The Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division had a banner year in 2010 as it saw five teams reach the Central Coast Section playoffs — two of which were crowned champions — but may have an even more impressive year in 2011.
Terra Nova, which won its first CCS championship in 22 years, has not taken the offseason lightly and returns many of the offensive starters from a team that scored 417 points and won the Bay for the second straight year.
“The expectations remain high, but it’s always high,” Terra Nova coach Bill Gray said. “There has been no complacency.”
All-PAL Bay first-team quarterback Chris Forbes returns for his senior season after having his junior season cut short when he dislocated his right knee in the CCS semifinal game at Jefferson.
His four-man receiving corps of first-time all-leaguer Elias Vargas, Ryan Virgin, Jake Smith and Nick Manessis returns.
The concern for Terra Nova, though, is the defense as they look to replace nine defensive starters.
After falling to Terra Nova in the CCS Division III semifinal, Jefferson was bumped up to the Bay Division and returns four Ocean Division First Team All-League members.
Jefferson, which won the PAL Ocean last season, will lean on defensive back Myles Holmes, offensive lineman Lofi Tamasese and quarterback Jesse Gilson.
“We are expected to go to the playoffs [now],” Jefferson coach Ako Poti said of the raised expectations. “We haven’t had that confidence in a long time.”
Since taking over, Poti has a record of 14-8, with a league record of 9-2. In the five years prior to Poti’s appointment, Jefferson won 10 games.
Sacred Heart Prep won the CCS Division IV championship, but will be handed the task of retooling its offense.
The Gators saw starting quarterback John Geary, both their 1,000-yard rushers and four first-team all-league members, including Colin Terndrup and Pedro Robinson, graduate.
A huge bright spot for the Gators will be senior linebacker Luke Thomas, who returns after leading the team in sacks with 5½, while collecting 94 tackles, second on the team.
The hardest hit by graduation was Burlingame.
Burlingame saw all six of its all-league players graduate, which included Defensive Player of the Year Ben Poulos, Utility Player of the Year Nik Gutierrez and running back Ilan Lesov.
A year after moving up from the Ocean, the Panthers stepped right in to claim a share of second place with SHP.
The most talented team in the league, according to Gray, might be Menlo-Atherton.
M-A will be carrying two impact running backs in Cameron Moody and Taylor Mashack. Moody led the Bears in yards and touchdowns, whereas Mashack averaged over eight yards per carry. Senior Luke Pinkston also returns after leading the team in sacks (6.0) and second in tackles.
King’s Academy lost Offensive Player of the Year Amir Carlisle, who is now at Southern Cal. Carlisle ran for more than 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns last season.
An offensive that relied heavily on Carlisle will now look to other options.