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JOSH BARBER , CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Santa Ana seniors quarterback Jonathan Briseno, defensive end Steven Cruz and running back Jorge Briseno pose for a portrait at Santa Ana High.

OCVarsity Kickoff '16: Golden West League preview

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

OCVarsity's scouting report for the Goldem West League:

OC VARSITY PREDICTS

1. Santa Ana: The electric Briseno twins have the ability to propel the Saints to their first league title in 31 years.

2. Westminster: They are playing more players two ways than they might like, but 15 returning starters affords the Lions a “been there before” attitude.

3. Segerstrom: Lost 19 of 22 starters, but experienced quarterback Marcos Avalos keeps the reigning league champions in the playoff picture.

4. Orange: The Panthers are big up front and will need to win the line of scrimmage to be effective.

5. Ocean View: The Seahawks have a good defensive secondary, but lack of depth on the defensive line, which can make it tough to discourage teams from running the ball.

6. Loara: The young and inexperienced Saxons need standout players to emerge as they attept to earn their first win since 2014.

LEAGUE COACHES POLL

1. Westminster, 31.5 poll points

2. Santa Ana, 29

3. Segerstrom, 27.5

4T. Ocean View 16

4T. Orange, 16

6. Loara, 6

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

Jonathan Briseno, Santa Ana, QB: The senior returns as the reigning Golden West League MVP. Although he is not the biggest at 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, Briseno is a lightning rod for his team. He racked up more than 2,000 total yards and 23 touchdowns last season. He makes Santa Ana an especially dangerous read-option team, as he had 1,232 rushing yards to help his team reach the playoffs. Briseno added 42 tackles and two interceptions at cornerback.

OTHER IMPACT PLAYERS

Marcos Avalos, Segerstrom: A three-year starter at quarterback for a team lacking in experience. He needs to be the glue for the defending Golden West League champions.

Steven Cruz, Santa Ana: A 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive end who is receiving interest from Division 1 schools. He was second on the team with 57 tackles last year.

Isayah Anderson, Westminster: He was the Lions’ leading receiver with 39 catches for 634 yards and six touchdowns. Anderson added two rushing scores on 22 carries.

Noah Tiliaia, Orange: An explosive defensive end who is fast off the ball. He is a solid run blocker on offense.

Frankie Nocella, Loara: A two-way player whose time as a slot receiver makes him a ball-hawking threat at free safety.

Chase Foreman, Ocean View: The senior safety was first among Ocean View returners in tackles (73) and interceptions (4) last season.

MUST-SEE GAMES

Santa Ana vs. Santa Ana Valley, Sept. 23: These crosstown rivals squared off in the first round last year (SAV won, 35-6). How much better are the Saints with both Briseno twins on the field?

Westminster vs. Segerstrom, Oct. 7: Double overtime decided the league title when these two met with identical 4-0 records in the regular season finale last year.

Ocean View vs. Orange, Oct. 28: Both teams feel that they’re in the hunt for a playoff spot, and this matchup could serve as an elimination game.

Santa Ana vs. Westminster, Nov. 4: The league title was decided on the last week of the season a year ago, and it could happen again in this game.

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