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No. 17 JSerra brings back 19 starters this fall

Nine starters return on offense and 10 come back on defense. Head coach Scott McKnight is especially excited about 2024 QB Zander Singh.

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California ahead of the 2022 season. Here’s an inside look at the JSerra Lions of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 17 team in our countdown.

JSERRA TEAM PAGE | 2022 FALL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

HEAD COACH

Scott McKnight

  • 2nd season as JSerra head coach, 12th year at JSerra overall
  • 3-8 record at JSerra
  • Previously coached at Tesoro and at Mater Dei as JV head coach

2021 AT A GLANCE

  • Overall record: 3-8
  • League record: 0-5 (6th place in Trinity League)
  • Lost in the first round of Division 2 Southern Section playoffs 42-35 to Sierra Canyon

2022 SCHEDULE

(All games are at 7 p.m. unless noted otherwise)

  • Aug. 19 vs. Sierra Canyon
  • Aug. 26 @ Chaminade
  • Sep. 2 vs. Newport Harbor
  • Sep. 9 @ Corona Centennial
  • Sep. 16 vs. Rancho Cucamonga
  • Sep. 30 vs. Mater Dei
  • Oct. 7 @ Santa Margarita
  • Oct. 14 @ St. John Bosco
  • Oct. 21 vs. Servite
  • Oct. 28 @ Orange Lutheran

RETURNING STARTERS

  • 9 on offense
  • 10 on defense

DEPARTED PLAYERS

  • Titus Heimuli - WR - Graduated
  • Luke Berry - LB - Graduated
  • Chase Barry - K/P - Graduated (UCLA)
  • Eddie Schultz - 2023 WR - Transferred to Mission Viejo (University of Colorado commit)
  • Dylan Mills - 2024 QB - Transferred to San Clemente

IMPACT PLAYERS TO WATCH

OL David Tuliau - Sr. - 6-1, 265

Coach said: "Dave was a first team All-Trinity League and All-CIF pick last season. He's going to play center for us. He's very athletic, strong and fundamentally sound. He's a high character kid."

TE/DE Jose Frutos - Sr. - 6-0, 190

Coach said: "Jose was our team MVP last year. He was first team All-Trinity too. He's extremely athletic and twitchy. I like him a lot."

OL/DL Kainoa Davis - Jr. - 6-4, 280

Coach said: "Kainoa is a big, fast and physical guy,"

QB Zander Singh - Jr. - 5-10, 180

2021 stats: Completed 47 of 85 passes (55%) for 506 yards 6 TD's and 6 INT's

Coach said: "Like our offensive coordinator says, if Zander was 6'2'' he'd have multiple D1 offers. He's very accurate and very smart. He plays with great awareness. He threw for five touchdowns against Sierra Canyon last season in our playoff game. He's done some really good things."

WR Josh Jornadal - Sr. - 5-10, 170

2021 stats: Caught 19 passes for 242 yards and 4 TD's

Coach said: "Josh will play in the slot. He's a long jumper and he's very athletic with good hands."

Read More

OL Jake Flores - Soph. - 6-6, 260

Offer sheet: Arizona, Florida State, Louisville, Ole Miss, Oregon, Washington, Washington State

Coach said: "Jake is a big time prospect."

CB/RB Kamar Garbourel - Jr. - 5-11, 165

Coach said: "Kamar was a second team All-Trinity pick last season."

WR/S Logan Christensen - Soph. - 6-0, 165

Coach said: "Logan is a very fast and athletic guy."

IMPACT TRANSFERS IN

  • None

REGULAR SEASON GAME(S) OF THE YEAR

JSerra's schedule may be the toughest in California. In addition to taking on Mater Dei and St. John Bosco, the Lions also play the third and fourth best teams in the state this season: Corona Centennial and Santa Margarita. 

The biggest game for JSerra is their regular season finale against Orange Lutheran on Oct. 28. The Lions and Lancers are the two teams that will be fighting for fourth place in the Trinity League this fall. Whoever wins will most likely get a more favorable playoff draw in Division 2, although it's possible the victor could get into Division 1.  

BEST-CASE SCENARIO

6-4 and a berth in the Division 2 Southern Section playoffs

In total, eight of JSerra's ten regular season games are against teams that start the year in our top 50 statewide rankings -- their schedule is brutally hard. 

Getting to six wins would require JSerra to beat Sierra Canyon, Chaminade and Orange Lutheran. While winning all of those games is possible, it's unlikely. 

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

4-6 and a Division 2 playoff berth

JSerra is going to be the best 4-6 team in the state. They should get a wild card bid into the Division 2 playoffs and we expect them to win a round or two. 

COACH SAID

"I came in after the spring COVID season even though I was here. We hired a new offensive coordinator and so I liken it to four years of Spanish. You can't install Spanish 1, 2, 3 and 4 all in one year. So we installed Spanish 1 and it took us a while to "habla." As the year went on, we got more familiar with the offense, more adept."

"Defensively, we did some good things last year the whole year. When we played OLu, they won a Division 2 CIF championship, and we lost 9-7. Our improvement last year had to do with guys becoming more familiar in our scheme and more familiar with each other. We were super young too. We started two sophomores and three freshmen on the offensive line against Sierra Canyon in the playoffs."

"Overall this year we're looking just to get better at everything we do. That's everything. From how we lift to how we study film and from how we practice to how we play. We'll see however many games we win and where that puts us whether it's D1 or D2. We don't tell our guys that we want to make the D1 playoffs or we want to go far in the D2 playoffs. We look at winning today. We talk about playing fast, physical, fundamentally sound and that we want to finish. That's our philosophy."

"I believe that we're going to be competitive in our league, but it's difficult at the top with the way Mater Dei and St. John Bosco operate their programs."

-- Scott. McKnight