WESTLAKE VILLAGE - It isn?t every high school football team whose quarterback is the son of a Hall of Famer. What sets Oaks Christian apart is that, starting this fall, it will have two.
Nick Montana, meet Trevor Gretzky.
Nick, the son of NFL great Joe Montana, is transferring to the Westlake Village school for his junior year and could eventually have competition for the quarterback spot from Trevor, a sophomore who is the son of hockey great Wayne Gretzky.
To say that Nick and Trevor are the sons of Hall of Famers is a little like saying that Trey Smith, a sophomore receiver on the Oaks team, is the son of an actor.
That?s true as far as it goes. Trey is the son of Will Smith, one of the highest-grossing movie stars of his generation. When the elder Montana and Gretzky were playing, each was considered the dominant player of his era in his sport, and among the greatest ever.
All this is likely to make Oaks Christian football games a leading stop on the paparazzi circuit.
?It?s Celebrity High,? said Steve Clarkson, who provides private training for quarterbacks.
This is, of course, L.A., where children of celebrities are hardly a rarity. Not long ago, Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino had an outfielder by the name of Nicolai Bonds, son of all-time home run king Barry Bonds. And how many school plays have been graced (or not) by the offspring of Oscar winners?
Oaks Christian, which opened in 2000 and has a tuition of $21,640, has emphasized both academics and athletics to attract the sons and daughters of the rich and famous. As it expands its enrollment from 750 to 1,000 in the next couple of years, it is expected to become even more of an athletic powerhouse.
The football team in particular has become a dominant program, having won five consecutive Southern Section championships and six overall. The arrival this week of Nick Montana, a 6-foot-2 junior, from De La Salle High School in Concord is expected to help the Lions fill their one void for the coming season: a competent passer.
It means Oaks Christian is expected to have a serious chance to go 14-0 and earn a berth in a state championship bowl game.
Montana resembles his father, with blond hair, a distinctive chin and a similar throwing motion.
?He?s identical to his dad,? Clarkson said. ?If you saw him play, you?d swear it?s Joe.?
Nick Montana?s move also will take him closer to Clarkson.
?I?ve been working with him (Clarkson) for two to three years,? Montana said. ?I?ve been flying down two or three weekends a month to work with him, so (the move) will be a lot more convenient with that.?
Nick, the quarterback last season for De La Salle?s 9-1 junior varsity team, attended his first Oaks practice last Tuesday and left little doubt that he has the talent to be a major college recruit, with a strong arm and good mobility.
?It was good,? Nick said of his first practice session. ?I was getting used to the offense, but I liked what I saw.?
He said his family decided to move to Southern California because his father has business interests in the area. It helped that Oaks Christian is the alma mater of Jimmy Clausen, a sophomore at Notre Dame who was considered the No. 1 high school quarterback in the U.S. in 2006.