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MARK RIGHTMIRE , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Villa Park starts the season ranked No. 7 in the county. Among the team's top players are, from left, linebacker John Stamos, quarterback Nick Sipe and defensive lineman Shane Darsow.

OCVarsity Kickoff '16: Crestview League preview

STAFF WRITER

OCVarsity's scouting report for the Crestview League:

OC VARSITY PREDICTS

1. Villa Park: The Spartans boast an intimidating defensive front seven that’s sure to set the tone with its physicality. Quarterback Nick Sipe made huge strides in his second year under center, and should be one of the area’s top passers as a senior. Favorites to capture its seventh straight league title, Villa Park has the potential to do damage in the Division 3 playoffs.

2. Yorba Linda: Ten returning starters is tops in the league from a season ago. The Mustangs hope to be more consistent offensively, and should be behind a veteran offensive line and a talented stable of running backs, led by senior Mason Winter.

3. Foothill: The Knights have plenty of talent at the skill positions, but are unproven up front. Foothill brings back only two starters on the offensive line, and will have a brand new front seven on defense.

4. Canyon: The defending CIF-SS Southern Division champs make the jump from the North Hills League to the Crestview. The Comanches have to replace many of its top players from what was the best team in school history last year.

LEAGUE COACHES POLL

1. Villa Park, 11 poll points, (2)

2T. Foothill, 8 (1)

2T. Yorba Linda, 8

4. Canyon, 3

How the poll works: The coaches do the voting. First-place votes (shown in parentheses) are worth 4 points, second are worth 3, etc. Note: One league coach abstained from voting.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

John Stamos, Villa Park: The star middle linebacker is as complete a football player as there is in Orange County. The recent Navy commit was among Orange County’s leaders with 139 tackles last season, racking up double-digit stops in eight of the team’s 13 outings. Stamos bulldozed his way to 500 yard rushing as a fullback and was first-team All County and All-CIF in addition to earning Crestview League MVP. Villa Park coach Dusan Ancich called Stamos “the face of our football program,” this offseason, quite a compliment considering this is also the best group of leaders Ancich said he has had in the past six years.

OTHER IMPACT PLAYERS

Anthony Marquez, Canyon, QB: Last year’s starting quarterback, Jason Harman, accounted for 3,470 yards of total offense and 35 touchdowns. How will Marquez perform as a first-year starter operating the Comanches up-tempo, spread attack?

Nick Sipe, Villa Park, QB: The Purdue commit did an excellent job protecting the football last season, tossing 31 touchdowns to just six interceptions.

Dante Swayne, Foothill, RB: The shifty senior takes over as the team’s feature back and will see plenty of touches.

Mason Winter, Yorba Linda, RB: He should build off a 1,000-yard junior campaign running behind four senior offensive lineman this fall.

MUST-SEE GAMES

Servite vs. Villa Park, Sept. 16: Tough preseason test for the Spartans. How do they stack up against Trinity League competition?

Canyon vs. Brea Olinda, Sept. 30: The Comanches and Wildcats square off in a rematch of last December’s Southern Division championship game.

Yorba Linda vs. Foothill, Oct. 21: The winner of this critical league opener establishes itself as the best threat to dethrone Villa Park atop the standings.

Foothill vs. Villa Park, Nov. 4: The Spartans have gone unbeaten in league since losing to the rival Knights in October 2013.

RELATED LINKS

Contact the writer: kconnolly@scng.com


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