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OCVarsity Kickoff '16: Huntington Beach preview

STAFF WRITER

OCVarsity’s season preview for 2016:

HUNTINGTON BEACH OILERS

Coach: Brett Brown

Last season: 3-7 overall, 1-4 league

Scouting report: The Oilers have a new coach but will feature their familiar spread/pistol attack on offense. Brett Brown served as the offensive coordinator under Eric Lo, who resigned after a successful nine-year run. One of the main question marks is at quarterback. Junior Nick Welch takes the reins after the departure of Kobee Lagarde. Tight end Payton Marlow, Jake Adams and rising sophomore Jerimiah Flanagan are intriguing targets. Huntington Beach also needs to find an answer at running back after the graduation of 1,600-yard rusher Hunter Simmons. Look for the job to be handled by committee. The Oilers plan to look different on defense. They return more experience on defense and hope to create an identity with improved play. All-league defensive end Derek Thomas and nose guard Jonah Apelu are key players.

Bottom line: The Oilers lost their final four games in the Sunset League last season, allowing an average of 38.5 points. If they improve on defense and find some pieces on offense, they contend for a playoff spot in Division 7. After consecutive 3-7 seasons, that would be impressive. Fountain Valley transfer Arick McLawyer will observe the sitout period rule but could provide a spark in league.

Players to watch: Nick Welch, QB, Jr.; Payton Marlow, TE, Sr.; Derek Thomas, DE, Sr.; Jonah Apelu, NG, Sr.; Trevor Akins, OL, Jr.

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HUNTINGTON BEACH ROSTER

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Contact the writer: dalbano@scng.com


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