Tuesday night lights in Tustin With the OC-LA CIF Southern Section title is one the line. The brackets were mixed this year as far as counties and it’s down to Foothill vs Loyola for all the marbles. Both programs are about winning championships for their school, fans and alumni. Individual awards and brash individualism is not part of this game.
In the triple crown of horse racing they say pace makes the race and in boxing the expression is styles make fights. Both these teams can play fast or slow it down some. Historically Foothill has played fast paced years in and year out but in 2019 threw in a zone in the OC final vs St Margaret’s and this year have played both zone and pressure man.
Loyola has played man and zone as well. Earlier in the year they played zone vs Foothill to take the two goal victory but as we have seen this year some programs were locked down, some had football players out ( Foothill 14), while others came in off full practice and tourney schedule so early season for both these programs was closer to preseason and as the season evolved they both played closer to their usual style from previous seasons.
One area that will be key is face offs. Henry Perkins of Foothill has improved over the season and was a key in the semi finals for Foothill, winning some big face offs on his first move down the stretch of that game. For Loyola, Matt Gottfried has had an excellent year. Not sure the exact percentage for the year but he’s been dominant in some big games vs legit teams. Went 23 for 24 vs Palos Verdes. I think he has been the best in the region.
The Loyola D is very athletic with five long poles that can play LSM or close and have matched up man to man well in big games, most recently in the semis vs a talented CDM team. Barnes, Shoemaker and Wynperll have played both close and LSM as has sophomore Jake Tom.
Foothill also has an athletic defense Jellerson, Hardison and Maschetti can push transition and had some clutch double teams in the semis to keep the game tied or down one goal while the sticks were cold in the the 3rd quarter, putting them in position to take the W when the offense connected.
Offensively for Foothill as usual there are a number of scorers. Babb, Pistone, Copeland, Sieler, and Fox among others can be a spark on any given night. The long poles can push the ball for the Knights as well.
For Loyola, Owen Gaffney of Loyola has had a great year. He’s not just a dodger-goal scorer, he’s excellent between the restraining lines and comes up with plenty of opportunities in transition off the ride as well as contested ground balls and in the 2nd half of close game has had an extra gear. Aidan Lee and Matt Silvestri have also been very productive all season. The offensive coordinator coaching matchup is a great one with long time Foothill offensive coordinator Matt Gotto matching wits with Loyola staff. Romar Dennis was at Loyola earlier in the year but I believe it’s Brennan Green at this point. Dennis is in PLL at this point. Some talent on both coaching sidelines.
Senior Foothill goalie Joey Garcia can get red hot anytime. Henry Link has made some big stops late in several close games for 18-1 Loyola.
Devo’s fun facts: Owen Gaffney scored the game winner for Loyola as a freshman in overtime to take the OC-LA title in 2018 in the game. Romar Dennis, the mentioned coach, was clocked shooting 107 mph in a college game. That’s not an exhibition that’s a D1 game and that’s throwing smoke. He’s in the PLL now and I’m gonna guess one of the hardest shooters in the league. The Foothill girls team will play for the title Weds night and I believe some of the above mentioned names of the foothill boys squad will have sisters playing. Foothill is the only team (HS, College, Pro) in the country with two players named Roman ( Pistone and Maschetti)……these are some fun facts here!
Devo runs Lockdown recruiting: 2020 commits: Umass, UVA, Bryant x2, Col Mesa, Tampa….2021; Penn State, Bellarmine x2, Tampa. He also can be found LockdownD.com.