MUST READ: La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti sounds off about recruiting success and fending off private schools for local talent …

La Mirada High School is not usually the first name that rolls off the tongue when people talk about Southern California prep football recruiting hotbeds.

Until this year, that is.

While most local teams are doing the usual offseason weight lifting and conditioning in preparation for the upcoming season, La Mirada is doing that and entertaining heavy interest in several top recruits that lured a who’s who college football coaching personalities to their campus this winter.

“What we try to do here as a coaching staff, athletic department and administration is split the season into three different parts,” La Mirada head coach Mike Moschetti said. “You’ve got summer and spring football, you’ve got your season, then you’ve got your recruiting season.

“These kids at La Mirada, on the field and in the weight room, they give you their heart and soul. So, in return as an administration and a coaching staff, we try to give them back our heart and soul when it comes to recruiting.”

La Mirada has been no stranger to sending players to the next level in recent years, but this year is different. The Matadores feature two of the top recruits in the country in linebacker/tight end Tyler Luatua and receiver Dallis Todd. Pick a college football powerhouse and odds are that both Luatua and Todd have an offer from it.

Then, there’s Class of 2015 quarterback Kevin Dillman, who already had nine offers in tow in between his freshman and sophomore season. Dillman getting injured during his sophomore season, but the interest has picked right back up. Also getting interest is junior-to-be lineman Anthony Cerillo, who had an offer from Colorado as a freshman before ever playing a down of varsity football.

Keep in mind, this is La Mirada we’re talking about. Not Servite. Not Mater Dei. Not Bishop Amat. Not La Habra. But La Mirada, a team that was bounced from the CIF-Southern Section playoffs last fall in the second round by Santa Fe.

The trick is in the marketing, according to Moschetti. He and his staff work tirelessly to get out the names and highlight films of their players. And they send them not just to Division I schools, but also to Division II, III and NAIA colleges as well. In addition to being proactive with the colleges, Moschetti is also relentless with the media. It’s not uncommon for media members and recruiting experts on his list to receive several text messages a day updating the recruitment of his players.

“A lot of schools have players, it’s just that nobody knows about them,” Moschetti said. “When our football season is over, we make all our kids highlight tapes and start sending them out to every school in the country. We have guys who are relentless. Not just sending the film out, but you’ve got to email. We have 10 to 12 different coaches who are making phone calls every single day making sure the tape gets watched.

“But I think what makes me proud about La Mirada is that our coaches will keep calling schools, whether it’s Auburn or Adams State or an NAIA school in Ohio. We will keep calling and calling and calling until they say ‘We’re not interested.'”

La Mirada is surrounded on all sides by private schools, some of which with top-flight programs. The competition just to keep the local talent home is also fierce, but Moschetti is clearly winning the battle. When a well-known private school program recently made several overtures at his players, Moschetti responded by getting on the phone and making it clear to that coaching staff that they were barking up the wrong tree.

“I’m not going to get into schools’ names, but I can name one that’s close that’s actively recruiting our kids right now,” Moschetti said. “I’m not going to give names, but I get on the phone and I’m not going to back down to them.

“Tyler Luatua’s been recruited by a certain school for two years. They say ‘You should want to play against the best and for a private Catholic school.’ But Tyler’s argument back is ‘My brother (Isaac) played at La Mirada and he’s now at Alabama and they’ve won two national championships, so I don’t need to play for a private school.'”

As a player, Moschetti was a fiery competitor who quarterbacked La Mirada to a CIF championship in 1992. He later played at Colorado by way of Mt. SAC. That same bulldog spirit that helped him overcome any size limitations and led him to a successful college career seems to reemerge when he talks about maintaining a neighborhood football program at his alma mater, which very well could be pillaged for talent by bigger-name schools in the absence of Moschetti’s ownership.

“You can go to Mater Dei and pay tuition, but you can come to La Mirada where it’s free and still get recruited by Florida, Notre Dame, USC and Alabama,” Moschetti said. “The big misconception is ‘I have to go to Servite. I have to go to Bishop Amat. I have to go to Crespi to play Division I football’.

“I’ve never had a college coach once ask me ‘What division do you guys play in?’ If you make plays on film and take care of business in the classroom, you’re going to get recruited if you get your film out there.

“That’s my big argument. That’s our selling point. Why go to Servite? Why go to St. John Bosco when you can come to La Mirada and still get recruited? You can still play at an Ivy League school. You can still have a Steve Sarkisian or a Brian Kelly or Alabama’s offensive coordinator on our campus. And they’re not asking about what division you’re in or who you played against.”

Moschetti’s detractors will point to the fact that even with all that talent, the Matadores were bounced from the Southeast Division playoffs by a nondescript Santa Fe team. Prior to that, though, La Mirada gave a strong account of itself in the nonleague by beating St. Paul, La Habra, St. Francis and even giving Bishop Amat a good run before losing by 10.

Moschetti has won a CIF title as a coach. In 2009, he guided La Mirada to a 13-1 record and Southern Division championship. But anything less than another division title in 2013, given all the talent on hand, will be considered a major disappointment.

Moschetti knows all the recruiting buzz will lead to high expectations and put a target on his team’s chest. The area will quickly know just what to make of La Mirada and all its talent because the Matadores have a nonleague schedule that includes Servite, Tesoro, La Habra and St. Francis.

“It was a disappointing season for us,” Moschetti said about 2012. “I’m as hard on myself as anybody. I’ve got to coach better. Last year was a huge disappointment. We want to win just like everybody else.

“I think the excitement now is not necessarily about recruiting, it’s about getting better. Spring ball is right around the corner. That’s what the kids are excited about.”

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  • The truth and nothing but…


  • GP AKA Green Machine

    La Mirada, might have the most talent in the area…but they under achieved over there. This year is a big statement year for them. If they can find a secondary, they could be in the finals.

  • The truth and nothing but…

    GP, get out of that weak a$$ division before accusing anyone of underachieving.

    • GP AKA Green Machine

      Hopefully soon, I am sure Monrovia could lose in the 2nd round in the southeast! That’s not hard to do. I never said La Mirada sucks!

      • The truth and nothing but…

        Yes, La Mirada did underachieve by losing in the second round. Whether Monrovia would have advanced to the second round, that mostly would depend who you play in the first round. Although it is an accomplishment to win a championship in any division, winning it in the Southeast is not the same as winning it in the Mid-Valley, but you already knew that.

        • GP AKA Green Machine

          yes, That’s why I did not say Monrovia would win the Southeast. That would have to be done on the field and quite frankly It’s hard to win a division in when you first get in that division. However, I watch La Mirada Play a down LA Habra, and I was suprised how much size LM had and speed. I think all the hype really hurt them. I also think their secondary is not very good. Why can’t someone make a statement about a team without some one diverting the topic. La Marida’s year had nothing to do with Monrovia.

          • The truth and nothing but…

            Your post just help prove my point, people from another school should not be commenting on La Mirada football. It just sounds stupid. First of all, the reason why LM lost in the second round had to do with almost a three week layoff before the playoff started because Cerritos had folded their program. That’s not an excuse, just a fact the coaching staff have learn from and will be better in handling the situation if it happens again. Secondly, if La Mirada were to play Monrovia, we would beat you by at least three touchdowns. Thirdly, our secondary were perhaps the weakness of our defense last year, all I can tell you is help is on the way. Fourth, Moschetti isn’t going any where. Why? When he is being treated well at LM by administration, parents, alumnus, and players while parents, boosters, and alumnus drove Troy Thomas out of Servite. Lastly, if you are looking for a pat on the back for Monrovia winning the Mid-Valley, you came to the wrong place.

          • GP AKA Green Machine

            That’s not True, How would you beat Monrovia by 3 tds? We did have a common opponents St Francis and Arcadia, and I think our defense held them to less points and we played them on the road ….We had practically the Same Score vs Arcadia…Monrovia doesn’t need a pat on the back from La Mirada…You guys choked it. Southeast or not…Don’t be Hurt…the SE is higher than the Midvalley, but it’s not the Pac 5 bro…and Monrovia would do well in SE play.

          • The truth and nothing but…

            I know I can bring the truth out of you, how Monrovia desperately want to join the adult table. Only one way to find out if you guys are ready, ask Maddox to call Mochetti to schedule a home and home. That Cerritos week may still be open.

          • GP AKA Green Machine

            Yeah so don’t say you would win by 3 tds…and don’t think you can’t lose either. Monrovia is not begging for anything. when you are a public school of only 1700, you have to move up slowly…However, La Mirada should be the team to beat…I hope they don’t choke. After our 4peat, that should be enough to get Mtown to the South East.

          • The truth and nothing but…

            I am not backing away from LM will beat Monrovia by three touchdowns. If you disagree, let’s play.

          • The truth and nothing but…

            I am not backing away LM will beat Monrovia by at least three touchdowns. If you disagree, let’s play.

          • GP AKA Green Machine

            I would play if it was my call…but you didn’t beat Santa Fe by 3 tds….and Mtown is every bit as good with more speed

          • The truth and nothing but…

            No, LM didn’t beat SF by 3 tds. But was Buster Douglas better than Mike Tyson, was NC State better than Houston, was NYG better than SF, was Villanova better than Georgetown? That’s sports, the best team or the best person doesn’t always win.

          • John Spartan

            The best team that night always wins that’s why you have to play the game. And do you really think smashing some happles team is better than a bye week? Face it LM got caught up in their own hype and in my opinion got caught looking past an SF team that has shown for years as a team to be reconned with in the area as well as in their division. “I play not my 11 best, but my best 11.”- Knute Rockne. Congrats to all the LM recuits! Its awesome what the coaches are doing for their athletes and I wish them the best going forward but on that “NIGHT” a so called “nondescript” Santa Fe football program lead by Coach P were able for 60 minutes to put the best 11 on the field for the win.

          • GP AKA Green Machine

            Well Said…

          • LM Fan

            John Spartan….I don’t think LM got caught up in the hype but I do think they looked ahead.. I give all the props in the world for SF’s victory that night. They did what they need to do to win. That’s why they play, the game, right?

          • AMAT 73

            That’s where scheduling upper division teams in preseason and beating them comes into play on the blog . When you are knocking someone’s team who is in an upper division and your team hasn’t really proved they can win in that division or beat upper divison teams and you knock their team , those are the replies you get . At least you will have SF as a measuring stick between the two as you both play them this season . Until you start beating the Ayala’s and SH’s on a regular basis expect those replies . Somewhat like you reply to us for losing the games we do in our league and playoffs. Even you must admit that is one hell of a preaseason schedule .

      • LM Fan

        So LM underachieved. You know it, we know it, Coach knows it, the paper knows it, everyone knows it. We get it. Expectations this year are huge and we got it to get it done. So….why you making a big deal about it?

        • GP AKA Green Machine

          It’s just blogging come on…It was the topic of this thread…When the paper is crapping on Mtown…I take it like a man….come on.

          • LM Fan

            Actually, the topic was how Moschetti gets kids to the next level. I admit we underachieved but LM still gets scholarships. They had 2 more guys get D2 offers yesterday. Personally, I have a great deal of respect for M-Town. They also do a good job of getting kids to the next level. They have had a great run in their division and I do hope they move up. However, until then all we can do is speculate how well each team would do against each other. On that note….I’m with my compadre Truth….we win by 3 TD’s.

          • GP AKA Green Machine

            Well he had to contrast betweenthe fact that he has a lot of kids going to next level, and he had a early playoff exit. LM at one time was #2 in the SGV and was ranked in the LA times top 25. So what I wrote was relevant. Otherwise the coach would have not brought up the point that he underachieved. As Far as winning by 3 tds… you did not beat SF by 3 tds and in my opinion Mtown is every bit as good as SF.

          • LM Fan

            Nope, you guys are better than SF but we still beat you guys by 3 scores. :)

      • AMAT 73


        They might think the’re better then Monrovia because they play those teams and that’s their world . You write that Paramount and Rowland made the playoffs like it is a sign of how weak the division is with teams like that making the playoffs . Rowland was a pretty good team last season .Ask Aram or Fred , they will tell you . You can’t say how Monrovia would do in the Hacienda . Say they swap Walnut out MTown in . How would you know what playing DB, DR ,WC,LA, Bonita in a row then play Rowland would be like . By then I bet there is some wear and tear that Monrovia hasn’t faced and Rowland has . You have no idea of what it is to play tough teams like that in a row . Your league is a cake walk for you. Playoffs a little tougher and last year you proved you are the best in the MV with that run . But due to your league , you’re team is relatively fresh .The toughest team you faced was your own team until they got it together . You almost always look at one team like you did with Rowland to say you belong . But it’s the whole league and how you would do tells if you would fit . I don’t think you can show the blog any proof that Monrovia can hang against a run like that . I think maybe you should wait until they move your team up before you start talking playoffs in the SE .

        • GP AKA Green Machine

          you could be right…Nah… But I think it’s a safe bet to say Monrovia would be among the top 16 in the South East. Moreover if Monrovia was in any league in the SE it would be the Pacific league where Arcadia qualified for the South East Playoffs. Come on Amat 73 you are going to have to do better than that. You know GP can blog his way out of loose statement of that stature…You been around way to long. You know your just going to have to accept at least that…..

          • The truth and nothing but…

            I think what this is really about is you cannot stand the fact La Mirada is stealing all the thunder from Monrovia. Don’t hate, if you can’t beat us join us, we have good neighborhoods and nice homes in La Mirada. If they can play we will find a place for them.

  • Fatligian

    Funny how Moschetti talks smack about private schools and pumps up a “free experience” yet he’s looking into the Servite opening.

    • Aram Tolegian

      I suppose anything’s possible, but I must have asked him five different times about Servite opening and he was adamant about not being interested. He then gave me the “La Mirada til I die” speech, which I kinda fell for.

      • The truth and nothing but…

        I truly believe that’s how he feels about La Mirada. At La Mirada, he’s like a god with 100% support from administration, parents, and players. The same reason he would not leave La Mirada is the same reason coach K wouldn’t leave Duke (not even for the Lakers). I have heard when Troy Thomas bolted Servite, the parents, boosters, and alumnus were some of the reasons why he went back to Crespi. Moschetti is smart, he realize he has a good situation at La Mirada.

    • The truth and nothing but…

      Fatligian, please tell us more with what you know about coach Moschetti looking into the Servite opening. I do agree with him about the “free experience.” I have put my kids in private schools but I have found the academic standard is much tougher in public schools, combine that with a school environment that loves sports as much as any private school, La Mirada is a no brainer if you live in the area. In fact, most public schools in the area are doing well in sports and looks like it will continue to do well in the foreseeable future. Why spent the extra 12k per year if you don’t have to? I don’t know a single family who can’t use the extra money.

      • Aram Tolegian

        All I know is what he said — and that’s he is not interested.

  • SF Doe

    Mo town should play Santa fe. Why play la mirada when Santa fe beat them.

    • GP AKA Green Machine

      Right! I saw SF play La Serna…their coach had a bad night.

    • The truth and nothing but…

      To Santa Fe, the win means the world to the school, there really is very little else to hang your hat on. To La Mirada, it was just a bad game, disappointed but not a big deal, life moves on because LM knows there are bigger, better, and more important things ahead than dwelling on a loss.

      • GP AKA Green Machine

        that’s funny because Wesco Destroyed you the year prior, and then SF beat you too. What Makes you think they can’t do it again?

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