Most Viewed Stories
OCVarsity Kickoff '16: Orange Coast League preview
OCVarsity's scouting report for the Orange Coast League:
OC VARSITY PREDICTS
1. Godinez: The Grizzlies went from being winless in 2014 to league title contenders last season. They return quarterback Bryan Ibarra and Richy Tochihuitl, who anchors a strong group of linebackers. Godinez appears poised to win its first league title.
2. Calvary Chapel: A strong returning offensive line should help the Eagles develop the new skill players they need to remain a high-scoring team. The defense could determine the team’s bid to contend for the league title.
3. Saddleback: The Roadrunners have a strong group at linebacker, led by Rene Gonzalez, and a solid run game, giving them an edge on the competition for the final automatic playoff spot.
4. Estancia: The Eagles are bigger up front and mobile at linebacker, but their offense needs to show it can produce touchdowns. Staying healthy will be important for a team worried about depth.
5. Costa Mesa: With quarterback Ben Swanson healthy, the Mustangs hope they can repeat last season’s strong start, but they need to develop a running game. Costa Mesa is also going into the season without much depth.
6. Laguna Beach: John Shanahan becomes the third coach in three years for a Breakers team that breaking in a new quarterback and has little depth.
LEAGUE COACHES POLL
1. Godinez, 32 poll points (3)
2. Calvary Chapel, 30 (2)
3. Estancia, 20
4. Saddleback, 18
5. Laguna Beach 15 (1)
6. Costa Mesa, 11
How the poll works: The league coaches do the voting. First-place votes (shown in parentheses) are worth 6 points, second are worth 5 points, etc.
Bryan Ibarra, Godinez: The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior quarterback made a big splash last season by rushing for 2,010 yards and passing for 1,040 yards. He was named co-league MVP and first-team All-CIF. Ibarra is an exceptional athlete who was also an All-County soccer player. Every coach in the league will be focused on trying to stop him. Ibarra will miss the first two games (suspension), but he will still have time to pile up more yards and possibly lead Godinez to the league title.
OTHER IMPACT PLAYERS
Sam Lak, Calvary Chapel, QB: He played well last season in a backup role, and now he’s the starter. He showed a lot of ability as he led the Eagles to a comeback victory against Godinez last season.
Richy Tochihuitl, Godinez, LB: The senior outside linebacker nearly was voted the league’s defensive MVP last season. He 112 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions in 2015.
Rene Gonzalez, Saddleback, LB: The Roadrunners’ defensive leader racked up 99 tackles last season. He also forced three fumbles and recovered three.
Ben Swanson, Costa Mesa, QB: The Mustangs were 5-1 and averaging 21.6 points per game last season before Swanson broke his collarbone. They only scored 22 points in their four games without him.
Tyler Ross, Estancia, SS/QB/WR: He was third on the team in rushing yards and fourth in receiving yards last season. He will start at free safety and is in the running to be the team’s quarterback.
Matt Hayes, Laguna Beach, RB/CB: The senior led the Breakers with 392 receiving yards and was also third on the team in rushing yards.
Godinez at Santa Ana, Sept. 1: You like teams that run the football? The Grizzlies’ ground attack takes on Santa Ana’s Briseno twins, who combined for 2615 yards rushing and 43 touchdowns last season.
Estancia vs. Saddleback, Oct. 7: These two teams open league play with a game that could decide the league’s third and final playoff berth.
Costa Mesa vs. Estancia, Oct. 21: The city rivals clash in the 50th edition of the Battle for the Bell. Estancia has won five of the last six.
Godinez vs. Calvary Chapel, Oct. 21: The Eagles’ thrilling comeback victory in this series was the eventual difference in the league title race.