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Kickoff '11: Orange Coast League preview
OCVarsity continues its league-by-league previews for high school football with the Orange Coast League.
Find the coaches' poll, individual team previews, players and teams to watch and much more.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Estancia. The Eagles have the league's top offensive weapon, running back Robert Murtha. He was the league's offensive player of the year as a sophomore in 2010. Estancia has qualified for a playoff berth in four of the league's five years of existence.
Saddleback. The Roadrunners have a new coach, Rob Thompson, who takes over a program that is 3-37 over the past four seasons, including records of 1-9 overall and 0-5 in league last year. Saddleback has only two returning starters.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Robert Murtha, Estancia. He rushed last season for 1,679 yards, the third most for an Orange County non-senior and the most for a sophomore in 2010. Murtha, a 5-foot-10, 185 pound junior running back, ran for 19 touchdowns and averaged 6 yards a carry and 153 yards a game. His 302 carries was the second-highest total in the county.
Robert Clemons, Laguna Beach. This receiver had 36 receptions for 650 yards and five touchdowns last season as a sophomore and was named All-Orange Coast League first team. Good totals for a guy who was the No. 2 receiver on a team that had All-CIF receiver Chris Paul. Clemons, 5-11 and 175, also plays safety.
OTHER TOP PLAYERS:
Calvary Chapel: Kurtis Davey, OL, Sr.; J.T. McLuckey, QB, Sr.
Costa Mesa: Nate Avis, QB, Sr.; Charles Mankin, TE, Sr.
Estancia: Zach Bateman, OL, Sr.; Alipa Peters, DL, Sr.
Godinez: Alex Hernandez, DB/K, Sr.; David Rivera, RB, Sr.
Laguna Beach: Drake Martinez, RB/DB, Jr.; Ricky Delatorre, OL/DL, Sr.
Saddleback: Eddie Arvezu, RB/LB, Jr.; Greg Gonzales, RB/DB, So.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR:
Costa Mesa at Estancia, Oct. 16. Estancia is the defending league champion and has won six league games in a row. The Eagles play their neighborhood rival Mustangs, under new coach Wally Grant, in the season opener for both teams.
Saddleback. Of the Roadrunners' five nonleague games, four are against 2010 playoff teams.