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California’s Top 50 high school football teams: 'Winning the close games is a focus' for No. 44 San Juan Hills

Quarterback Michael Tollefson and linebacker Weston Port are only sophomores, but the duo have already become top recruits nationally.

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California ahead of the 2022 season. Here’s an inside look at the San Juan Hills Stallions of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 44 team in our countdown.




Robert Frith

  • 6th season as San Juan Hills head coach
  • Overall record at San Juan Hills: 24-18
  • CIF champion in 2019


  • 3-7 overall record
  • 1-2 in South Coast League (3rd)


(All games are at 7 p.m.)

*San Juan Hills is now in the Sea View League*

  • Aug. 19 vs. Santa Margarita
  • Aug. 25 @ Cypress
  • Sep. 2 @ Roosevelt
  • Sep. 9 @ Yorba Linda
  • Sep. 15 @ Corona Del Mar
  • Sep. 23 vs. El Modena
  • Sep. 30 @ Tesoro
  • Oct. 14 @ El Toro
  • Oct. 21 @ Trabuco Hills
  • Oct. 28 vs. Aliso Niguel


  • John Gaines - RB - Graduation
  • Braden Pegan - WR - Graduation (UCLA)
  • Elijah Barclay - WR - Graduation (Nevada)
  • Cole Monach - WR - Graduation (USD)
  • Jaden Williams - LB - Graduation


QB Michael "Butter" Tollefson - Soph. - 6-1, 175

Offer sheet: 14 offers including Georgia, Oregon and Miami

Coach said: “I’ve seen him mature tremendously, I’ve seen him get bigger and stronger and taller. His arm strength has improved, he ran track in the spring, so his foot speed has improved... I’ve seen the growth in him physically, the ball is coming out of his hand a little quicker. Physically he’s one of the best I’ve seen but mentally with his maturity level and his IQ is off the charts as well.”

2021 stats: Completed 103 of 171 passes for 1,307 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, also rushed for 449 yards and 6 touchdowns

LB Weston Port - Soph. - 6-2, 220

Offer sheet: 18 offers including Georgia, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Oregon

Coach said: “He competed in basketball and then when it was over, he got right back in the weight room and I’ve seen him get bigger and stronger. He puts a tremendous amount of value in his development in the weight room and when we got to spring football it’s like he started right up where he left off. He’s a very good football player, he’s very tough to defend especially on the perimeter. He lines up in a three-point stance and he’s coming off that weak-side for us. He’s got really good tenacity and chases the ball down on every play.”

2021 stats: 91 tackles (25 tackles for loss) and 12 sacks

C/DT Ryan MacDougall – Sr. – 6-1, 275

Coach said: “Fantastic player, does a great job with his hands. He’ll make all the calls up front, protection calls and identifying certain players. He’s a 4.0 student and has a couple offers.”

OL/DL Enzo Benzan – Sr. – 6-2, 280

Coach said: “He’s a 4.0 student and is getting a lot of looks from the Ivy League schools.”

LT Trevor Newkirk - Jr. - 6-7, 310

Coach said: “He’s our left tackle and he’s a Pac-12 offensive lineman in my opinion.”

TE/DE Brayden Bockler – Sr. 6-4, 245

Coach said: “He started for us as a sophomore and as a junior. He’s got offers from San Jose State, UNLV and Army. He’ll see some time on both sides and has had a fantastic summer. He’s probably our number one target for our quarterback.”

2021 stats: 15 catches for 122 yards

DB Chris Pioche – Sr. –5-10, 180

Coach said: “He’s a two-year starter.”

2021 stats: 17 tackles, 3 passes defended

LB Levi Crider - Sr. - 5-11, 180

Coach said: “He played a lot for us last year, special teams and got a lot of reps. He’s had a great offseason, great summer, so he’ll be floating around in the second level of our defense.”


San Juan Hills was disappointed with last year's 3-7 finish that began with a 38-14 loss at Santa Margarita in the opening week of the season.

They'll have a huge opportunity to start with a bang in week one of the regular season this year when they host Santa Margarita. The Eagles have been down in recent seasons, finishing with a winning record only once over the past four years, but are expected to be amongst California's top teams, just behind league foes Mater Dei and St. John Bosco.

“We haven’t talked a whole lot about week one," Frith said. "I think we’ve spent more time on ourselves and getting better each day with what we’re trying to get accomplished with offense and defense and special teams."

"That date is there and as we get closer to that game the focus will shift with preparing for Santa Margarita, a really good football program.”



The Stallions will have their hands full against an excellent Santa Margarita team in week one of the season but will see their schedule ease up after the opener.

San Juan Hills will have revenge on their mind as they embark on four straight games away from home, all of which come against teams that they lost to at home a season ago. The Stallions are in a better spot this season with their top playmakers on either side of the ball a year older, though they'll have to go out and prove what is expected of them.



San Juan Hills moves into the Sea View League this season and has to be looked as the favorite in the four team league that includes El Toro, Trabuco Hills, and Aliso Niguel.

A solid showing in the non-league portion of the schedule should set the Stallions up for success in their new league and allow them to flip their 3-7 finish from last season into a 7-3 record this year.


"We’re always physical and ready to hit people. Our defense is really stingy especially once we get in the red zone, we’re not easy to score on. We run an odd front, so we bring guys from all over the place, a lot of times we’re able to cause problems and confuse quarterbacks.”

“On offense we want to run a lot of plays. Our quarterback is very good, so we’ll give him the opportunity to make some choices at the line of scrimmage that’ll put us in the best position to be successful.”

“We are still very young. We’ve got 21 seniors but overall, we’re still a pretty young group. Coming off last year, we were 3-7 and it was disappointing for us. Winning the close games is a focus, we lost three games by under a total of I think 12 points last year. Winning those close games and finishing, those are the things coming off last year.”

-- Robert Frith