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MISSION VIEJO, CALIF. — Malachi Nelson and Los Alamitos emerged from a talented field to win the Mission Viejo passing tournament on Saturday. The Griffins beat Mission Viejo in the title game. Servite, Bishop Amat, Santa Margarita, Alemany, Long Beach Poly and a host of other teams also participated and there were plenty of top performers.



Yes it's 7-on-7, but Nelson made the quarterback position look easy on Saturday. What separates the junior blue chip prospect from his peers at the 7-on-7 level is his accuracy and vision. Oftentimes Nelson knows his receivers are open before they do and he has the ability to put the football right in his wideouts' hands, no matter the route.

Los Alamitos has high level skill position talent around Nelson led by Makai Lemon, Alec Wills, Nygel Osborne and a few others -- the whole Griffins offense looked good at the event -- but it's Nelson that puts them over the top.


Servite senior Noah Fifita and Mission Viejo junior Kadin Semonza had strong showings as well. Fifita was without his favorite target, senior receiver Tetairoa McMillan, but didn't miss a beat leading the Friars to the semifinals where they fell to Semonza and Mission Viejo.

Fifita always looks comfortable when he drops back. He has great mechanics and when option A isn't available to him, he never panics and still always gets the ball out. The Arizona commit is one of the premiere QB's in the state.

Semonza made a number of throws into tight windows on Saturday. Perhaps his best came in the championship against Los Alamitos when he waited patiently and then lofted a pass right down the seam to Travis Andersen. The ball had the perfect distance and feathered right over the Los Al defensive back and into Andersen's arms for a long TD. As Mission Viejo's competition got better as the day went on, Semonza continued to make tough throws.


The three receivers that stuck out were Mission Viejo's Mikey Matthews, Servite's Mikey Welsh and Bishop Amat's Delano Franklin.

"I try and get the ball to Mikey every play," Mission Viejo head coach Chad Johnson admitted after Matthews, a junior, caught his second TD in the Diablos championship defeat to Los Alamitos.

Simply put, Matthews catches everything -- he made quite a few acrobatic grabs on Saturday. In the spring, Matthews had 34 receptions for 470 yards and a whopping eight touchdowns. He's set to have another big year this fall.

Servite head coach Troy Thomas thinks very highly of Welsh, a senior slot receiver who caught all five touchdowns in the Friars opening win against Long Beach Poly. Welsh led Servite in receptions on the day and it looks like he'll be one of Fifita's top targets this season.

What separated Franklin from other receivers at the event was that when he caught a ball near the line of scrimmage, he had the speed to still pick up substantial yards after the catch. Even with defenders only needing to touch him to end the play, Franklin's quickness made getting a hand on him a challenge. He caught four TDs in the Lancers semifinal defeat to Los Alamitos.


Mission Viejo won the linemen challenge.

Alemany rotated senior Dylan Gebbia and sophomore Anthony Wolter at quarterback in their games.

Long Beach Poly rotated senior Shea Kuykendall and sophomore Darius Curry at QB in their opening defeat against Servite. 2024 Jackrabbit receiver Titus Bordeaux made an incredible one handed touchdown catch in that game.

JSerra started sophomore Dylan Mills at quarterback following the transfer of last year's starter, Jaxon Potter, to Santa Margarita.

2022 quarterback Zach Siskowic has transferred to Orange High after spending last season at Crespi.

2022 offensive lineman Rashad Beckham has transferred from JSerra to Mission Viejo.

Norco didn't have starting quarterback Kyle Crum at the event because he was on a visit to Columbia.

2023 Santa Margarita tight end Niko Lopez made a great catch against Los Alamitos. The Eagles coaching staff is very high on him.

2022 Los Alamitos linebacker Aiden Greene had a game-winning interception against Bishop Amat in the semifinals.