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MINDY SCHAUER, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
La Habra quarterback Cody Clements came out on top in Dan Albano's rankings of the performances by the county QBs in the "Battle at the Beach" passing tournament.

Inside Battle at the Beach: Ranking the QBs

Dan Albano analyzes the performances of the O.C. quarterbacks, plus has updates on La Habra, Edison and Mater Dei.

OCVARSITY.COM

Here are my Top 5 county quarterbacks - with comments - from the "Battle at the Beach" passing tournament Saturday at Edison High.

1. Cody Clements, La Habra, Senior: Yes, the Washington State pledge led his team to the title, but that is not the only reason he gets the No. 1 nod. He had a highly efficient day. He consistently showed the ability to get the ball out quick and make accurate and diverse throws. And remember, this kid threw for 29 TDs and against only 5 picks last season. He's legit.

2. Max Wittek, Mater Dei, Senior: The USC commit never seemed to get on a big-time roll. But Wittek still flashed a big-time arm and some good accuracy. He was my No. 1-rated QB last month at the Dana Hills Air Strike tournament.


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3. Dylan Lagarde, Los Alamitos, Senior: The Long Beach Poly transfer continued to make strides. He threaded the needle on a pass over the middle against Chaparral and later connected deep with emerging WR Josh Caiquo to open the quarterfinal against Mater Dei. He also knows how to get the exciting and sure-handed Nick Richardson the ball. Lagarde is playing smart.

4. Chase Favreau, Edison, Junior: Edison coach Dave White believes the left-handed transfer from Mater Dei has improved since the Air Strike and I agree. Favreau played with more confidence and poise Saturday than he did at last month's event at Dana Hills. He still has more to learn under White but he is progressing.

5. Matt Adam, Tesoro, Sophomore: For only a sophomore-to-be, Adam throws a very consistent ball. Tons of spirals from this kid and good arm strength. All young quarterbacks need to work on their reads but Adam has some great fundamentals to build upon. He fired a nice touchdown pass to Kyle Woolbright against St. John Bosco in pool play. Woolbright is an excellent receiver and showed good hands against Bosco.

Honorable mention

6. Josh Peterman, Foothill, Senior: The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior-to-be showed some potential in a pool play against Oaks Christian. The Knights hung with Oaks Christian until the end, falling, 28-21. "He's progressing," Foothill coach Doug Case said of Peterman, who backed up Aaron Dupin last season.

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CLEMENTS EXCITED ABOUT COLLEGE CHOICE: La Habra QB Cody Clements said there were several reasons he recently committed to Washington State.

"A lot of different situations factored in," the senior-to-be said at the Edison passing tournament. "The quarterback situation. They only have three right now under scholarship.

"I went up there for a visit and loved it. And the offense is very similar to the one I'm already running."

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EDISON RECEIVER HAS BREAKOUT DAY: One of the players who emerged Saturday as a name to remember was Edison wide receiver Troy Baljeu (5-9, 167), who is going into his junior season.

In the Chargers' final pool play against powerhouse Westlake, Baljeu stepped up against some tough competition to catch a pair of early touchdown passes from quarterback Chase Favreau.

The first connection came on a deep pass. Baljeu also caught the conversion. On the second TD, Baljeu made a diving catch on a deflection.

"He's had an unbelievable three games (in pool play)," Edison coach Dave White said after a 38-27 loss to Westlake. "He's been really, really good."

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WHAT WENT WRONG FOR MATER DEI? Going into Saturday's passing tournament, I pegged Mater Dei as one of the favorites.

The Monarchs have a ton of talented skill players, including the best quarterback-wide receiver duo in Orange County with Max Wittek (left) and Victor Blackwell. They also were coming off a first-place finish at the Air Strike tournament last month at Dana Hills.

So why did Mater Dei get bounced in the quarterfinals?

To me,  the Monarchs seemed flat. They played with more intensity at the Air Strike.

Mater Dei's timing also appeared off. Wittek and his receivers struggled to sustain their timing throughout the tournament.

Mater Dei's wide outs also have better hands than they showed Saturday.

The Monarchs, however, will be fine. Wittek and Blackwell appear to have great chemistry.

It's a long summer, and sometimes a kick in the rear is just what a team needs to improve.

 


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