Much like in the PAC 5, three of the five teams in the Northern League finished in a three-way tie at the end of league play after posting 3-1 records.
But when all was said and done, it was Nipomo High that stood alone at the top, winning its first CIF-Southern Section title in school history.
The race for a Northern League title should once again be a three-team battle, but it might not be the same three teams that contended last season.
Nipomo Titans — 2014 record: 10-4, 3-1 (Northern)
The Titans will have a new head coach in Tony Dodge, new offensive and defensive philosophies and a new quarterback when it begins its title defense. Former head coach Russ Edwards will continue to call plays for the offense that will look to run the ball more now that senior dual-threat quarterback Gavin Hall has taken over for gunslinger Matt Albright. To accomplish their goal of going undefeated, the Titans will have to navigate a tough non-conference schedule before the league opener against Morro Bay in October.
Templeton Eagles — 2014 record: 10-3, 3-1 (Northern)
Senior quarterback Jordan Bernal is the undisputed leader of the offense after sharing time with the graduated Gunnar Griffin last season during Templeton’s run to the semifinals of the Northwest Division playoffs last season. It was a magical turnaround for the Dan Loney led Eagles after finishing 2013 with a 1-9 record. Look for Bernal and junior running back Nate Avery to compete for the title again in 2015.
Mission Prep Royals — 2014 record: 4-7, 1-3 (Northern)
Mission Prep could be to 2015 what Templeton was to 2014. After a solid sophomore season last year, quarterback Bryce Fledderman looks poised to put the Royals in the mix this year. Senior wide-receiver/linebacker Patrick Miller figures to be Fledderman’s favorite target in an offense that switched from an under center approach to strictly shotgun. Don’t be surprised if the Chad Henry-led Royals flip their league record in 2015.
Morro Bay Pirates — 2014 record: 5-6, 3-1 (Northern)
Morro Bay hit the reset button in the offseason. The Pirates have a brand new coaching staff led by former San Luis Obispo High head coach David Kelley. Dual threat quarterback Isaac Manaputy is the only key holdover for a very inexperienced Morro Bay team. With a new offense and a defense that has a lot to learn, it may be a long season for the Pirates.
Santa Maria Saints — 2014 record: 1-9, 0-4 (Northern)
Santa Maria brought in a new head coach after going winless in the Northern league in 2014. Dan Ellington will now lead the struggling Saints team that has not won a league game since 2010.