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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: Villa Park preview

STAFF WRITER

(Editor's note: Changes were made to reflect that Darrius Outland is no longer at Villa Park.)

OCVarsity’s season preview for 2016:

VILLA PARK SPARTANS

Coach: Dusan Ancich

Last season: 12-1 overall, 3-0 league

Scouting report: Villa Park welcomes back an abundance of talent from a team whose only loss a season ago was to the eventual CIF Southwest Division champs, La Habra. Middle linebacker John Stamos heads up a formidable defensive unit that boasts Division 1 talent at all three levels. Defensive end Shane Darsow has been unblockable in training camp and should wreak havoc off the edge this fall. Next to him, mammoth defensive tackles Anthony Shipton (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) and Cameron Imsande (6-foot-2, 270 pounds) are both returning starters that can clog running lanes and free up space for one of the most instinctive and active linebackers around in Stamos. On the back end, Christian Prado (Corona of Santiago) steps into a starting role. On offense, Purdue-commit Nick Sipe blossomed in his second year under center, tossing for 2,842 yards and 31 touchdowns. The Spartans are young on the offensive line and at the wide receiver position, with Matt Roach returning as the only player with double-digit grabs in 2015. New faces will have to emerge as potential game changers, but Roach and speedy running back Devin Gill appear up for the task.

Bottom line: The Spartans look poised to capture a seventh straight league title this fall. There’s not a ton of experience on the offensive line and young skill position players will need to prove themselves on the varsity level, but if they can, this defense has the potential to lead this group deep into the postseason.

Players to watch: Shane Darsow, DE, Sr.; Devin Gill, RB, Jr.; Matt Roach, WR, Sr.; Anthony Shipton, DT, Jr.; Nick Sipe, QB, Sr.; John Stamos, LB/FB, Sr.

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Contact the writer: kconnolly@scng.com


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