Sondheimer: Summer of growth spurts creates a buzz in high school football


Wearing size 18 shoes, Luke Sorensen of Servite High might be able to rattle a floor with every step. His parents probably know not to buy any new clothes until the summer is over because there’s no telling how much taller he might get in a matter of weeks.

“I’m on my way to 6-7,” Sorensen said.

He’s listed at 6 feet 4 and 230 pounds. He was a right tackle last season as a sophomore but has moved to tight end this season. He’s one of many high school football players this summer going through growth spurts that will change the way they look, causing coaches and fans to get excited about the future.

Let’s examine some players with big upsides because of their changes in height, weight and physicality.

Max Markofski, Mission Viejo, receiver: As a freshman in the spring, he was Mission Viejo’s top track and field athlete. He started running the 100 meters in 11.83 seconds. His time went down to 11.26. In the 200, he ran 23.71 to start. It went to 22.78. He has grown to 6-4 and is closing in on 6-5. He adds another talent to what could be the best receiving group in Southern California.

James Moffat, Crespi, defensive tackle: The 16-year-old has grown to 6-4 and 250 pounds as a junior after entering high school at 6-1, 190. He has a 4.3 grade-point average. He’s ready to be unleashed this fall to be not only a standout on the field but off. “The coaches will push you to be the best,” he said.

Joseph Peko, Oaks Christian, defensive tackle. Listed at 275 pounds as a sophomore, Peko is now 6-3 and 310 pounds. He’s ready to be a brick wall in the middle of the Lions’ defense.

Hudson Campbell, Capistrano Valley, free safety. The 16-year-old Campbell is 6-2, 200 pounds and ready to be that physical free safety making tackles and intimidating receivers coming over the middle as a senior.

Chuck Perez, Garfield, defensive tackle. He has grown to 6-2 and 230 pounds for his junior season, and coach Lorenzo Hernandez said he will be “a handful” for opposing linemen.

Steele Pizzella, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, quarterback: He didn’t grow height wise but physically, he’s a changed person. His 100-meters time went from 10.96 to 10.64 as a junior. In the weight room, he increased his clean, squat and bench weights. And his mobility is way better.

Troy Taulua, Carson, free safety: He was 5-7 and 150 pounds as a freshman last season while earning All-City honors for his outstanding pass coverage. He has grown to 5-9 and 155 pounds. “He’s the real deal,” coach Mike Christensen said.

Darius Johnson, Murrieta Valley, cornerback: A contributor as a freshman (24 tackles) while playing at 140 pounds, Johnson continues to grow. He’s up to 6-1, 160 pounds and will be a valuable secondary contributor.

Brady Bretthauer, Valencia, quarterback: The junior lost weight, gained muscle and changed his body, causing coach Larry Muir to predict he’s going to have a breakthrough season in his first as a starter.

Daniel Shipp, Corona Centennial, offensive lineman: Injured as a junior when he was 6-3 and 250 pounds, he has grown to 6-6, 275 pounds. Athletic and a 16-year-old senior, he’ll be closely watched as he makes his first appearance since his sophomore season.

Larry Baer, Quartz Hill, offensive lineman: He has gone from a 6-2, 215-pound freshman to a 6-4, 250-pound sophomore while starting at left tackle with a huge upside.

Jacob Paisano, Hart, quarterback: Moving up from the junior varsity team, Paisano has grown to 6-2 and been given the keys to take over directing an offense known for its great quarterbacks. He’ll be a junior this fall.

James Montes, Granada Hills Kennedy, defensive lineman: At 185 pounds last season as a sophomore, Montes was the defensive lineman of the year in the Valley Mission League. Now he’s up to 220 pounds and benching 300 pounds.



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