing yards in a game last year with 373. His big target also returns. Receiver Matthew Morrell makes plays and at 6’3” 205 pounds, can punish defensive backs when he breaks up field.

Eldridge, Morrell and lineman George Iyalomhe were all among the top 150 impact players in the OC Varsity preseason rankings. Iyalomhe is getting a lot of recruiting interest, including Ivy League Schools Harvard and Yale, due to his academic work.

Trevor Monteleone also provides reliable pass receiver. Guys lIke Neil Jansen and Devin Cobb give the Centurions some reliability out of the backfield. Jansen is a two-sport star in football and baseball and has already committed to San Jose State to continue his academic and athletic career. Cypress hosts Foothill on Friday at 7 p.m. at Western High’s Handel Stadium.

Ted Apodaca is the editor of the Sun News. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @st_ath_news or on Instagram @tedapodaca.