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2014 Palomar League preview

08/18/2014, 9:00am PDT
By Terry Monahan, Special to the U-T

Mt. Carmel, Poway, Ramona, Rancho Bernardo, Westview


Mt. Carmel quarterback Lucas Johnson passed for 1,123 yards and seven TDs last season.

MT. CARMEL

Last year: 7-5

Coach: John Anderson, 4th year

Division: II

Key players: Lucas Johnson (QB), Brian Cate (C-DL), Derek Williams (WR-DB), Rashid Shaheed (RB), Jordan Gochenour (S), Carter Couch (OL), Kevin Benavente (RB), Jeremy Hunt (WR-S), Jaylen Jones (RB), Nathan Dunford (DE-TE).

Scouting report: The Sundevils return to the Palomar League with an impressive array of skill players, led by Johnson, a skinny 6-foot-3 quarterback who completed 50 percent of his passes last year for 1,123 yards and seven TDs. He also ran behind Cate, a first-team all-leaguer, and Couch, a second-team all-leaguer, for 628 yards and eight TDs. Williams caught 21 passes for 270 yards. Gochenour helps lead the defense after securing two sacks and three fumble recoveries last season. Because the offensive line is a bit inexperienced, Johnson will be doing most of his damage while on the run. Anderson would prefer an improved running game, pointing toward averaging 240 rushing yards to lessen the pressure on Johnson.

Schedule

Aug. 29: Olympian, 7 p.m.

Sept. 5: Escondido, 7 p.m.

Sept. 12: at Mira Mesa, 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 19: at Del Norte, 7 p.m.

Sept. 26: San Pasqual, 7 p.m.

Oct. 10: at Ramona, 7 p.m.

Oct. 17: Poway, 7 p.m.

Oct. 24: Rancho Bernardo, 7 p.m.

Oct. 31: at Torrey Pines, 7 p.m.

Nov. 7: at Westview, 7 p.m.

POWAY

Last year: 4-7

Coach: Damian Gonzalez, 11th year

Division: I

Key players: Dominic Hose (DL-OL), Jake Michaels (OL-DL), Isiah Aguero (RB-OLB), Connor Boyle (S-WR), Sean Jenks (MLB-FB), Jordan Choukair (PK-P), Zane Abbott (MLB-FB), Chris Isaak (QB), Coleman Cowling (OL-DL), Max Averell (DL-TE).

Scouting report: The biggest question mark is at quarterback as Isaak takes over after Tate Martell moved to Las Vegas. Gonzalez plans to use Isaak much like his older brother Gabriel in 2011 when the Titans won the San Diego Section Division I title. That means running a bit more to set up the passing game. The strength on offense is the offensive line, which is very experienced with Cowling, Michaels and Hose. Choukair is also a weapon considering he kicked a 50-yard field goal as a junior. Jenks, a second-team all-leaguer, leads a defense that features a brand new secondary and none of them are seniors.

Schedule

Aug. 29: at Rancho Buena Vista, 7 p.m.

Sept. 5: at Mount Miguel, 7 p.m.

Sept. 12: El Camino, 7 p.m.

Sept. 19: at Mission Hills, 7 p.m.

Sept. 26: Torrey Pines, 7 p.m.

Oct. 3: at Grossmont, 7 p.m.

Oct. 17: at Mt. Carmel, 7 p.m.

Oct. 24: Ramona, 7 p.m.

Oct. 30: at Westview, 7 p.m.

Nov. 7: Rancho Bernardo, 7 p.m.

RAMONA

Last year: 10-2

Coach: Damon Baldwin, 10th year

Division: I

Key players: Paul Briseno (C), Tyler Vorce (OL-DL), Kevin Ochoa (DE-FB), Keyshaun Crichlow (LB-TE), Garrett Binkley (CB-WR), Marco Cobian (QB), Brandon Gansch (RB), Christian Dominguez (S-WR), Tyler Vargas (PK-P), Dallas Domnitz (DL).

Scouting report: The Bulldogs, in search of their first section championship since 1963, have as many as 10 players who could land at the next level of day. Though Cobian is only a junior, he may have the brightest future after hitting 56 percent of his passes for 1,330 yards and six TDs, though he threw nine interceptions. It was good enough to be a first-team All-Palomar League pick for the league champions. He threw all but three of the team’s passes last year. Having first-team all-leaguer Gansch back to run the ball after his 888-yard, 12-touchdown season in 2013 makes this offense very dangerous. Don’t forget Vargas, the league’s kicker of the year. The defense needs to mature quickly with five starters back, led by Crichlow (49 tackles), Binkley (28 tackles, 7 interceptions), Dominguez (22 tackles) and Domnitz (22 tackles, 3 sacks). How a batch of new linemen matures will determine if this team is title-bound.

Schedule

Aug. 29: at El Cajon Valley, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6: at Point Loma, 3 p.m.

Sept. 12: Grossmont, 7 p.m.

Sept. 19: Escondido, 7 p.m.

Sept. 26: at Helix, 7 p.m.

Oct. 10: Mt. Carmel, 7 p.m.

Oct. 17: Westview, 7 p.m.

Oct. 24: at Poway, 7 p.m.

Oct. 31: at Rancho Bernardo, 7 p.m.

Nov. 7: Carlsbad, 7 p.m.

RANCHO BERNARDO

Last year: 1-9

Coach: Tristan McCoy, 4th year

Division: II

Key players: Tucker Reed (QB), Austin Lucht (LT), David Arevalo (RB), Tyree Range (RB), Devin Goodloe (WR), Kameron Calhoun (FS), Tim Gaylord (S), Jeff Molino (CB), Nathan Powell (CB), Corbin Grenowich (DE).

Scouting report: The motto of this year’s team is “Almost is Over.” In other words, the Broncos are tired of losing close games. They lost seven games in 2013 after they led or were tied at halftime. And only 11 starters are back to make this happen, led by Reed, who started three second-half games before suffering a concussion. Reed, the MVP in the La Costa Canyon passing tournament after leading the Broncos to the title, completed 47 percent of his passes for 443 yards and two TDs. Arevalo should do most of the running after gaining 508 yards and scoring six TDs. Arevalo and Lucht, a left tackle, were second-team all-leaguers. So was Calhoun, who picked off six passes on defense. The other safety, Gaylord, is the top returning tackler with 74 stops for a secondary that made more than 150 tackles. Grenowich (21 tackles) is hoping to lead a resurgence from the front seven on defense.

Schedule

Aug. 29: at San Pasqual, 7 p.m.

Sept. 5: at Del Norte, 7 p.m.

Sept. 12: Serra, 7 p.m.

Sept. 19: at La Costa Canyon, 7 p.m.

Sept. 26: Carlsbad, 7 p.m.

Oct. 10: Westview, 7 p.m.

Oct. 17: Escondido, 7 p.m.

Oct. 24: at Mt. Carmel, 7 p.m.

Oct. 30: Ramona, 7 p.m.

Nov. 7: at Poway, 7 p.m.

WESTVIEW

Last year: 3-8

Coach: Mike Woodward, 8th year

Division: I

Key players: Tyler Nelson (WR-DB), Jacob Wagner (C-DL), Kevin Minear (DE), Michael Yitayew (RB-DB), Nati Yitayew (DB-WR), Michael Shadowen (DB-RB), Cole Sutton (LB-TE), Jack Overbey (OL-DL), Josh Tibbs (OL-DL), Ben Ratzlaff (WR-DB).

Scouting report: Look for the Wolverines to become more of a running team this year with quarterback Nate Ketteringham moving on. Carlton Bjork is battling Sean Davis for the job. Davis was a starting linebacker in 2013 when the team used seven running backs to start games because of injuries. That formula still averaged 5.5 yards per carry. Up front, first-team all-league center Wagner leads the way along with Overbey (6-3, 250) and Tibbs (6-1, 265). Only four returning starters are back on defense and that is the unit that has been a point of emphasis the entire offseason. But Shadowen is the leader after his first-team all-league season as a junior. Shadowen and Michael Yitayew will begin the year as the main running threats. Woodward is counting on a huge input up front from last year’s junior varsity defensive line as well as the Wolverines’ shift away from the 3-3-5 defense to more four- and five-man fronts.

Schedule

Aug. 29: at Avondale (Ariz.) Westview, 7 p.m.

Sept. 5: at Rancho Buena Vista, 7 p.m.

Sept. 12: Del Norte, 7 p.m.

Sept. 19: at Torrey Pines, 7 p.m.

Sept. 26: San Marcos, 7 p.m.

Oct. 10: at Rancho Bernardo, 7 p.m.

Oct. 17: at Ramona, 7 p.m.

Oct. 24: La Costa Canyon, 7 p.m.

Oct. 30: Poway, 7 p.m.

Nov. 7: Mt. Carmel, 7 p.m.

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