California’s Top 50 high school football teams: QB Cole Tannenbaum, No. 38 Oaks Christian poised for big season

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 Oaks Christian Lions of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 38 team in our countdown.

MORE: PRESEASON ALL-STATE TEAM | TOP 50 COUNTDOWN

OAKS CHRISTIAN TEAM PAGE | 2021 FALL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

OAKS CHRISTIAN HEAD COACH

Charles Collins – 5th season – (32-12)

2021 SPRING AT A GLANCE

  • 3-2 – (Had a forfeit league loss against Calabasas)
  • 1-1 in Marmonte League (2nd place)

IMPACT DEPARTURES

  • Kaylin Moore (DB) (6-0, 180) (Colorado signee) (Graduated)
  • Kekoa Pele-Allen (OL/DT) (6-3, 310) (Graduated)
  • Semaj Freeman (RB) (5-11, 195) (Graduated)
  • Derek Boyd (Senior-RB) (5-11, 180) (Transferred to Lawndale)
  • Amari Powell (Senior-QB) (Transferred to Chaminade)

2021 FALL SCHEDULE

  • Aug. 20 vs. Chaminade – 7:00PM
  • Aug. 27 vs. Sierra Canyon – 7:00PM
  • Sept. 3 vs. Valor Christian – 7:00PM
  • Sept. 10 vs. Alemany – 7:00PM
  • Sept. 17 @ Damien – 7:00PM
  • Sept. 24 vs. Birmingham – 7:00PM
  • Oct. 15 @ Westlake – 7:00PM
  • Oct. 22 vs. Calabasas – 7:00PM
  • Oct. 29 vs. St. Bonaventure – 7:00PM

RETURNING STARTERS

  • 7 on offense
  • 6 on defense

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Sterling Lane (Senior-DE) (6-4, 240)

Sterling Lane

Coach Collins: “Sterling is a guy that loves football. He’s also a high character kid. I’m excited about him.”

Offer sheet: 15 Division 1 offers including Arizona, Michigan and Oregon

2021 spring stats: 34 tackles, five sacks and a fumble recovery

Mathias Malaki-Donaldson (Senior-DE) (6-5, 210)

Coach Collins: “He’s got a great motor. He can go and get the quarterback. I’m excited about him.”

Offer sheet: 11 Division 1 offers including Arizona, Florida State and Oregon State

2021 spring stats: 19 tackles, one sack

Cole Tannenbaum (Senior-QB) (6-4, 215)

Coach Collins: “Cole has turned a corner. He knows this is his team and he’s ready to lead. Arizona is hot on his trail. He’s had a great summer. He’s ready to drive the bus.”

2021 spring stats: Completed 56 of 95 passes for 803 yards, 9 TDs and three INTs

Khari Butler (Junior-WR) (6-2, 215)

Coach Collins: “He’s a monster out there. You’ll hear about him.”

Offer sheet: Oregon and USC

2021 spring stats: 12 catches for 143 yards

Jalen Lewis (Junior-WR/DB) (5-9, 185)

Coach Collins: “Jalen plays both ways. He’s like my version of Steve Smith on offense.”

Offer sheet: Seven offers including Arizona State, Oregon State and Washington State

2021 spring stats: Caught two passes, made 36 tackles

Chase Farrell (Sophomore-WR) (5-10, 165)

Coach Collins“Chase is very fast. We feel really good about our wideouts in terms of what they can do and what they bring.”

2021 spring stats: 10 catches, 148 yards, two TDs

Johnny Thompson (Junior-RB/DB) (5-11, 186)

Coach Collins“We feel really good about Johnny.”

2021 spring stats: Made 14 tackles and had a pick-six

Joseph Marsh (Junior-WR/DB)

Coach Collins“Joseph is another kid who will be good for us.”

2021 spring stats: Made three tackles and blocked a punt on special teams

WHAT’S THE QUARTERBACK SITUATION?

Senior Cole Tannenbaum will be the starter for Oaks Christian.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO FOR OAKS CHRISTIAN

The best case scenario for Oaks Christian is a 6-3 regular season record and then a deep playoff push. The Lions, although very talented, have three very tough non-league games against Sierra Canyon, Valor Christian (Colorado), and Alemany. Games against Chaminade and Damien won’t be cakewalks either. Oaks Christian should go undefeated in the Marmonte League and then go on a run in the Division 2 or 3 playoffs. If Tannenbaum takes a major step forward, the Lions could even contend for a Section title.

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

The most realistic scenario is winning the Marmonte League and winning a playoff game or two.

COACH SAID

“We expect to win our league and get into the playoffs. Being a new and young team, we might have a hiccup here or there, we’ll see. I feel pretty good about our ability and what we can do. The expectations are always going to be high for us and we think we have a good chance. If we’re in Division 2 or 3, we can certainly make some things happen. We wish we had a few more linemen, but I feel pretty good.

There is a brotherhood with this team. They like each other. They’re cohesive, they like football and they’re gritty. I want to improve on our self inflicted turnovers from last season and stopping the run. We want to get better on third down on offense too. Our goals are to win a championship and be better than last season. Getting better every week in all phases will be key.

Our special teams have won us playoff games in the past and that unit will be very strong again for us.

— Head Coach Charles Collins

MORE: PRESEASON ALL-STATE TEAM | TOP 50 COUNTDOWN

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