PREDICTED FINISH

  • 1. Newark Memorial

  • 2. Washington

  • 3. Moreau Catholic

  • 4. American

  • 5. Irvington

  • 6. John F. Kennedy

  • 7. Mission San Jose

    Last year, Newark Memorial had only six returners entering the season, but rolled through an undefeated Mission Valley Athletic League campaign.

    This year, the Cougars have seven returning starters -- on each side of the ball. That includes Fred Tidwell and Marty Leggett, who were first-team all-MVAL picks last season at wide receiver and defensive back respectively.

    But new coach Ralph Meredith isn't about to forecast a title.

    "I think it will come down to who stays healthy. It will be a good race," he said.

    Washington is a senior-dominated team that will aim to control the line of scrimmage. Moreau Catholic is led by Jason Hinton, the returning MVAL Offensive Most Valuable Player last season as a sophomore. "His biggest asset is that he has top-end speed," Moreau Catholic coach Andrew Cotter said.

    American has 14 returning starters, including four on the offensive line.

    Here's a team-by-team look at the league:

    American

    COACH: Bret Casey, third season

    2012 RECORD: 5-6, 2-4 MVAL


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    TOP RETURNEES: G/DT Kelvin Pellom, Sr.; OT/DT Nate Berry, Sr.; RB Drew Lyell, Sr.; QB Ryan Barker, Sr.; LG/DE Andrew Simon, Sr.; MLB/FB Nazif Popal, Sr.; SS/WR Anthony Wellington, Jr.; WR/DB Deangelo Cox, Jr.

    TOP NEWCOMERS: QB/FS Marcus Mayfield, Sr.; FB/LB Trevon Jones, So.; S/RB Jared Luty, So.

    KEY LOSSES: C/DE D.J. Kay, RB/FS Eric Adair, OL/DL Sohail Naderpour, RB/DB/KR Robert Pinkney

    OUTLOOK: In addition to its four offensive line starters, the Eagles have three starters back on the defensive line. They have a three-year starter at quarterback in Barker, but he will be pushed by Mayfield.

    Irvington

    COACH: Zach Silvernale, fourth season

    2012 RECORD: 4-7, 2-4

    TOP RETURNEES: QB/CB Jack Shank, Sr.; MLB/RT Eben Hercik, Sr.. ILB/FB Randon Navarro, Sr.; RB/DB Chauncey Jones, Sr.; RG/DL Mamoud Eldesouky, Sr.; DE Keith Thomas, Sr.; TE/LB Danil Gusev, Sr.; RB/DB Jared Lozoya, Sr.; OLB Andre Vickers, Sr.

    TOP NEWCOMERS: DE/TE Stephen Hanna, Sr.; C/LB Diego Lerma, So.; LT Taylor Karney, Jr.

    KEY LOSSES: RB/SS Ariel Hercik, C/LB Ernie Baung, LT Manny Abarado, LG Felipe Santana

    OUTLOOK: The Vikings have 27 seniors, including returning first-team all-MVAL quarterback Shank, who will also play cornerback this season. "We have a lot of leaders," Silvernale said. "It's very evident going through practice and meeting adversity. They don't look around to see who is going take charge; they just do."

    John F. Kennedy

    COACH: Dave Damewood, second season

    2012 RECORD: 4-7, 3-3

    TOP RETURNEES: OG/LB/DL Ben Loya, Sr.; LB/DB/RB/QB Waymond McKissick, Sr.; RB/TE/LB Jacob Murrieta, Jr.; DL/OL Thomas Nagel, Sr.; RB/LB Derek Slater, Sr.

    TOP NEWCOMERS: QB/LB Justin Binderup, Jr.; RB/DB Kaleem Abubakari. Jr.; OL/DL George Vehikite, Jr.

    KEY LOSSES: OLB/OL Brandon McCuin, RB/DB Joel Romero, OG/DL DeAndre Hollie, QB Justin Staley

    OUTLOOK: The key word for the Titans this season may be "flexible". Players may be moving positions depending on the opponent. "They really started to come together and do things as a group," said Damewood about his team's strength. "They are really buying into the team concept. It is a good group to be around."

    Mission San Jose

    COACH: Sam Baugh, second season

    2012 RECORD: 1-9, 0-6

    TOP RETURNEES: WR/SS Ryan Walleman, Sr.; RB/LB Ben Torrez, Sr.; QB Tamin Sarwary, Sr.

    TOP NEWCOMERS: TE/LB Michael Pyle, So.

    KEY LOSSES: RB/CB/KR Ishmail Shafi, OG/DL Shane Keenan, DE/OG Jigar Desai, TE/OLB James Gao,. ILB/K Eric Gonzalez

    OUTLOOK: A young Warriors team has seven returning starters that play on both sides of the ball. They have a returning starting quarterback in the 6-1, 180-pound Sarwary. Mission San Jose, which has not won a league game since 2005, will look to its lines to lead it.

    Moreau Catholic

    COACH: Andrew Cotter, sixth season

    2012 RECORD: 5-6, 3-3 MVAL

    TOP RETURNEES: RB/DB/KR/PR Jason Hinton, Jr.; OL/DL Grayson Granzella, Sr.; LB/RB Chris Garcia, Sr.; LB/TE Rian Goulart, Sr.

    OL/DL Daniel Loza, Sr.; TE/LB Anthony Bailey, Jr.; WR/DB J.C. Maroun, Sr.; TE/LB Jimmy Shreckengost. Sr.; DE/OL Chandler Witham, Sr.

    TOP NEWCOMERS: RB/DB/KR/PR Booda Ison, Fr.; DL/TE Hadari Darden, So.; RB/DL Johnny Den Bleyker, So.; OL/DL Jack Alcott, Jr.; WR/DB Dom Fiandor, So.; RB/DB Dylan Mackin, Jr.; WR/LB Gerald Robinson, Jr.

    KEY LOSSES: QB/LB Nick Kinast, C/DL Gabe Schrag, OL/DL Kelsen Adeni, WR/DB Gabe Villarreal

    OUTLOOK: The Mariners have perhaps the league's biggest offensive weapon in Hinton and a deep roster. Quarterback Lucas O'Rourke "has all the qualities of a true leader," Cotter said. Robinson is emerging as the team's top receiver, and Loza anchors the offensive line. Freshman Ison is a hard hitter at defensive back.

    Newark Memorial

    COACH: Ralph Meredith, first season

    2012 RECORD: 9-3, 6-0

    TOP RETURNEES: NG/C Chance Urbi, Sr.; WR/DB/KR Fred Tidwell, Sr.; RB/SS Marty Leggett, Sr.; QB Reggie Moccolie, Sr.; DL/OL King Slocum, Jr.; OG/LB Anthony Garcia, Sr.; WR/DB John Kapu, Sr.; OLB/FB Franco Napal, Sr.

    TOP NEWCOMERS: C/MLB Thor Thornestein , Jr.; OG/LB Nicholas Poole, Jr.

    KEY LOSSES: DE/TE John Tai, MLB/FB Pedro Rivas, RB/SS Mark Morton, QB Riley Pivin, WR/DB Robert Ramirez, OG Tim Hutchins; C/DL Donovan Mosier

    OUTLOOK: The Cougars have many skilled players returning such as Leggett, who should see a lot of carries this season. Defensively the Cougars have a new middle linebacker in Thornestein. Newark Memorial has three new assistant coaches and have made some changes on both sides of the ball.

    Washington

    COACH: Ken Wittmer, ninth season

    2012 RECORD: 6-5, 5-1 MVAL

    TOP RETURNEES: QB Tylan Binson, Sr.; RB/SS Nate Woudstra, Sr.; WR/CB Terrance Jones, Sr.; OT/DT Zach Dushen, Sr.; OG/DT Michael Macabitas, Sr.; OG/DT Colton McCoy, Sr.; C/DT Erik Kabigting, Jr.

    TOP NEWCOMERS: DB/RB Mark Colbert, So.; DT/OT Jalen Peats, So.

    KEY LOSSES: QB Kyle Malpede, WR/DB Andrew Llanos, OL/DL Jordan Mocny

    OUTLOOK: The Huskies will have a new quarterback for the third year in a row in Binson. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Peats joins first-team all-leaguer Michael Macabitas on the offensive line. Wittmer said that the team's biggest question marks are if it can play strong defense against the run and run the ball offensively.