California’s Top 50 high school football teams: Maliki Crawford leads No. 48 Pacifica Oxnard Tritons

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California ahead of the fall 2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Oxnard Tritons of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 48 team in our countdown.

MORE: PRESEASON ALL-STATE TEAM | TOP 50 COUNTDOWN

PACIFICA OXNARD TEAM PAGE | 2021 FALL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

PACIFICA HEAD COACH

Mike Moon, 9th season

2021 SPRING AT A GLANCE

  • 5-0
  • 5-0 in Pacific View League (1st)
  • In 2019 Pacifica won the Division 6 Southern Section championship and 2-A CIF state championship.

IMPACT DEPARTURES

  • Devin Aupiu (LB) (Notre Dame signee but in the transfer portal) (6-5, 225)
  • Poi Aina (WR/DE) (6-4, 225) (Graduated)
  • Vika Aina (DE/LB/T) (6-0, 270) (Graduated)
  • Julio Torres (DB/WR) (6-0, 160) (Graduated)
  • Christian Alejandre (NG/C) (5-11, 220) (Graduated)

2021 FALL SCHEDULE

  • Aug. 27 vs. St. Bonaventure – 7:00PM
  • Sept. 3 @ Westlake – 7:00PM
  • Sept.. 10 @ West Ranch – 7:00PM
  • Sept. 17 vs. Channel Islands – 7:00PM
  • Sept. 24 vs. Simi Valley – 7:00PM
  • Oct. 1 @ Does Pueblos – 7:00PM
  • Oct. 8 @ Santa Barbara -7:00PM
  • Oct. 15 vs. Lompoc – 7:00PM
  • Oct. 22 vs. Rio Mesa – 7:00PM
  • Oct. 29 @ Oxnard – 7:00PM

RETURNING STARTERS

  • 8 on offense
  • 6 on defense

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Maliki Crawford (Junior-CB/WR/ST) (6-3, 175)

Coach Moon: “He’s such a huge part of what we do. He’s just a great kid in addition to being one of the top defensive players in the country.”

Offer sheet: He had 16 scholarship offers before committing to UCLA in early August.

2021 spring stats: 18 tackles, one interception, three receptions

Donald Dixon III (Senior-LT) (6-3, 290)

Coach Moon: “Donald was one of the best offensive lineman from our area in the spring. He’s a dominant player. He’ll play a little bit of defense for us too, but he’s the anchor to our offensive line.”

Niko Narez (Senior-LB) (6-0, 220)

Coach Moon: “Niko is the leader of our defense. He’s a dominant player on both sides of the ball. He was a little banged up last year but was a key contributor in some of our close games.”

Jordan Whitney (Junior-RB/LB) (6-1, 200)

Coach Moon: “You’ll hear Jordan’s name a lot in the next six months with college coaches and stuff like that. He was our offensive MVP in the spring but his future at the next level is on defense. He’s going to be a force for us.”

2021 spring stats: 42 carries, 295 yards, three TDs, 12 tackles on defense.

Antoine Henderson (Junior-NT) (5-10, 265)

Coach Moon: “Antoine is a very disruptive player. He’s a plug for us. We run a 3-3-5 defense, so without a good nose, we’re not a very good defense. He had a phenomenal year last year.”

2021 spring stats: 37 tackles and a forced fumble

Dayday Aupiu (Sophomore-CB/WR/QB) (6-1, 150)

Coach Moon: “Dayday is a special athlete. He was our fifth quarterback last season and he helped us win the league championship.”

2021 spring stats: Completed 6 of 9 passes for 84 yards and a TD, Made 16 tackles and had an interception on defense.

Josh Joyner (Sophomore-RB/WR/DB) (5-9, 160)

Coach Moon: “Josh is going to be a Division 1 kid.”

2021 spring stats: Had 22 carries for 101 yards.

Philip Kim (Sophomore-RB/S) (5-8, 170)

Coach Moon: “Philip is going to be one hell of a high school running back.”

2021 spring stats: Had 20 carries for 98 yards and one TD. Caught four passes, made six tackles and blocked a field goal.

Aidan Herrera (Senior-WR/DB) (6-0, 173)

Coach Moon: “Aidan was a big playmaker last year.”

2021 spring stats:: Made 11 catches for 244 yards and three TDs. Also made seven tackles and had two INTs

Tommy Alfaro (Junior-WR) (6-1, 160)

Coach Moon: “Tommy made a lot of plays for us last year.”

2021 spring stats: 25 catches for 320 yards and three TDs

Gabriel Rivera (Senior-OL) (6-0, 245)

Coach Moon: “Gabriel is one of four returning offensive linemen.”

Matt Amador (Senior-OL) (6-2, 270)

Coach Moon: “Matt is one of four returning offensive linemen.”

Junior Slade (Senior-DB/P) (5-10, 185)

Coach Moon: “Junior will move back to DB even though he helped us win a league title at QB a year ago.”

2021 spring stats: Completed 35 of 76 passes and threw three TDs, rushed for a TD and also made two tackles on defense

WHAT’S THE QUARTERBACK SITUATION?

There will be a freshman quarterbacking Pacifica this season, the question is which one? The two players competing are 5-foot-10, 150 pound Tagg Harrison and 5-foot-6, 150 pound Dominic Duran, the brother of Sierra Canyon senior quarterback Daniel Duran.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO FOR PACIFICA

Pacifica has a tough schedule facing off against St. Bonaventure, West Ranch and Simi Valley in the non-league. On paper, the Tritons could win every game on their schedule, but since they’re so young, dropping a couple to non-league foes or losing a league game to Oxnard or Ventura is definitely possible.

The best case scenario is 9-1 and a solid playoff seed in a tough division. Mike Moon has shown he’s one of the top coaches in the region and he has enough talent to have a good year. The QB will be young, but the Tritons went 5-0 using five QB’s last year — they can overcome a first year quarterback’s potential mistakes.

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

A 7-3 record. Moon is nervous about the non-league part of the schedule due to having a freshman QB and a lot of sophomores, but he thinks this can be a group that gets better every week and goes on a playoff run. In Moon’s eyes, a state championship type of team is most likely a year or two away.

COACH SAID

“Our offensive line is a huge strength along with our secondary. We’re returning our entire secondary. I really like our running game as well. We have a strong backfield. The question marks are the quarterback and our slot receivers.

We’ll have some developing to do early, but I really think we’re going to be a really good football team by the end of the year. We’ll be playing a lot of young guys, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be good. We may struggle early, but we’re going to learn.

My goal is to win a league championship and then obviously try and win a ring, but if we don’t, I’d like to lay the groundwork for a championship in the next couple of years. This year though, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

— Head Coach Mike Moon

MORE: PRESEASON ALL-STATE TEAM | TOP 50 COUNTDOWN

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