It’s the only high school football snack bar that sells autograph pens. At any given game you may seen Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky, Will Smith, or even Tom Cruise in the stands. I attended an Oaks Christian High School game last season and it’s actually kind of hilarious: The real Hollywood High.
You probably know by now that Montana, Gretzky and Smith all have sons who play football at Oaks Christian in Westlake Village (near Los Angeles). The update is that starting quarterback Nick Montana, a senior, has led the Lions to an 8-0 record so far, and a No. 5 spot in USA TODAY’s Super 25 football rankings. Oaks Christian, in fact, hasn’t lost a game since Oct. 19, 2007 — a 29-game win streak, 22 of those victories directed by Montana.
The Lions’ previous-best winning streak, 48 games, was fashioned primarily by quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who threw 49 TD passes in his senior season, 2006. When Nick Montana heads to the Washington Huskies next fall, starting QB duties will fall to Trevor Gretzky, who eschewed skates for cleats because, after all, he grew up in southern California. Trey Smith, a receiver, is also a junior. His father still owes me $10.50 for “Hancock.”
USA TODAY revisis the phenomenon of the Oaks Christian triplets.
The Lions are 87-5 since the beginning of the 2003 season and this year are aiming for a seventh consecutive CIF division title and a second state title. But there is something more intriguing, more exciting, more sexy about this one. That’s because Joe Montana and Wayne Gretzky and Will Smith aren’t detached celebrity dads who send a congratulatory text when their sons’ team wins. They’re in the stands, sipping bad coffee and getting gum on their shoes and agonizing over their kids’ performance on Friday nights just like other parents across the country.
“People call us ‘Hollywood High’ and stuff, but it’s really not like that,” Wayne Gretzky says. “People are people, and kids are kids. Nick, Trevor and Trey, all three of them are respectful. They’re good kids.”
Actually, it is a little like Hollywood High. Although Oaks Christian athletics director Jan Hethcock declines to name names for privacy’s sake, he says a number of A-level Hollywood celebrities have enrolled their kids.
Oaks Christian’s dirty secret: They play the weakest schedule known to prep sports, having won their games this year by a combined score of 349-68 (although one of the wins was against nationally-ranked Skyline of Washington State). The good news: Gretzky will inherit a team that is changing leagues: Oaks Christian moving to the much tougher Maramonte League with perennial SoCal power St. Bonaventure.
What amazes me is that Joe Montana had the foresight to allow his son to commit to Washington, which — even though Steve Sarkisian was by then the coach — had just completed a 0-12 season. And now we wait for the inevitable Nick Montana-Matt Barkley Pac-10 showdown (probably not til 2011).