Redlands East Valley’s Jaelan Phillips will play in the 2017 Under Armor All-America football game.
Phillips said he became aware of the news this morning over the phone.
Carter coach Alex Pierce (left) and linebacker Lokeni Toailoa at Toailoa’s jersey presentation for the Under Armour All-American game this week.
“It was great,” coach Alex Pierce said. “As far as I know, he’s the first one from Rialto to get this. It’s quite an honor.”
It’s probably good for the Lions to get that out of the way now. Carter has a bye this week and then next week faces defending state Division II champion Redlands East Valley in the Citrus Belt League opener after getting blown out last year, 45-14. Distractions aren’t a big problem on a bye week, but on REV week, it certainly doesn’t help.
Toailoa’s 2015 season is just now getting underway for Carter (3-0). He missed most of a Week 0 win over Los Osos after he was ejected after a skirmish with an opposing player, then had to serve a one-game suspension in Week 1 vs. Rialto. Last week he was able to play more, recording seven total tackles (five solo), including two tackles for a loss in a rout of Riverside North. He also had two carries for 17 yards and a touchdown on offense.
Carter’s Lokeni Toailoa (2nd from the right in the above photo by Will Lester), currently ranked 10th among inside linebacker recruits in the country among the class of 2016, will be part of a ceremony next week at the school.
It will take place next Tuesday, Sept. 15 at noon at the school, where he will be presented with his jersey for the Under Armor All-America Game, which will be played on Jan. 2 and televised on ESPN2.
Yes, on the surface the reason they’re doing this ceremony is to honor one of the top high school football players in the country.
But to me, there are two other reasons for the event:
1. Publicize the game in the local community to increase viewership on TV.
2. Lock the player into the game. I’m guessing it’s less likely (although not impossible) for a player to change his mind about playing in a game if he’s been presented with a jersey in advance.