The Peninsula Athletic League Lake Division football race figures to be very competitive this season.
King's Academy is favored to be alone at the top at season's end, but El Camino and Mills figure to have something to say about that. However, multiple coaches around the league, including El Camino's Mark Turner, expect Jefferson, which was winless in 2013, to be very dangerous in 2014.
“This division has been possibly the toughest year in and year out,” Turner said. “The King's Academy has a bunch of players coming back, but one of the teams I'm worried about, who I saw this summer, is Jefferson. They have a new scheme, a new coordinator that'll make a difference, and they have a athleticism. If they can implement their system and those kids pick it up, Jefferson can be a very, very dangerous team.”
KING'S ACADEMY (5-5, 3-2): The Knights last won a division title in 2008, when they won the PAL Ocean, but they are in the driver's seat to win the Lake in 2014. They return 17 starters from a season ago and have size and speed at every position. King's Academy also has a new coach in Mike Johnson, who played and coached on the highest platform, including a stint as interim offensive coordinator with the 49ers in 2010.
EL CAMINO (6-4, 3-2): The Colts started 2013 off hot, opening up with a 3-1 record that included victories over San Francisco teams Washington and Lincoln. However, they stumbled against Mills (14-6), and Hillsdale (28-6), missing out on a championship, which would have been their first since 2007. They will be led by senior quarterback Andrew Pierotti (5-foot-8, 155 pounds) and two-way lineman Malik Demartha (6-0, 280 pounds).
MILLS (7-3, 3-2): In search of their first division title since 2003, Mills will look to build off of a strong 2013. The Vikings return quarterback Marquis Adkins (6-1, 200 pounds), who also plays defensive back. They return eight starters from a season ago.
CARLMONT (3-7, 1-4): Coach Rich Gianuario, who previously coached the Scots from 1996 through 2000, is back in the saddle as the head honcho for Carlmont. He will look to lead Carlmont back to the top of the Lake Division, where the Scots were in 2011 when they split the title with Capuchino. They will lean on first-team all-league member, senior linebacker Nicholas Thompson.
CAPUCHINO (1-9, 0-5): Capuchino was dropped from the PAL Ocean after a disappointing 2013. The Mustangs won the PAL Lake outright in 2012, and shared the title with Carlmont in 2011. Like Carlmont, they also have a new coach in Ben White, who previously coached at South San Francisco and is the son of legendary Galileo coach George White.
JEFFERSON (0-10, 0-5): The Indians can only improve off of 2013, where they failed to win a game. Junior quarterback Damari Davis has drawn interest from Division I schools, and he'll be looked up to lead Jefferson in a new spread offense, hoping to shock members of the Lake Division. They brought over Terra Nova freshman-sophomore coach Will Maddox to implement that spread offense.