By Zach Cavanagh

In our annual Dana Hills High School football preview we delve into everything you need to know about the upcoming Dolphin season. Scroll through the PDF version above for more photos and interviews.

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Game One: August 17, 7 p.m.

Los Amigos

Location: Dana Hills HS

Coach: Carl Agnew

2017 Record: 2-8 (1-4 Garden Grove League)

2017 vs. DH: Loss, 34-7

Season Outlook:

Los Amigos is 11-21 over the last three seasons, but things could be looking up for the Lobos with key players returning at major positions.

Los Amigos is, first and foremost, a grind-it-out running team. Brian Pacheco carried the ball 141 times as a sophomore for 740 yards and 10 touchdowns. The No. 2 rusher, Joseph Garcia, carried the ball 76 times as a sophomore for 313 yards, including 128 yards and a touchdown against Dana Hills.

Brandon Tinoco returns as a senior quarterback who averaged 8.4 yards per completion as a junior with 811 total yards and just three touchdowns.

 

Game Two: August 24, 7 p.m.

Lincoln (LA)

Location: Lincoln HS

Coach: Chris Rattay

2017 Record: 1-9 (0-5 Northern League)

2017 vs. DH: Did not play

Season Outlook:

Lincoln of Los Angeles is coming off its worst season since 2004.

The Tigers allowed 30 points or more in each of their nine losses and scored a combined total of 32 points in those nine games with four shutouts. Lincoln’s lone win came over Los Angeles High School, who made the L.A. City Section playoffs but finished 1-10 overall.

The Tigers are a running team but lost their top two rushers.

Lincoln spread around quarterback reps last season, but Eric Alderete is the senior returner. Alderete completed 53 percent of his passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and seven interceptions over nine games.

 

Game Three: August 31, 7 p.m.

Saddleback

Location: Dana Hills HS

Coach: Nick Diulio

2017 Record: 2-7 (1-4 Orange Coast League)

2017 vs. DH: Did not play

Season Outlook:

Saddleback went through a bit of a coaching carousel last season, but the ride stopped on Nick Diulio, who takes over for his first season this fall.

The Roadrunners allowed 31 points or more in six of their nine games last season. Their 2-7 record was a steady trend down from 4-6 in 2016 and back-to-back 6-5 seasons in 2014 and 2015.

Saddleback split time between three quarterbacks last season, none of whom are listed on the current roster. The quarterbacks listed are senior David Ayala, junior Alex Soto and sophomore Juan Guerrero.

The Roadrunners top rushers, receivers and tacklers also graduated.

 

Game Four: September 7, 7 p.m.

Laguna Beach

Location: Laguna Beach HS

Coach: John Shanahan

2017 Record: 5-6 (4-1 Orange Coast League)

2017 vs. DH: Did not play

Season Outlook:

Laguna Beach took a step back last season, but the Breakers still finished second in a competitive Orange Coast League and lost a tight first-round playoff game.

Laguna Beach was involved in a large league shift in Orange County, and this season, its football team moves into the newly formed Golden West Conference and its football-only Pac 4 League subdivision with Godinez, Ocean View and Western.

Shane Lythgoe, the Breakers’ leading rusher, returns after a 500-yard, 5.2 yards-per-carry season. Leading receiver Sean Nolan also returns after a 56-catch, 823-yard season. Junior Andrew Johnson figures to step in at quarterback to replace a 2,000-yard passer.

 

Game Five: September 14, 7 p.m.

Irvine

Location: Dana Hills HS

Coach: Erik Terry

2017 Record: 6-4 (3-2 Pacific Coast League)

2017 vs. DH: Did not play

Season Outlook:

Irvine had a bounce-back campaign in 2017 after a pair of two-win seasons prior. Despite a third-place league finish, the Vaqueros did not make the playoffs, which gives Irvine a chip on its shoulder going into 2018.

The shot in the arm for the Vaqueros was quarterback Marc Filia, who complete just under 60 percent of his passes for 2,365 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior. He also ran for four rushing touchdowns.

Irvine’s leading rusher, Cory Bautista, also returns after a 418-yard, four-touchdown season. Bryce Tanikawa, the Vaqueros’ No. 2 receiver, also returns after catching 53 passes for 726 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

 

Game Six: September 21. 7 p.m.

Ocean View

Location: Dana Hills HS

Coach: Luis Nunez

2017 Record: 5-5 (1-4 Golden West League)

2017 vs. DH: Did not play

Season Outlook:

Ocean View started off 2017 strong with a 4-1 record and strong wins, but a tough campaign in a competitive Golden West League leveled things out for the Seahawks.

Ocean View played with a balanced offense with equal time to the run and pass. Quarterback Noah Hickman completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,489 yards and 15 touchdowns and ran for 373 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Seahawks did lose their 1,000-yard rusher to graduation as well as their top two receivers.

Ocean View’s top two tacklers return with seniors Alex Nieves (95 tackles) and Jesus Ramirez (59 tackles).

 

Game Seven: September 28, 7 p.m.

Laguna Hills

Location: Laguna Hills HS

Coach: Mike Maceranka

2017 Record: 2-7 (0-4 Sea View League)

2017 vs. DH: Loss, 10-0

Season Outlook:

Laguna Hills took a tumble last season.

The Hawks were shut out twice in Sea View League play, including a 10-0 loss to Dana Hills and a 33-0 loss to rival Aliso Niguel. Laguna Hills also had a run in with hand, foot and mouth disease in the middle of the season that forced a game cancellation.

Matt Der Torossian takes over at quarterback and will have plenty of protection behind the 6-foot-6, 275-lbs. frame of Nolan Hegeduis.

Mitch Leigber got some offensive looks as a freshman and is a player to watch on kick and punt returns.

 

Game Eight: October 5, 7 p.m.

Trabuco Hills

Location: Dana Hills HS

Coach: John Abdelnour

2017 Record: 2-8 (0-4 South Coast League)

2017 vs. DH: Did not play

Season Outlook:

Trabuco Hills lost its final seven games to end last season on a sour note. It was a season full of injuries to top players for the Mustangs, so they welcome a restart in 2018.

Trabuco Hills will be helped by a return to the Sea View League after a winless South Coast League campaign.

The Mustangs will also get back their leading rusher in JC Montgomery. As a junior, Montgomery rushed for 208 yards in four games before taking an injury.

Quarterback Aidan Armstrong got plenty of playing time as a sophomore and should step into the top role.

 

Game Nine: October 12, 7 p.m.

Aliso Niguel

Location: Aliso Niguel HS

Coach: Kurt Westling

2017 Record: 6-5 (2-2 Sea View League)

2017 vs. DH: Win, 51-19

Season Outlook:

Aliso Niguel finished in the dead center of the Sea View League last season and could be a team to challenge for the league title this time around.

The Wolverines had an explosive passing attack, and they return their signal-caller in senior Kyle Robertson. Robertson completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for 2,330 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Aliso Niguel did lose their top receiver to graduation, Tyler Jones, and will need to find ways to recoup his 1,457 receiving yards.

The Wolvers will also look to fill the holes of their leading rusher and top-two tacklers from a season ago.

 

Game Ten: October 19. 7 p.m.

San Juan Hills

Location: Dana Hills HS

Coach: Rob Frith

2017 Record: 6-6 (1-3 South Coast League)

2017 vs. DH: Did not play

Season Outlook:

San Juan Hills comes down from the South Coast League, and in coach Rob Frith’s first season, the Stallions are expected to compete for the league title.

San Juan Hills’ can’t miss player is all-beef in four-star tackle Sean Rhyan. The 6-foot-5, 300-lbs. senior has 14 college offers and will command the line of scrimmage for the Stallions.

Rhyan will be protecting for junior quarterback Jake Carreon. A transfer from Mira Costa, Carreon will helm the up-tempo spread offense implemented by Frith.

Other players to watch are running back Chase Monarch, defensive end Cade Albright and receiver Joey Hobert.

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