Coach: John Philipopolous
2012 record: 5-6, 2-3 Bay Division
CCS playoffs: Lost to Valley Christian 56-14 in Division III quarterfinals
Outlook: Burlingame won several passing league titles over the summer, which as Philipopolous noted: "Is pretty ironic considering we throw 5-6 times a game.'' Needless to say, the Panthers will likely throw a bit more this season with junior Avery Gindreaux at quarterback. "We'll strive for more balance,'' Philipopolous said. "He's got a strong arm, is pretty athletic with decent speed and great feet in the pocket.'' Manase Palu and Keoni Keahi return at running back. Liam Martinez, Cooper Gindreaux and tight end Steve Cosenza are the receivers. Robbie Baumgarten plays cornerback and running back. Philipopolous likes his skill position personnel, but has concerns about depth on the line. Evan Struck should be a leader on the defensive front.
Coach: Steve Sell
2012 record: 8-4, 2-3 Bay Division
CCS playoffs: Lost to St. Francis 41-7 in Division II semifinals
Outlook: The Dons are moving down from the Bay Division to the Ocean largely due to a frosh-soph team that went winless a year ago. But for the current season there are players in place to allow success. Chief among them is QB Nat Blood, who threw for over 1,500 yards with 17 touchdowns as a junior. Aragon went 2-3 in the Bay last season, but handed Open Division entrant Terra Nova its only league loss and also had a 35-21 win on the road at Leland in the CCS quarterfinals. In addition to Blood, other key returning players include junior James Fononga (6-0, 210), who will move from tackle to tight end, third-year tackle Tyler Neeley (6-5, 310) and athletic nose tackle C.J. Alipate (5-10, 280). Patrick Pauni (5-9, 260) played several positions a year ago but is slated for fullback this season. Kono Filimoehala-Egan (5-11, 205) didn't play last year after transferring from Riordan, but Sell thinks he can make an impact as a wide receiver and kick returner. Keith Samujh, sophomore Devin Grant and Curan Brandt are the running backs.
HALF MOON BAY COUGARS
Coach Keith Holden
2012 record: 1-9, 0-5 Bay Division
Outlook: The Cougars were Ocean Division champions two years ago before struggling in the Bay last season in Holden's first year as head coach. So it's back down to the Ocean this year. "We have expectations of being competitive and not repeating last year,'' Holden said. "This is the second year running our (triple-option) offense. We're so much further along.'' Third-year RB John Bali should be a key player on offense. Shane Acton and Dominic Pintarelli are competing for the quarterback job. Acton was the starter last year before getting injured. If Acton gets the nod Pintarelli will be expected to make a big contribution at safety. Brothers Mario Sarabia (5-9, 230) and Marco Sarabia (5-6, 215) are leaders on the line. WR/DB Brandon Inglis should also be a key performer. "I look at Burlingame as the team to beat,'' Holden said. "They handed it to us over the summer.''
Coach: Josh Bowie
2012 record: 3-7, 1-4
Outlook: Bowie inherited a difficult situation a year ago, being hired in July. The first day of practice was the first time he laid eyes on any of his players. It's different this time around. "The guys have done a lot of hard work,'' said Bowie, who played at Woodside on two teams that advanced to CCS title games in the late 1990s. "The enthusiasm is there. Guys are playing with a little bit of fire. It's a nice vibe.'' Bowie has some experience returning at the skill positions in RB David Teu, WR Joshua Holman and flyback Tommy Cook. Adagio Lopeti (6-3, 305) is a potential standout on the line. Woodside is the only Ocean team from last season that is still a member of the division. Aragon, Burlingame and Half Moon Bay all moved down from the Bay. "We're looking forward to competing with some of these better teams,'' Bowie said. "We'll be young, but we're one year older and one year more mature.''
SAN MATEO BEARCATS
Coach: Jeff Scheller
2012 record: 5-5, 4-1 Lake Division
Outlook: San Mateo is back up in the Ocean after two years in the Lake, much to Scheller's delight. "We're excited,'' he said. "We think we can compete at the Ocean level. I think our guys can do it.'' Line Latu is the top returning player, a do-everything performer a season ago as a running back, free safety and backup quarterback who returned kicks and did the punting. Scheller said Latu might add place kicking chores this season. Jason Gonzalez was a Lake first-team linebacker last season who averaged 10 tackles per game. He will play strong safety this year as well as being the starting quarterback. "He throws the ball well and has a calm demeanor at quarterback,'' Scheller said. "Which is good considering he's a mad man on defense.'' Other key returning players include TE/OLB Nick Pallas, WR/CB Christian Zarco and C Anthony Avina. Watson Filikitonga, up from the frosh-soph, is expected to help out at linebacker and running back. Scheller also has additions to his coaching staff in Adam Hyndman, the head coach at Capuchino last year, and Kevin Reeves, the frosh-soph coach at Los Gatos.
Coach: Josh Horton
2012 record: 6-5, 5-0 Lake Division
CCS playoffs: Lost to Seaside 56-21 in Division IV quarterfinals
Outlook: Capuchino has a new coach who promises a new approach.
Last year everything revolved around Justin Ewing, who carried on virtually every offensive play and set CCS records for rushing yards gained and carries. "I'm telling everyone, don't be shocked if we throw the ball,'' said Horton, who was an assistant at Monte Vista of Danville last year. "Everyone will get the ball this year. The offense will be a mixture of UCLA, pistol and read-option. The kids are picking it up. Things have completely changed.'' Junior Tony Pellegrini will start at quarterback. Horton praised him for his speed and throwing ability. Middle linebacker Royal Ale is a returning standout who should lead the defense as the Mustangs make the move up from the Lake Division to the Ocean. OL George Fifita and 270-pound FB/NT John Fano are also expected to be team leaders. Sophomore Tarik Moore is described by Horton as a linebacker who can play cornerback or wide receiver. "I call him my Swiss army knife,'' Horton said.