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Unbeaten San Juan Hills Enjoying Rarefied Football Air

Unbeaten San Juan Hills Enjoying Rarefied Football Air

San Juan Hills running back Sullivan Land (22). (Courtesy of San Juan Hills High School)

Dan Wood

Dan Wood

9/26/2023

Updated: 9/27/2023

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It would be quite a task to find a bigger high school football turnaround this season than what San Juan Hills has accomplished to this point.
The San Juan Capistrano, California, school will carry a 6–0 record into its rivalry matchup with visiting Tesoro Sept. 29. The Stallions are one of only seven undefeated teams in Orange County, joining Capistrano Valley, Kennedy, Laguna Hills, Mater Dei, Tustin, and Villa Park.
It is rarefied air, indeed, especially considering that San Juan Hills started last season 0–7 before rallying to finish 4–8.
“Right now, these guys are confident,” Coach Rob Frith told The Epoch Times after an impressive 39–18 victory at El Modena Sept. 21. “But they’re also humble because when we set foot on the practice field [every] Monday, we’re 0–0 and we have to start the process all over again.”
The reasons for the Stallions’ success are many, but everything starts with the standout linebacking tandem of senior Jake Javorsky and junior Weston Port right in the middle of what Mr. Frith called “a championship defense.”
San Juan Hills has limited opponents to an average of less than 14 points per game. Led by Javorsky and Port, who cited a rare “mutual connection and trust” between the two, the Stallions held El Modena to just one first down in six possessions during the game’s opening 20-plus minutes while building a 32–0 lead.
“Those guys are two of the best I’ve ever coached, two [future] Division I middle linebackers, and I just happen to have them both together at the same time,” said Mr. Frith, who is in his sixth year as San Juan Hills head coach after six seasons at El Toro. “They are tremendous leaders, in practice, on the field, and off the field.”
San Juan Hills linebackers Weston Port (13) and Jake Javorsky (44). (Courtesy of San Juan Hills High School)

San Juan Hills linebackers Weston Port (13) and Jake Javorsky (44). (Courtesy of San Juan Hills High School)

Each boasting an elite combination of size, speed, and agility, Javorsky and Port might be most valuable in the locker room.
“We’re playing for each other,” the 6-foot, 220-pound Javorsky told The Epoch Times, referencing the entire group. “Last year, that was a bit of an issue. It was kind of like certain players were playing for themselves, and that was a cancer to the team. Since January, we’ve been focusing on that, and it’s really benefited us.”
The change of direction might go back to the final few games of 2022, but it was an offseason meeting involving Javorsky and his fellow seniors that proved pivotal.
“We all realized it was an issue, and we talked to the coach,” Javorsky said. “We’ve just been on kids the whole time. We’ve been keeping them accountable. When they’re not doing the right thing, we make sure they know, and we get them up to speed. Last year was tough. It was not a great feeling, but it was a lesson learned. We knew what we didn’t want to have, and we knew what we wanted. We had a bigger goal going into this season.”
Port, who goes 6–2 and 225 pounds, put it more succinctly.
San Juan Hills linebacker Weston Port (13). (Courtesy of San Juan Hills High School)

San Juan Hills linebacker Weston Port (13). (Courtesy of San Juan Hills High School)

“It’s remembering all that we fell short of last year,” he told The Epoch Times. “We have a bunch of returners, especially on defense. We all have a chip on our shoulders and we’re hungry. We want to go get a CIF ring.”
After this week’s non-league finale, the Stallions will chase a Sea View League championship against El Toro, Trabuco Hills, and Aliso Niguel to close the regular season.
The presence of Javorsky and Port will no doubt be huge, including on offense, where they are sometimes utilized in a power package that enabled San Juan Hills to immediately seize control against El Modena. After receiving the opening kickoff, the Stallions drove 57 yards in nine plays, all on the ground, with diminutive senior running back Sullivan Land scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run.
“He’s small, but that kid runs like he’s 210 pounds,” Mr. Frith said. “He’s been our workhorse for the last two years. He’s a physical runner. He just doesn’t have the big physical stature.”
Land, who is listed at 5 feet 9 inches, 175 pounds, finished with 143 yards on 17 carries, including a 64-yard touchdown romp.
San Juan Hills running back Sullivan Land (22). (Courtesy of San Juan Hills High School)

San Juan Hills running back Sullivan Land (22). (Courtesy of San Juan Hills High School)

“I mean, of course, I don’t like people overlooking me because of my size,” Land told The Epoch Times. “I think I can bring power just as much as I can anything else. My whole football career, I’ve always been one of the smaller players, so I like to prove people wrong.”
While Land anchors the offensive backfield, senior Jason Robinson Jr. heads a gifted and deep receiving corps that includes his two younger brothers, junior Jadyn Robinson and freshman Skylar Robinson. The three transferred to San Juan Hills from Long Beach Poly prior to this season.
Jadyn Robinson missed the game against El Modena because of illness, but Jason Robinson Jr. hauled in six receptions for 83 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown catch.
“You have to know where that kid is at all times,” Mr. Frith said. “He’s one of the best receivers in the state, if not the country. We’re really lucky to have him on our side.”
The talented playmakers around him and a solid, capable offensive line have made things very comfortable for sophomore quarterback Timmy Herr.
San Juan Hills wide receiver Jason Robinson Jr. (5) and quarterback Timmy Herr (2). (Courtesy of San Juan Hills High School)

San Juan Hills wide receiver Jason Robinson Jr. (5) and quarterback Timmy Herr (2). (Courtesy of San Juan Hills High School)

A heady left-hander, Herr completed 15 of 19 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, with one interception, against El Modena. He also ran the ball eight times for 48 yards and a score.
“Timmy Herr is playing well beyond his years, well beyond his grade,” Mr. Frith said. “He’s a leader. He’s a student of the game. He’s very coachable. He goes out there on Friday night and plays his tail off, throwing the ball, running the ball. He’s a kid you can do it all with.”
Mr. Frith also dished a lot of credit for the team’s success to its coaching staff, specifically defensive coordinator Pete Silvey, linebackers coach Mike Mayoral, offensive coordinator Brad Curtis, and offensive-line coach Andy Jacobs.
“We have some pretty good coaches,” Mr. Frith said.
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Dan Wood

Dan Wood

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Dan Wood is a community sports reporter based in Orange County, California. He has covered sports professionally for some 43 years, spending nearly three decades in the newspaper industry and 14 years in radio. He is an avid music fan, with a strong lean toward country and classic rock.

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