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San Juan Hills freshmen Michael ‘Butter’ Tollefson, Weston Port play beyond their years

San Juan Hills freshman quarterback Michael "Butter" Tollefson steps back to throw during a high school football practice in San Juan Capistrano, Oct. 5, 2021. Tollefson and teammate Weston Port are two freshmen who are making an impact this season. (Ryan Kuhn, SOCoPrepSports.com)

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Qarterback Michael “Butter” Tollefson and linebacker Weston Port continue to make plays for San Juan Hills’ football team on a weekly basis.

This past Friday, Tollefson casually threw three touchdown passes against El Toro. 

And Port, well he currently sits third among all Orange County defensive players in sacks.  

Their demeanor, determination and skill should show their experience.

But that’s not necessarily the case this time around. 

The two’s experience totals a combined six high school football games. 

Tollefson and Port are only freshmen, but their impact has shown to be treasured.

“We are in a very unique situation, but a good (situation),” Stallions coach Rob Frith said. “Nowadays these freshmen show up varsity ready. If you are good enough, even if you are an incoming freshmen, I’m going to give you a shot because I want the best.”

Tollefson arrived to San Juan Hills after moving from Las Vegas just five months ago.

His first throws came late in the fourth quarter while his team was losing big to Santa Margarita.

Over the next few weeks he saw some time after teammate Colton Joseph suffered an injury and got his first start on Sept. 17 against Corona del Mar.

The Stallions lost the game, but he threw for 311 yards and scored four touchdowns while playing every down.  

San Juan Hills freshman quarterback Michael “Butter” Tollefson steps back to throw during a high school football practice in San Juan Capistrano, Oct. 5, 2021. Tollefson passed for 285 yards and three touchdowns last week against El Toro. (Ryan Kuhn, SOCoPrepSports.com)

“When I go out on the field, I don’t feel like a freshman,” Tollefson said. “I just go out there and play. I’m not scared. I don’t think anybody is better than me.”

Two weeks later his success continued as he finished completing 14-of-21 passes including a 94-yard touchdown pass to Braden Pegan. 

The pass was smooth as his nickname his mother gave him. 

“Butter, butter were the first lyrics of the song I used to sing to him while rocking him to sleep as a baby,” Bridgette Tollefson said. “Butter just stuck.”

Port was also given an opportunity to show what he could do in the season opener against Santa Margarita.

He finished with two sacks and it wasn’t too long after that Frith made him a team captain.

“These kids are playing competitive sports really early and I think you have the training that has gotten a lot better,” Frith said. “You have these gurus that are willing to take people’s money to train kids and there’s a lot to be said with the kids finding the right teachers to teach technique.”

Port took a similar route when he was enrolled into The Togethership, a private middle school in Lake Forest that “was formed to provide these hyper focused (middle school) student-athletes every opportunity and advantage possible to achieve their goals on and off the court and field.”

“I would not be where I am without The Togethership,” Port said.

San Juan Hills freshman linebacker Weston Port participates in a drill during a high school football practice, Oct. 5, 2021. Port is third in Orange County in sacks. (Ryan Kuhn, SOCoPrepSports.com)

Port’s football regiment included training and learning football in the morning and then focusing on academics in the afternoon. 

“Just learning about the positions and your responsibility in everything,” Port said. “They taught us everything.”

Port has receded at least a half of sack in four out of the six games this season but his ability doesn’t stop with his 6-foot-2, 21-pound frame. Frith said it’s his tenacity. 

“That kid leaves it out on the field every rep,” Frith said. “He just won’t quit.”

You don’t see many freshmen play on Friday nights.

In fact, only eight freshmen suit up on varsity teams within South Orange County public high schools. 

But for the two Stallions, age is simply just a number. 

“When you go out on the field, it doesn’t really matter how old you are,” Tollefson said. “You are just playing against the guy across from you and you are trying to beat him.”

Born and raised in Dana Point, Ryan went to Dana Hills High School. He graduated from Sacramento State University in 2014 with a BA in Journalism. Throughout his career as a sports journalist, he has covered high schools, colleges, and professional teams. After working for multiple newspapers in as many states, he came to the conclusion that what he really wanted was to make sure the high schools in his hometown area got the sports coverage they deserved. Follow him on Twitter @rskuhn

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