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JEFF GRITCHEN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Edison, which will try to repeat as Sunset League champions, has a talented roster that includes, from left, wide receiver E.J. Ginnis, lineman Michael Saffell and wide receiver Shaun Colamonico.

OCVarsity Kickoff '16: Sunset League preview

STAFF WRITER

OCVarsity's scouting report for the Sunset League:

OC VARSITY PREDICTS

1. Edison: The Chargers overcame injuries last season to claim a 13th league title under Coach Dave White. Imagine what they might accomplish in White’s final season with arguably the top two quarterbacks in the league and plenty of quickness.

2. Los Alamitos: The Griffins begin a new era with Coach Ray Fenton taking the reins from one of the county’s all-time greats, John Barnes. A tough nonleague schedule should have them well-prepared to contend. “Iron sharpers iron,” Fenton said of the schedule.

3. Newport Harbor: Don’t dismiss the Sailors. Quarterback Michael Bonds transferred to St. Francis of La Canada, but senior Cole Kinder looks like the best running back in the league. Newport Harbor also has improved depth on the lines.

4. Huntington Beach: The Oilers also have a new coach, Brett Brown. They also hope to welcome a new stingy defense, which could help them bounce back from consecutive 3-7 seasons.

5. Marina: Yes, the Vikings finally break their 11-year losing streak in the Sunset League. But they need to build confidence in the nonleague by going at least 4-1.

6. Fountain Valley: The Barons will be underdogs under Jimmy Nolan, their third coach in less than a year. Nolan embraces challenges, so don’t be surprised if they climb their way into contention.

LEAGUE COACHES POLL

1. Edison, 34 poll points (4)

2. Los Alamitos, 30 (1)

3. Newport Harbor, 21

4. Huntington Beach, 19 (1)

5. Marina, 12

6. Fountain Valley, 10

How the poll works: The coaches do the voting. First-place votes (shown in parentheses) are worth 6 points, second are worth 5, etc.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

Mike Saffell, Edison: Saffell (6-3, 290) returns as one of the best centers in Orange County. Last season’s lineman of the year in the Sunset has landed several scholarship offers, including a recent one from Cal. He has been praised by private lineman coach Jesse Sapolu (San Francisco 49ers) for his technique, intelligence and aggressiveness. Offensive line is a concern for the defending champion Chargers, but they’re strong at center.

OTHER IMPACT PLAYERS

Shaun Colamonico, Edison, WR/CB: The senior starred at the Edison 7-on-7 passing tournament in July, making big plays on both sides of the ball against elite competition.

Joey Noble, Los Alamitos, DE: The senior, who recently received an offer from New Mexico, could emerge as one of the best defensive linemen in the county.

Cole Kinder, Newport Harbor, RB: The senior rushed for 1,317 yards last season. With four starting offensive linemen returning, he could easily surpass that total.

Derek Thomas, Huntington Beach, DE: The senior could be the defensive force who helps the Oilers get back on track.

Cooper Malerstein, Marina, RB/DB: If the Vikings break their league losing streak, the senior will likely be a big reason why. He led the team in rushing and tackles last season.

Angel Hernandez, Fountain Valley, RB: Nolan believes Hernandez is a playmaker, so he is moving the senior from defensive end/tight end to running back. “Our heart and soul,” Nolan said.

MUST-SEE GAMES

Edison vs. Los Alamitos, Oct. 14: This one has decided many a league title.

Huntington Beach vs. Newport Harbor, Oct. 20: These two have a history, including the Sailors’ 33-27 victory in overtime last season.

Los Alamitos vs. Fountain Valley, Oct. 21: The Barons take on their ex-coach on an emotional night. “That’s going to be a horrible game for me,” Fenton said. “I really, really like those kids (at Fountain Valley).”

Edison vs. Fountain Valley, Oct. 28: Will Coach Dave White get carried off the field after his final Bell game?

RELATED LINKS

Contact the writer: dalbano@scng.com


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