Previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California: No. 40 Oaks Christian Lions (Westlake Village)

SBLive California is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in the state ahead of the 2020-2021 season, which is scheduled to kick off the first week of January. Here’s an inside look at the Oaks Christian Lions of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 40 team in our countdown.

OAKS CHRISTIAN TEAM PAGE | 2021 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

OAKS CHRISTIAN HEAD COACH

Charles Collins, 3rd season (17-7)

2019 AT A GLANCE

  • 5-6 record
  • 3-1 in Marmonte League (second place)
  • Lost to Upland 27-17 in the first round of the Division 2 Southern Section playoffs

ALL-SOUTHERN SECTION DEPARTURES

  • None

2020-21 SCHEDULE

  • Jan 8, 2021 vs. Chaminade – 7:00PM – Non League
  • Jan 15, 2021 @ Sierra Canyon – 7:00PM – Non League
  • Jan 22, 2021 vs. Alemany – 7:00PM – Non League
  • Feb 5, 2021 @ El Camino Real – 7:00PM – Non League
  • Feb 12, 2021 @ Rancho Cucamonga – 7:00PM – Non League
  • Feb 19, 2021 vs. Paraclete – 7:00PM – Non League
  • Feb 26, 2021 @ Grace Brethren – 7:00PM – League
  • Mar 5, 2021 @ Calabasas – 7:00PM – League
  • Mar 12, 2021 vs. Westlake – 7:00PM – League

RETURNING STARTERS

  • 8 on offense
  • 7 on defense

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ethan Calvert (Senior-LB) (Utah commit) (6-3, 230)

Coach Collins: “Ethan is one of the top outside linebackers in the state. I expect him to be an All-American. To his credit, he wanted to come back and play for me his senior year, which is big because he didn’t have to. He’ll be a big boost for us on defense.”

2019 stats: 24 catches for 350 yards and five TDs, 69 tackles and one interception on defense

Kaylin Moore (Senior-DB) (Colorado commit) (6-0, 180)

Coach Collins: “Kaylin will play corner for us this year.”

2019 stats: 35 catches for 408 and two TDs, 50 tackles and two interceptions on defense

Kekoa Pele-Allen (Senior-OL/DT) (6-3, 310)

Coach Collins: “He’s big time. Kekoa is going to be a stalwart for us this year.”

Offer sheet: Cal Poly, Central Washington and Idaho

2019 stats: Made 2 tackles in three games

Semaj Freeman (Senior-RB) (5-11, 195)

Coach Collins: “He’s half of our running back duo that I refer to as thunder and lightning. He’s a powerful runner.”

Offer sheet: Nevada, New Mexico, Northern Arizona and Valparaiso

2019 stats: 53 carries for 486 yards and six touchdowns

Derek Boyd (Junior-RB) (5-11, 180)

Coach Collins: “Derek is the other half of our running back duo that I refer to as thunder and lightning. We feel great about those two.”

Offer sheet: Boise State and Oregon State

2019 stats: 83 carries for 448 yards and seven TDs, 19 tackles on defense and a forced fumble

Jalen Lewis (Sophomore-DB) (5-9, 180)

Coach Collins: “Jalen started as a freshman for us last season. He’s fantastic.”

Offer sheet: Arizona State, Kansas, New Mexico, Oregon State, Southern Miss, Virginia Tech

2019 stats: 76 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble

QUARTERBACK COMPETITION

Sierra Canyon junior transfer Amari Powell is going to push Cole Tannenbaum in the battle to start under center at Oaks Christian this season, according to Coach Collins.

“It’s a very tough quarterback battle,” Collins said.

IMPACT TRANSFERS

Jashawn Todd – 2021 WR/DB transfer from Alemany

Mathias Malaki-Donaldson – 2022 DE transfer from Narbonne

Khari Butler – 2022 WR transfer St. John’s College High School in Washington DC

Amari Powell – 2022 QB transfer from Sierra Canyon

Sterling Lane – 2022 DE transfer from Maranatha

WHO TRANSFERRED OUT?

  • Tyler Voss – 2022 QB (Valencia)

IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON OAKS CHRISTIAN FOOTBALL

COVID-19 has affected every high school football team differently. Coach Collins shares how COVID-19 has impacted Oaks Christian football over the past few months:

“A few months ago it was really difficult because of the uncertainty, but over the last couple of months we’ve been able to get back and do some conditioning work. But prior to that we had to do Zoom and get install done that way. The good thing is we’ve been able to build up our kids IQ’s through film study on the Zooms. That worked out for us because it made us smarter. We turned it into a positive. We got better between the ears.”

BEST-CASE SCENARIO FOR OAKS CHRISTIAN

A CIF title. Realistically, Oaks Christian could win a Division 2 or Division 3 title in the Southern Section.

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

A deep playoff run. The one major question mark for Oaks Christian is what kind of production they will get at the quarterback spot after losing Jameson Wang and Patrick Roberg to graduation. If whoever wins the job plays well, this team is a CIF title contender. If there are issues under center, Oaks Christian has enough talent to overcome that and still win playoff games.

The Marmonte League looks a little bit different this year with Grace Brethren coming in and St. Bonaventure and Newbury Park leaving, but Oaks will certainly still contend for a league title.

COACH SAID

“Coming off of a 5-5 regular season a year ago, I think between the experience all of our young guys gained last year, plus the guys we’ve brought in, I don’t want to jinx anything, but we’re going to be dangerous. We’re definitely going to be explosive on offense in my opinion.

“We can run the football as well as anybody and last year we were able to beat Sierra Canyon and Chaminade, the two teams who played in the Division 2 championship, by running the ball and we return a lot of the guys who made that happen.

“We have some strengths on the outside too. We’re going to be balanced for sure. We can score in different ways based on the personnel we have this year.”

— Charles Collins

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