5. San Marcos: Football starts at quarterback, and the Knights have one of the section’s best in Miles Hastings, who threw for 3,108 yards and 31 TDs. He’s blessed with weapons, like wide receiver Gavin Cherveny. Defensive end Quinn Roff compiled 12 sacks and 24 tackles for losses.
Complete list below...
1. Cathedral Catholic: Explosive, pinball running back Shawn Poma will be recovered from knee surgery. Zavien Watson scored five touchdowns in the first half of a playoff game. The line is expected to be road-grade material. Ground and pound.
2. Torrey Pines: “To me,” said Torrey Pines coach Ron Gladnick, “you’re not good until you’re in the hunt every year.” He paused. “We’re in the hunt.” Running back Mac Bingham returns. So does blink-and-he’s-gone QB Jason Heine, and three offensive line starters. Combined with Cathedral, wing-T exacts revenge against the spread.
3. Madison: “We’re losing every lineman except one,” cried Warhawks coach Rick Jackson. Don’t care. Between them, Kenan Christon and Ke’ontae Springs gained more than 2,000 yards, averaged more than 10 yards per carry and scored 24 TDs. Talent and speed trump all.
4. Helix: Of the nine Scotties who landed on the all-section teams, seven are seniors. But one, sophomore running back Elelyon “Fatto” Noa, is a rare talent. Not big. Not sprinter speed. But Baryshnikov balance and an indefatigable spirit to not go down.
6. La Costa Canyon: Speed thrills, and the Mavericks have it in abundant supply with tailback Karson Lippert, the San Diego Section’s second-fastest 400-meter sprinter of all time (46.91 seconds). He’ll be joined by younger brother Aiden, whom coach Sean Sovacool describes as a bound-about “Joystick” back. Said Sovacool, “There’s genes in that family.”
7. Mission Hills: A good baseball team is strong down the middle. Same with defense in football, and in Isaac Anderson and Shiloh Seau, the Grizzlies are stout at defensive tackle. There’s no known successor for Tuttle, Chris Olave’s vapor routes to the end zone graduate, but head coach Chris Hauser will find a way.
8. Valley Center: Next season will be Rob Gilster’s 30th as a high school head coach. He says Eric Hill, a 6-3, 285-pound tackle, is the best offensive lineman he’s ever coached. Hill returns. So does QB Rikki Mazzetti. And running back Mateo Sinohui. Gilster will be adding to his 216 win total.
9. Eastlake: Eight offensive starters return, led by knock-’em-down running back Roman Coe and QB Daniel Amon. Josh McCurdy will be a third-year starter at middle linebacker. All of which means: Remember The Titans.
10. Monte Vista: It starts with McClendon and his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, his rare blend of power and speed. Then you’ve got farmer-strong 6-3, 245-pound Blake Schmidt. Loaded with underclassmen (only six of the top 26 players were seniors) the Monarchs arrived early in 2017. In ’18, they’ll be even better.