UPDATE: This story now reflects some changes in football schedules.
It’s here. A bit earlier than in previous seasons, but high school football is back for schools in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area, with one school – Edison – already having one game under its belt and the rest kicking off for the first time this week.
It should be a particularly strong year for our locals. Of the 15 schools in our service area, four are ranked in the top 25 for Orange County by that Santa Ana paper, and a couple of others probably deserved a mention in that list as well.
So we present our first weekly “High Five” ranking of the most-promising prep grid teams in the area. Of course, since only one team has played a game and predictions are made to be defied, we do expect the list and rankings to shift from week to week. But lists and ladders are fun to do and read, and we claim no special prescience about their accuracy.
- Edison. The Chargers were 7-4 overall last season and won the tough Sunset League championship. They have two outstanding quarterbacks (Griffin O’Connor and Bowen Blake) and return six starters on offense. Plus, it’s Coach Dave White’s final season as head coach; his players would like to send him off on a high note.
- Pacifica. After several down years, the Mariners look to be back in a big way. The M’s, who were very respectable with a 6-4 mark last year, have 14 returning starters and will make a run for the Empire League title.
- Huntington Beach. Under new coach Brett Brown, the Oilers look to bounce back from a 3-7 season in 2015 with six returning starters this fall.
- Garden Grove. This is supposed to be a down year for the Argonauts (10-3), but with two of the county’s top players – defensive back Mario Moemoe and offensive lineman Deslao Gauta – they will likely still be a contender for the Garden Grove League title again, especially is running back Joseph Camarillo excels.
- Fountain Valley. A new coach, Jimmy Nolan, inherits a team that was 7-4 last year. The Barons have a tough schedule, what with Edison, HBHS and Los Alamitos in the same (Sunset) league, but they should be competitive.
Also: Rancho Alamitos (8-3) has one of the county’s top quarterback prospects in Blake Culbert. If he blossoms, the Vaqueros may be able to end Grove’s stranglehold on the GGL football trophy.
Here’s what Week One looks like for local teams. Not all locals are starting this week, and schedules are subject to change. Check with the school before heading to the stadium.
Santa Ana Valley at Garden Grove
Laguna Beach at Bolsa Grande
Los Amigos vs. Fairmont Prep
Santiago at Sunny Hills
Huntington Beach at West Adams/Los Angeles
Servite at Fountain Valley @ Huntington Beach High
Marina at Dana Hills
Costa Mesa at Orange @ Fred Kelly Stadium
Ocean View vs. Brethren Christian @ Westminster High.
Tesoro at Edison @ Huntington Beach High.
Monday Morning coach appears weekly at the Orange County Tribune.