Let’s play connect the dots with the La Mirada High School football program.
In December, wildly successful head coach and the face of Matadores football for the past 25 years Mike Moschetti resigns following a CIF championship game loss to Edison … in March the school names Moschetti assistant Joaquin Aguilar as its new head coach … in spring, it’s learned that following next school year La Mirada will be playing in a four-team league starting with the 2018-19 school year … just last week, Moschetti, in a somewhat unprecedented move, takes to social media to announce he has been moved from the high school to a grade school to continue teaching physical education.
What’s followed since Moschetti’s announcement has been a social media firestorm that’s featured recently graduated players and parents lighting up the school’s administration with either short blasts or incoherent and long-winded cries of displeasure.
Moschetti has always been able to strum the psyche of his hometown like a banjo. So, the rip-roaring response from his online contingent is no surprise. But conversely, Moschetti has put in far more to La Mirada football than he could ever hope to get out.
With the start of the season less than 100 days away, La Mirada football looks to be in serious peril. There are no on-campus varsity football coaches. Although he had technically resigned his football post, Moschetti was still playing a big role behind the scenes, meeting with college recruiters and such. But he’s now preparing to teach 2nd Graders the fundamentals of the I-formation to whatever degree that they’ll understand it.
Something smells, right?
The usual bevy of transfer excitement that was key in lifting La Mirada’s program from powerful neighborhood team to among SoCal’s elite has been awfully quiet of late. To wit, La Mirada has not landed one impact transfer this offseason. At least not yet. And what are the odds it happens now?
Keep in mind that this is a program that, according to casual estimates, has had around 50 transfers in the past four seasons. Also keep in mind that CIF is about to reward La Mirada for all of its recent success by likely sending the Mats to Division 2. Of course, that only matters if you make the playoffs.
Indeed, the post-Moschetti era is off to a horrible start. Aguilar and his coaching staff now have to pick up the pieces. They’re good enough to do so but sans the type of transfer talent that made the program go the past few years, and given all the ongoing distractions, La Mirada looks like it’s headed to a gun fight with a butter knife against yet another ridiculously tough nonleague schedule that includes Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran and Upland.
For those sitting back taking joy in La Mirada’s demise-in-progress, just know that this could happen to you. It’s a great reminder that all top public school football programs (and some privates) are merely a house of cards.
It’s also a reminder that when you live by the transfer, success is an escalator up and an elevator down. The historical examples are endless. La Mirada’s ascent in recent years was fueled by a combination of strong homegrown talent rounded out with exceptional outsiders. That’s how good programs turn elite.
You hate to a condemn a team before a down has even been played, but if you’re connecting the dots, it’s hard to put any heart, pride or trust into La Mirada’s immediate outlook.