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OCVarsity Kickoff '16: JSerra preview

STAFF WRITER

OCVarsity’s team preview for 2016:

JSERRA LIONS

Coach: Jim Hartigan

Last season: 7-3, 2-3 league

Scouting report: It’s close to impossible for a team to contend for the Trinity League championship when that team has a shortage of outstanding seniors. JSerra has a shortage of outstanding seniors. “Our strength is our sophomore and junior classes, combined,” Coach Jim Hartigan said. “We do have more athletes than we did a year ago. When they gain experience, they’re going to be pretty good.” Among the juniors is quarterback Matt Robinson, whose older brother Nick was a standout quarterback at JSerra a few years ago. Matt shared time at quarterback last year with Riley O’Brien but was good enough to be named All-Trinity League first team. Hartigan described Matt as “very athletic, he can run around and his arm has gotten a lot stronger.” O’Brien will play running back this season, with perhaps a few plays at quarterback for some wildcat offense. He was named a league specialist co-MVP. The Lions have only one senior projected to start at offensive line, which is not the preferred situation in the Trinity League. JSerra is talented but young on defense. Only two seniors are expected to start on that side of the ball. Hartigan is enthusiastic about the potential of the defense, especially the secondary although that unit lost 2015 league co-MVP Avery Williams. “They’re young,” he said, “but they’re going to be active.” JSerra is playing what might be its most challenging nonleague schedule, including road games against Alemany of Mission Hills and 2015 Pac-5 Division semifinalist Bishop Amat of La Puente and a home game against 2015 CIF-SS West Valley Division finalist Vista Murrietta of Murrieta. JSerra is among only 18 teams in Division 1 that will have a 16-team playoff bracket, so even a low finish in the standings might not keep the Lions out of the playoffs.

Bottom line: The Lions will be much better in late October than they will be in early September, but it’s difficult to see them finishing among the Trinity’s top three teams.

Players to watch: Connor Hartigan, WR/LB; Riley O’Brien, RB/DB, Sr.; Matt Robinson, QB, Jr.; Tristan West, WR/DB, Jr.

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Contact the writer: sfryer@scng.com


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