Prep Football: Poway High heavy favorites; four-way fight for second in Palomar League
By Michael Bower
The Poway High football team cruised to the Palomar League title last year and it is likely to be more of the same this season.
The Titans return plenty of experience on both sides of the ball, while the rest of the league is in the midst of rebuilding.
Rancho Bernardo, Westview and Torrey Pines will all need to replace their top receiver and QB from a year ago. Add in the experienced, yet still youthful, squad at Ramona and it should be a four-way dogfight for second place. Here is a glance at the Palomar League teams:
Coach: Damian Gonzalez, 9th year.
2011 record: 12-0-1, 4-0
Top returnees: RB, Nehemiah Gross, Sr.; DB/WR, Derek Babiash, Sr.; LB, Alec Moreno, Sr.; DE, Jonathan Petersen, Sr.; DB, Ryan Sharpe, Sr.; LB, Max Michaels, Sr.
Key losses: LB/RB, Ryan Moreno; RB, Evan Gray; DE, Brian Guendling; OL/DL, Tyler Kasl; FB, Jimmy Moreno; QB, Gabe Isaak; WR, Isaiah Gross.
Outlook: The Titans should be potent on offense and smothering on defense once again this season. Poway has big-play potential with Babiash and Gross on offense. Adding Lance Mudd to the backfield gives the team one of toughest one-two punches in the county. The defense has plenty of experience back, as all signs point to another league title and a deep Division II playoff run.
Coach: Tristan McCoy, 2nd year.
2011 record: 5-6, 2-2
TOP returnees: WR, Charles Ensley, Sr.; RB, Ivy Adair, Sr.; DB, Anil Tharani, Sr.; DE/TE, Nolan Johnson, Sr.; DL/OL, Shawn Ng, Sr.; OL, Cody Barker, Sr.; OL, JT Stoffel, Jr.; LB, Trevor Berck, Sr.
Key losses: QB, Trent Sessions; OL/DL, Hassan Khalil; RB, Glenn Paggett; WR, Jake Arnell; WR, Rodney Alo.
Outlook: The Broncos lost a huge portion of its offense with the graduation of Sessions and Arnell. Mike Searson will have the toughest job, trying to replace Sessions at QB. Ensley provides the team with a deep threat at WR and Adair has already proven to be a solid running back. The defense will be anchored by Johnson and Ng. The two combined for 69 tackles last season. The Broncos will be light on experience, but if Searson can step up at QB and the inexperienced talent comes together, a run at the end of the season is not out of the question.
Coach: Scott Ashby, 6th year.
2011 record: 5-7, 2-2
Key losses: RB, Andrew Fargo; RB/DB, David Bagby; WR/DB, Jack Mitchell; TE/DE, Dustin Skousen; QB, Andrew Perkins.
Outlook: The Falcons are always a threat to win the league title, but the team will need to overcome key losses at QB, RB, WR, TE and DE. The Falcons lost 12 of their 14 all-league honors players from last year to graduation. The team does return defensive back Cole Jaczko, who led the Falcons in interceptions last year. Also returning is Arizona-bound offensive lineman Jacob Alsadek. The Falcons always seem to be in the hunt and this year will be no different.
Coach: Mike Woodward, 6th year.
2011 record: 8-4, 2-2
Outlook: Westview lacks experience at the skill positions. The offense lost a ton of firepower with the graduation of tight end Taylor McNamara, QB Eric Beagle and WR Avery Andrews. The defense lost a leader in Jason Snyder. The Wolverines will likely start slow, but could finish fast if the inexperienced guys come along.
Coach: Damon Baldwin, 8th year.
2011 record: 1-10, 0-4
Outlook: Ramona was forced to throw several young players into the fire last year due to injuries. The experience could pay off this season. The Bulldogs return eight starters, including DB/RB Javier Dominguez and QB Hunter McHargue. There are question marks on the offensive line and at wide receiver, but Ramona has the potential to get out of the cellar.
1. Poway — By far the most talented team in the league.
2. Torrey Pines — Lost a ton of players but tends to find a way to reload.
3. Rancho Bernardo — Lost QB, but still lots of talent at other skill positions.
4. Westview — Needs to replace lots of talent from 2-2 league team last year.
5. Ramona — Wouldn’t be shocked if this team finishes in second place. Teams 2-5 are that close.
Follow Sports Editor Michael Bower on Twitter @PomeradoSports for all of the local prep news.
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