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Kickoff 2012: Empire League preview
Find the coaches' poll, individual previews for all seven schools, players and teams to watch and much more.
(Click on the links below to go to the individual team previews.)
1. Tustin, 11-3 in 2011, 46 poll points
2. Yorba Linda, 10-2, 38
3. Valencia, 1-9, 35
4. Cypress, 9-3, 34
5. Kennedy, 4-7, 18
6. Pacifica, 4-6, 15
7. Western, 4-6, 10
*Teams receive 7 points for a first-place vote; 6 for a second-place vote, etc.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Tustin. The Tillers are the defending CIF-SS Southwest Division champions, so a lot of eyes will be on how they’re able to regroup after not only some graduation losses, but some big transfer subtractions. Tustin has lost defensive back Treshon Broughton and linebacker Greg Hoyd to Vista Murrieta and linebacker Andrew Scott to Mission Viejo.
Valencia. The Tigers went through a disappointing year, finishing last and missing the playoffs. This year, nine starters return, so look for an improved team.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Gabe Perez, Valencia, RB/OLB/DE – He’s one of the county’s top recruits. Interest will only rise as the season begins.
Shad Pace, Yorba Linda, WR – First team all-Empire League wide receiver last year. Will probably end up there again this season.
David Maka, Tustin, OT/DT/TE – Maka returns on the line for the Tillers, but could also see some time at tight end.
Edward Tandy, Tustin, LB/RB – Tandy rushed for nearly 500 yards on offense. Defensively, he is one of the best in the county.
OTHER TOP PLAYERS:
Tustin: RB/LB Terence Martinez; FB/LB Marshaun Daniel; QB/DB Quinnton Roberson; RB/DB DaVonte Young
Yorba Linda: WR Lorenzo Ruiz; T Patrick Holt; DT Daniel Deedrick; DT Austin Thomas
Valencia: QB Jesse Godoy; LB Hayden Keefe; T Jon Talamoni; G Eduardo Diaz
Cypress: RB Jake Brito; MLB Nathan Mills
Kennedy: QB Taylor Elliott; RB Darius Miles
Pacifica: QB Nick Howard; RB/DE Michael Gehres
Western: RB/OLB Kyle Manliguis; QB Chris Zarate
MARK YOUR CALENDAR:
Tustin vs. Yorba Linda, Sept. 21. Last year, Yorba Linda pulled the upset with its 14-12 victory. They’re meeting in the league opener for both teams this season.
Valencia. The Tigers start the season with two of the top teams from the Century in Brea Olinda and Villa Park. Last season, those teams outscored the Tigers by a combined score of 94-13. Sonora and El Dorado are also on the nonleague schedule.