by Josh Morgan
Las Lomas enjoyed a successful 2018 football season, going undefeated in league play and winning a few playoff games before eventually losing in the semifinals of NCS to Eureka. This year, the team is focused on not only winning NCS for the first time since 2005, but additionally making a deep run in the state playoffs, with the ultimate goal of winning their first state title in school history.
To do so, they will need to successfully replace the production from last year’s seniors. In many cases, Las Lomas will look to returning players to step up into larger roles this season. However, it also looks like they have gotten some help in the form of several transfer students.
This season, three transfer students will be tasked with stepping into large roles on the team right away: Sammy Von Felden from College Park, Elijah Lash from De La Salle, and Tyler Darr from Campolindo.
In our conversation with Coach Longero, he spoke very highly of the trio. “We are very fortunate that these kids moved in,” commented Longero. “We are excited about them being a part of our team and our school community.”
It can be very tough for students to attend a brand new school, especially so late in their academic careers. However, these three have done a fantastic job of fitting in, both on and off the field.
“Elijah, Sammy, and Tyler all came into Las Lomas not knowing anyone, and it probably took them three days [until] it felt like family,” said starting quarterback Everett Johnson. “Our team has a very strong bond in the locker room, we are all great friends and they fit in very well. They’re all great football players and great friends, very glad they came in.”
Sammy, Elijah, and Tyler may be crucial pieces to the football team this year, but they are students first. With that said, all three players seem to be very happy with the school, praising their experiences with Las Lomas so far.
“It was extremely welcoming when I transferred last year mid-semester,” expressed Von Felden, a linebacker and back-up quarterback. “I made friends pretty quickly and especially growing the bond over summer with my teammates… I mean, it’s made it so much easier in the transition.”
“It’s a good school. The teachers care and it’s a welcoming school,” commented the versatile Lash, who will be playing running back, tight end, wide receiver, linebacker, and defensive end for Las Lomas this season.
“As a school, it is a really welcoming environment and everybody’s really nice, and the teachers are good… I really like the classes here,” added Darr, a safety and wide receiver.
The fact that all of them used the same word, welcoming, to describe their experiences so far is quite the compliment to the Las Lomas staff and student body. Darr and Von Felden also spoke similarly about their time so far with the football team, but this time using a different word: family. “It has been a really welcoming environment, and right as I stepped in, the team made me feel like family and everyone was really close,” said Darr. “It was really easy to start up here.”
Von Felden echoed Darr’s thoughts. “Coming here… there’s a family vibe to it… so it’s a lot of fun. The team is really good, we’re all working together, and we’re looking really good.” All three players are seniors, which provides the team with valuable veteran experience and a good influence on the younger players. “They’re very good leaders,” Johnson said about how all three have stepped up into a leadership role, despite being so new to the team. “You think someone coming into a new school would be kinda shy at first, but they all came in, worked hard, and were vocal leaders.”
The three have fit in so well, that Johnson and the rest of the team have plenty of fond memories with them already. “One funny story about Tyler Darr, no one ever calls him Tyler on the team, it’s just Darr, and whenever he would run to the field, our team just slowly chants ‘Darr! Darr! Darr!’ That’s kinda a running joke, whenever we see Tyler, whenever he’s like pulling up to a function late, we start chanting [his name].’”
The team, with these three players included, are sure to make plenty more memories this season. After all, it sounds like we could be playing football deep into the postseason in what looks like a very promising year. When asked about their expectations for the season, all three of them responded with a single word, one that we will continue to hear throughout the season if the team can build off last year’s success. So, despite coming from different schools and different backgrounds, these three student-athletes are united by one goal.