Year in and year out, Cardinals spirit lives on at Hoover.
Last year: 2-8
Coach: Jimmy Morgans, 1st year
Key players: Kelesio Howard (FB-DL), Vivaldo Castillo (S-WR), Emanuel Reyes (TE-LB), Brendan Eliassaint (WR-CB), Angel Bermudez (RB-S), Daryle James (WR-CB), Nathaniel Grinter (RB-LB), Deonte Jackson (WR-CB).
Scouting report: Morgans, a 1992 Hoover grad, is a longtime Cardinals assistant and takes over for Jerry Ralph. His job was made more challenging when RB Demontauz Gray (nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage last year), moved to Louisiana. Bermudez and Grinter will rack up rushing yards from the single wing. Howard will wreak havoc on the defensive line while Castillo is a talented safety.
Last year: 3-8
Coach: Matt Morrison, 1st year
Key players: Alex Dockery (RB-DB), Daniel McColl (FB-LB), Christophe Gish (C-DL), Andrew Mitchell (TE-DE), Alex Scrivener (OT-DL), Tanner Watson (WR-DB), Dane Hansen (OL-LB), Aldahi Enciso (DB), Joey Liss (DL-OL), Nick Hammel (TE-SS).
Scouting report: Morrison, 29, son of longtime Francis Parker head coach John Morrison, takes over the Vikings. The team will operate out of the shot gun, featuring an offense that spreads the football. Dockery and Watson are the most dangerous offensive weapons. Mitchell and McColl key a stunting defense.
Last year: 5-7
Coach: Mike Martinez, 8th year
Key players: Nolan Smith (OT-DE), Ben Boccoli (RB-LB), Eric Green (LB), Michael Giordano (S-WR), Marc Mendez (S), Dominick Silvels (Slot-CB), RJ Ruckle (S), Bryan Pace (QB).
Scouting report: The Patriots will operate out of the pistol attack with Silvels being the biggest threat. The 6-3 slot scored 11 TDs last season and is being heavily recruited by Mountain West schools. Boccoli will get the bulk of the ground carries. Mendez leads an attacking defense. Martinez expects his team to make a deep playoff run.
Last year: 1-9
Coach: Dru Smith, 1st year
Key players: Zac Rohde (DE-TE), Joaquin Quintana-McKinney (QB), Bryan Pratt (RB-CB), John Serrata (RB-S), Robert Harvey (LB-slot), Jimmy Nguyen (OT-DE), Tysheid Dixon (WR-DB), Aren Cobb (OT-DE).
Scouting report: The Conquistadors scored seven points or fewer eight times last season and were shut out five times. Smith, a Patrick Henry assistant the past five years, is confident his team won’t struggle putting points on the board. All five starting offensive linemen are back. The Q’s will run a ground-oriented power pistol offense. Pratt has game-breaking speed and Dixon is a dangerous pass catcher.
Last year: 9-3
Coach: Ryan Price, 2nd year
Key players: Kees Van Daelen (QB), Gavin Rasmussen (WR), Casey Granfors (WR-S), Steven Weiss (WR-S), Kyle Strobbe (WR), Reid Speicher (CB), Jake Jones (C-LB), Tiago Quantz (CB-WR).
Scouting report: In Rasmussen, Weiss, Strobbe and Granfors, the Centurions return four receivers who combined for 151 catches and 2,545 yards. Van Daelen is more than capable of getting them the football. At 6-3, 195, Granfors is a very talented sophomore. The Centurions advanced to the semifinals last year, and with Mater Dei and Bishop’s moving out of D-IV, UC is expecting to make another deep playoff run.