A look at the non-San Luis Obispo County PAC 7 teams:
Record: (8-3, 5-0 PAC 7) Key players: RB/DB Dylan Jones, DB Tony Velasco, WR Ricky Garcia
Key losses from last year: WR/DB Matt Miller, DB Cody Berry, DL Jordan Rubio, RB Michael Hale, QB T.J. Jordan, LB Brandon Escobedo
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Outlook: The Warriors bring back just one all-league honoree — Velasco — from last season’s PAC 7 championship squad but have seven other starters returning.
Jones should be the go-to option offensively, helping to make up for the losses of Hale and league MVP Miller, now at the University of San Diego.
Record: (10-2, 6-1 LPL in 2009)
Key players: TE/DE Chris Basulto, QB Jason Espinoza, OL/DL Francisco Hipolito, RB/DB Gabriel Fuentes, RB Brandon Bing
Key losses from last year: RB Dan Ando, QB Nick Rucobo, DE Alex Grandy, WR Anthony JacksonOutlook: The Panthers, new to the PAC 7, graduated every starter from last year’s Los Padres League runner-up.
Finding a replacement for Ando — last year’s LPL Running Back of the Year, who had 10.8-second speed in the 100-meter dash — will be a difficult task.
The same could be said of filling the void left by Grandy, who won LPL Defensive Lineman of the Year honors and is now a Cal Poly wrestler. He had an area-best 10.5 sacks last year.
Record: (12-1, 7-0 LPL)
Key players: OL Dominic Galassi, DB Kohl Bashline, LB Jack Donovan, DL Matt Spencer
Key losses from last year: RB/KR K.J. Cusack, OL Keith Bendixen, QB Jacob Cano, OL/DL Zach Perron, WR/DB Jason Buchanan
Outlook: The Knights are faced with replacing arguably more talent than anyone else in the area. They graduated a trio of Division I signees from last year’s CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division semifinalist in Bendixen (San Jose State), Perron (UC Davis) and Cusack (Cal Poly).
Cusack led the state by averaging 13.8 yards per carry, earning medium-schools all-state honors from ESPN RISE.
But St. Joseph should have a solid foundation defensively, as Spencer, Donovan and Bashline were represented on the all-LPL team as juniors and should lead each of their three units.
Finding replacements at the skill positions offensively will be a priority as the Knights begin their first year in the PAC 7.