SAN DIEGO, August 11, 2017 | Lincoln's Don Chapman during practice at Lincoln High School in San Die
Capsule preview for the Western League:
Last year: 5-7
Coach: Sean Doyle, 23rd year
Key players: Shawn Poma (RB), Zavien Watson (RB), Ross Maseuli (OG), Zion Sorani (WR), Jordan Allen (LB), Nikulas Otineru (LB), Ethan Simley (LB), Nick Guerena (S), Logan Berzins (OT), Miles McCormick (DL/OL), Nate Weneta (deep snapper), Dean Janikowski (K).
Scouting report: After going 15-0 and winning the state Division 1-AA title in 2016, Cathedral slipped to 5-7 last season. This year? Good luck stopping the Dons. Nine starters return on offense, eight on defense, plus a talented kicker. Poma is back after missing almost all of last season with a knee injury. Sorani is a home run threat at wide receiver. Only a sophomore, 325-pound Maseuli anchors the offensive line. D.J. Ralph and Caleb Price will battle for QB time. McCormick and Guerena are thumpers on defense.
Last year: 9-3
Coach: David Dunn, 8th year
Key players: Chris Davila (QB), Don Chapman (S/WR), Jamahd Monroe (WR), T’ray Kirkland (G/DT), Marquese Allen (LB), Chris Curtis (OL), Keyshawn Smith (WR/S), Noah Auguste (DE), Emmanuel Okere (RB/S), Patrick White (WR/S), Trevon Wallace (G/NT).
Scouting report: Asante Hartzog and his more than 3,000 yards in total offense plus 34 TDs are off to Fort Lewis (Colo.) College. Filling his shoes at QB will be junior Davila. “Davila’s going to be fine,” said Dunn. “He’s smart. He’s tough.” And he’s blessed with a bevy of crazy skilled receivers in Chapman (committed to Colorado), Monroe, Smith and White. Kirkland is the best lineman and the secondary is fleet. While still in Division II, the Hornets have been switched to the rugged Western League.
Last year: 8-3
Coach: Rick Jackson, 15th year
Key players: Ke’ontae Springs (RB/WR/CB), Kenan Christon (RB), Mario Alves (QB), Matthew Pietanza (LB), Daniel Stokes (WR), Devin Carter (LB/S), Tyson Gangstad (WR), Jaden Dir (WR), Ezekiel Horn (OL), Josh Simmons (G/DT), Dylan Mack (S), Jordan Johnson (CB).
Scouting report: The Warhawks are loaded at the offensive skills positions. There’s no better two-back combo than Christon and Springs. Christon, the section 100-meter champ, has 30 college offers, including Alabama, USC and Notre Dame. There’s depth and varied skill at wide receiver. But only one starter returns in the offensive line. Defensively, just four starters are back. Year in and year out, Madison reigns as one of San Diego’s best public school programs.
Last year: 6-5
Coach: Mike Hastings, 21st year
Key players: JL Skinner (DB/WR), Wes Windmiller (LB/WR), Christian Terzoli (LB), Jake Silva (DT), Kaden Gill (S/RB), Cameron Auva’a (LB), Alejandro Peterson (G/DT), Christian Hall (LB/RB), Tristan Shafer (S/WR), Cannon Nutting (OL).
Scouting report: With seven starters returning, the Pointers will be formidable on defense. The linebacker corps in particular is talented. At 6-4, 205 with an offer from Cal, Skinner is incredibly talented. Juniors Jason Peres and Darryl Cobb will battle for the QB job. They’ll be surrounded by some talent, particularly at running back. The Pointers scored impressive wins over Madison, Cathedral and Lincoln last season. They’ll be a Division II playoff threat.
Last year: 7-4
Coach: Joe Kremer, 1st year
Key players: Angelo Peraza (QB), Michael Ambagtsheer (TE/DE), Byron Cardwell (RB), Christian Gaeta (NG), Travis Hall (S), Tyson McWilliams (WR/CB), Tangi Pongia (G), Walter Pongia (OT), Will Simon (LB), Shainyn Waldaphel (OT).
Scouting report: Kremer takes over for Richard Sanchez, now a San Diego State assistant. Kremer was on Sanchez’s staff for seven years. The offensive line, plus tight end, averages 281 pounds. And they’re good. Look for Saints to pound the ball with a deep corps of backs. Just a junior, Peraza completed 67 percent of his passes last season. “He’s a guy that just makes plays,” said Kremer. There’s talent on the defensive side, led by Ambagtsheer, Simon and McWilliams.
Norcross is a freelance writer.