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Ex-Tar's transfer gets OK

Yokoyama, Newport Harbor's star tailback last season, is eligible at Mission Viejo in 2011.

August 17, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com

Buzzy Yokoyama still has a picture on his Twitter profile of him in a Newport Harbor High football uniform. He has his back turned to the camera after scoring a touchdown last season.

That will not happen again with the Sailors. The standout running back is officially gone from Newport Harbor.

The CIF Southern Section approved Yokoyama's transfer to Mission Viejo High, making him athletically eligible to compete in his senior year after a valid change of residence, said Thom Simmons, a section spokesperson.

Simmons said Newport Harbor signed off on Yokoyama's transfer.

"The paperwork came in and the former school did not indicate on the 510 [transfer] form that there was previous pre-enrollment contact with the new school," Simmons said. "All the paperwork, the gas bill, the electricity bill, lease for a new residence, all of that is up to the receiving school to validate a residential change. We do not verify the new residence."

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Yokoyama, a first-team All-Sunset League pick last season, is taking his talents down south to Mission Viejo, a program ESPN ranked fifth in the nation in its high school preseason poll. The Diablos' gain is the Sailors' loss.

Yokoyama gives the Diablos another strong option at running back to go along with Jahleel Pinner, a USC commit. Mission Viejo is loaded again and it plans to make a run at a second straight CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division title-game appearance.

Without Yokoyama, who rushed for 1,250 yards and 12 touchdowns, despite missing three games because of a dislocated right kneecap he suffered as a junior, the Sailors enter camp Thursday with a running back by committee.

Newport Harbor Coach Jeff Brinkley named four players he plans to use in the backfield: seniors AJ Swies, Titus Hasson and Ethan Cochran, and junior Tala Teaupa. The combined rushing totals from those four last year fall way short of Yokoyama's production on varsity. Swies was hurt most of last season, Hasson started at safety and Cochran at outside linebacker, while Teaupa spent most of his time as the junior varsity tailback.

Yokoyama is slated to make his debut with Mission Viejo on Sept. 2, when the Diablos open the season at home against Centennial of Bakersfield.

While Yokoyama is eligible to play, his status can change if it is found that he transferred for athletic purposes.

"If they come up with compelling evidence," Simmons said, "we would look into it."

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