Los Angeles Preps: Brett Paton
October, 6, 2011
By Dan Arritt | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Courtesy of Redlands East Valley High SchoolTrevor Douglass of Redlands East Valley comes from a long line of football players in his family.
Long before the Redlands East Valley and Mission Viejo high school football teams inked their nonleague game Friday night at University of Redlands, they were connected by a series of common threads.
Legendary coaches, gifted sons and men trying to carry on their father’s traditions.
The newest twist in the knot is Trevor Douglass, a returning all-Citrus Belt League strong safety for Redlands East Valley and the son of former El Toro High School quarterback Bryan Douglass, who played for Mission Viejo coach Bob Johnson during the early years of his now-legendary career.
Trevor’s three uncles also starred for Johnson.
Mike Douglass was the starting quarterback and his twin brother, Billy, was a defensive end on the El Toro team that won a Southern Section title in 1982, the first for Johnson and the school.
Mission Viejo’s defensive coordinator, Brett Paton, is a former teammate of the Douglass twins and is known as “Uncle Brett” by Trevor. A number of other Diablo assistants remain close friends with the Douglass clan.
Then there’s Redlands East Valley coach Kurt Bruich, a former Fontana High standout and the son of a legendary coach himself, Dick Bruich, winner of 292 career games and four section titles. Kurt Bruich played wide receiver for his dad in a victory against Fountain Valley at the 1987 Southern Section finals. The Barons were coached by current Mission Viejo assistant Mike Milner.
The following summer, Bruich caught passes in the Shrine all-star game from Johnson’s son, Bret, none other than the current offensive coordinator at Mission Viejo.
As the biggest game of the season approaches for Redlands East Valley, against a team ranked 31st in the nation by ESPN, many of those connected with the other side will have their minds on a certain family bond that’s missing.
Trevor’s grandmother, Sue Douglass, the mother of four football-playing boys and the wife of a longtime high school football coach, died of cancer Sept. 22 at her home in San Clemente. She was 75. Trevor knows Friday night’s game is the type his grandmother would have never missed.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “It means a lot to this family.”
The funeral was Sunday in San Juan Capistrano. Among the hundreds in attendance were past and present football coaches from throughout the Southland, including Johnson and Paton.
“The coaching network is a close-knit family,” Bryan said.