• Jefe

    It seems like this kid has been playing for La Serna for 10 years now.

  • 12th man

    If it seemed like something was missing from the CIF-SS football playoffs last season, it’s because there was.

    La Habra, which had reached at least the semifinals every year since 2002, failed to reach the final four of the CIF-SS Southwest Division, falling to Foothill, 30-27, in the quarterfinals.

    Highlanders coach Frank Mazzotta said there were times when his team played as well as it could last season, but it was limited by a dearth of senior experience.

    Most programs would sign up in a heartbeat for an 8-4 season, winning the Freeway League title and a trip to the quarterfinals, but La Habra won four consecutive CIF championships from 2007-10 (one in the Southeast Division and three in the Southwest), so titles are a priority.

    Mazzotta’s message for his team this summer as it gets ready for the coming season: Be a better team than it was a year ago.

    That shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for the Highlanders, who should get a big boost from a couple of key transfers. They are also welcoming back about nine starters on each side of the ball.

    Greg Gaines, a 6-foot-1, 297-pound defensive tackle committed to Boise State, will be the Highlanders’ top returning starter from a year ago, but now there will be quite a cavalry joining him.

    Toa Lobendahn, an offensive lineman who is a four-star recruit according to Rivals, Scout and ESPN, is the headliner of the newest crop of players. He played at Lakewood High last season.

    Lobendahn (6-3, 295), a USC commit, will be joined by a pair of former players from St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs. Receiver/tight end Darrell Cloy (6-3, 220) will be a large target for the La Habra offense and Elijah Carter (5-8, 160) is expected to make plays as a defensive back and slot receiver.

    “They should have a big impact, they’re good football players,” Mazzotta said.

    The player who should reap the most benefits from these new arrivals began last season on the freshmen team. Eric Barriere, now a sophomore, will be taking the snaps at quarterback for the Highlanders.

    Mazzotta showered the young quarterback with praise after the team participated in Saturday’s “Battle at the Beach” passing tournament at Edison High.

    “He’s only a sophomore, but I know he can play,” Mazzotta said. “I saw him play, he’s legitimate. The varsity stuff doesn’t bother him. He’s going to be really good.”

    With a couple of new targets this fall, Barriere said the offense should be more well-rounded this season. But he seemed most excited about his protection up front.

    “It feels good (to have Lobendahn),” Barriere said. “Nobody will (be able to sack me) from the backside.”

    While there will be plenty of new faces on the La Habra roster, the most significant offseason move might have been the one that didn’t happen.

    When Troy Thomas stepped down as Servite’s coach to return to Crespi, many people threw Mazzotta’s name around as a possible coaching candidate for the Friars.

    “I try to explain to people, it’s not like college football where you just (leave),” Mazzotta said. “I’ve been at La Habra, this is now my 16th season, you just don’t walk away from 16 years in a district. This will be my 21st year with public schools.”

    Servite didn’t reach out to him, according to Mazzotta, and he said he didn’t reach out to the school. Both parties, he said, should be happy with the choices they made. (The Friars picked A.J. Gass as their head coach.)

    So with the a slew of impact transfers, a new but promising talent at quarterback, and a stable force coaching from the sideline, the Highlanders are setting their sights high this season.

    “Our goal is to win CIF,” said linebacker Alex Bush.

    That attitude could take the Highlanders deep into the CIF-SS playoffs this fall.

    • Aaron

      why did you post this here…and without a link

    • Southeast follower

      With all the talk in the region about questionable transfers you bring up La Habra. Someone should look into these transfers. Anyway isn’t the post about Frankie Palmer not about La Habra. Barriere look ok at one of the passing tournaments, we will have to wait to see if he can take a hit or handle the pressure of the schedule that LH will play.

    • He Hate Me

      Nice. And as a Rent-A-Player coach said in his own words recently, “We’re back to La Habra levels…” -he should’ve finished hos comment with “thanks to our transfers.” I guess their talent pool isn’t so good anymore if they need transfers to get back to “La Habra levels.”
      With the Sunset League now in their division, they won’t be winning any Division Championships anytime soon. The proof was in the pudding last year with the division crowning a champ from the newcomers to the division.

      Good luck to Frankie and the Lancers! A four-year Lancer! What a novel concept. Congratulations to his parents too for not chasing championships and nearly getting one the last two years!

  • New York

    Fun to watch. Is this the same soundtrack as La Mirada’s most recent promo?

  • Lock-N-Load

    Kid took a beating in the Norco game last year..and he is no where near 5`11…tough player though

  • Tom Thumb

    I think maybe they should have a Frankie Palmer Bobble Head Day this year.