In the 15 years of the Huntington Beach Edison High summer passing tournament, there never has been a 16-team field as talented as Saturday's group, which drew hundreds of spectators and filled up the school parking lot in rapid fashion.
It was a who's who of Southern California football powers — Long Beach Poly, Gardena Serra, Santa Ana Mater Dei, Corona Centennial, Westlake Village Westlake, La Puente Bishop Amat, Santa Margarita, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Harbor City Narbonne.
But when the championship game was completed, the team that's supposed to be No. 1 when the pads come on at the end of August, Bellflower St. John Bosco, showed its talent in defeating Mater Dei in the final.
Quarterback Josh Rosen and receiver Shay Fields were hooking up from morning to afternoon. Defensive backs Jaleel Wadood and Naijiel Hale were making sure receivers couldn't roam free in the secondary.
And the scary part about St. John Bosco is that the Braves' strength come the fall will be their offensive and defensive lines.
Among the standouts:
JSerra cornerback Dante Pettis, a cousin of NFL player Austin Pettis, was looking good battling receivers in hand-to-hand duels.
Notre Dame receiver Daniel Khan was productive in helping his team reach the semifinals. Santa Margarita receiver Kyle Sweet will be generating lots of catches from sophomore quarterback K.J. Costello.
La Puente Bishop Amat, which had a 10-0 freshman team last season, has a promising sophomore receiver in Tyler Vaughns. Quarterback Koa Haynes, who has 4.5 40-yard speed, should have a big season ahead.
Edison had wins over Serra and Poly, demonstrating that the Chargers will be title contenders again.
When it comes to top players, Poly's John "Juju" Smith ranks near the top. Playing receiver and safety, Smith was finding ways to influence games.
"I think Juju is the best player, at least in the Southern Section," Coach Raul Lara said. "You tell me what kid can play running back, DB, receiver, tight end and linebacker and excel? You'll see him in the backfield a little bit. He's looking pretty scary."
Always count on discovering personalities at the Edison tournament.
There was St. John Bosco's Hale, son of a rapper who was wearing turquoise socks and lime-colored shoes.
Then there was Santa Margarita defensive back Jonathan LaBonty, who said, "I'll take on spiders, snakes, wide receivers, but not bugs that fly."
Centennial Coach Matt Logan confirmed that standout defensive back John Plattenburg has moved back to Texas.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun