Aptos High

• Last year’s record: 9-3 (Central Coast Section Open Division III semifinalist)
• Last year’s league record: 5-0 (Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League champions)
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 149th
• Key losses: Joey Riccabona; receiver that earned SCCAL MVP honors after rewriting the record books as a pass catcher and starring as the Mariners’ top defensive back and punt returner, too… Gavin Glaum; two-year starting quarterback that missed nearly the entire league season but still managed to break multiple program passing records…Jack Wolf; was one of the program’s top running backs of all-time in terms of yardage, becoming one of only two Aptos players to run for more than 1,000 yards in a single season since the turn of the century… Chris Ilar; the Mariners’ 260-pound nose tackle that earned Lineman of the Year honors last season while leading a defense that allowed only 27 points in over five league games… Trenten Black; three-year starting inside linebacker that earned his second straight All-SCCAL First Team selection.
• Key returners: Alex Austen (Sr.); the 6-foot-4, 308-pound offensive tackle is entering his third varsity season and has college coaches salivating at his size, strength and athleticism… Joseph Gutierrez-Lee (Sr.); the 6-foot-2, 284-pound transfer from St. Francis High fit right in last season with the Mariners’ starting offensive line and earned an All-SCCAL First Team selection… Bubba Gallardo (Jr.); excelled at defensive back, hauling in three interceptions and earning a spot on the All-SCCAL First Team defense. He also showed some speed with the ball in his hands on sweeps out of the wingback position… Angel Aparicio (Jr.); got most of the snaps in garbage time of last year’s blowout victories and has the desirable size — 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds — and arm strength of a starting quarterback. Will compete with a handful of other underclassmen for the starting position.
• Other changes: Aptos made the move to the Monterey Bay League Gabilan division after the coaches of the now-defunct SCCAL decided to break up the decades-old league in December of last year. The move means the Mariners, who won the SCCAL title six straight times, will play seven league games and only three preseason contests.

Templeton High
• When: August 25
• Where: Aptos High
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 625th
• Last year’s overall record: 3-7
• Last year’s league record: 2-2 (Northern Football League of CIF Southern Section)
Notes: Mascot is the Eagle…It will be a 134-mile drive up Highway 101 from Templeton to Aptos… Senior dual-threat quarterback Morgan Scovell, who threw for 442 yards and rushed for 543, is back along with sophomore running back Shane Simonin and senior receivers Clay Simons and Isaiah Harrold… Tyler Lane is heading into his second season as the head coach after replacing Dan Loney last year.

Aragon High
• When: September 1
• Where: Aptos High
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 287th
• Last year’s overall record: 7-4 (CCS Open Division III qualifier)
• Last year’s league record: 3-2 (Peninsula Athletic League’s Bay division)
Notes: Mariners played the Dons twice last season. Aptos won 49-21 in each team’s preseason finale and then eliminated Aragon from the playoffs in a 35-14 victory in the first round of the CCS Open Division III bracket… Aragon has qualified for the postseason each of the last six seasons under longtime head coach Steve Snell…This preseason meeting will be the Dons’ first game of the season.

Placer High
• When: September 8
• Where: Placer High
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 279th
• Last year’s overall record: 7-6 (Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV runner-up)
• Last year’s league record: 4-1 (Pioneer Valley League co-champion)
Notes: Mascot is the Hillmen…the 200-mile drive to Auburn will be the first of three straight road games for Aptos…Hillmen return junior quarterback Michael Stuck and a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in seniors Mario Perez and Anthony Kerrigan, who also caught five touchdown passes and led the team in receiving yards (705)… Program, run by longtime coach Joey Montoya, has not dipped below the top 300 teams in the state since 2007, winning three section titles and five straight league championships in that time.

Palma High
• When: September 22
• Where: Rabobank Stadium
• Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 107th
• Last year’s overall record: 10-4 (CCS Open Division III runner-up and CIF Division 4-AA state bowl game qualifier)
• Last year’s league record: 6-0 (MBL-Gabilan division champion)
Notes: Aptos has yet to beat Palma. Last year’s 38-20 preseason loss at Trevin Dilfer Field was the fifth straight against the Chieftains… Palma has won the MBL-Gabilan title every season since the equity league was established in 2012, losing only one league game in five seasons…The Chieftains are trying to replace MBL-Gabilan MVP Drew Dalman and co-Offensive Player of the Year Emilio Martinez, among other several key contributors. Dalman will play for Stanford in the fall and Martinez will suit up for University of San Diego.

Seaside High
• When: September 29
• Where: Seaside High
• Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 466th
• Last year’s overall record: 10-2 (CCS Division IV semifinalist)
• Last year’s league record: 6-0 (MBL-Pacific division champion)
Notes: Spartans won their first league title since 2012 last season with a perfect run through the MBL-Pacific…Seaside was moved up to the MBL-Gabilan despite graduating a majority of its top athletes, including MBL-Pacific MVP Malik Jeter and Offensive Player of the Year Keishawn Robinson… The Spartans’ last stint in the MBL-Gabilan was a short one, spending the 2013 and ’14 seasons in the upper division before moving down…Aptos last played Seaside in 2014. The Mariners won, 32-7.

North Salinas High
• When: October 6
• Where: Aptos High
•  Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 510th
•  Last year’s overall record: 4-6
•  Last year’s league record: 2-4
Notes: The Vikings are working to replace quarterback Timothy Burkhardt along with top rusher Erik Delgadillo, their top receiver Damon Diaz and the MBL-Gabilan division’s Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman Fabian Hunkin…Last season was North Salinas’s first campaign in the MBL-Gabilan after spending the 2015 season in the MBL-Pacific.

Alvarez High
•  When: October 13
•  Where: Aptos High
•  Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 603th
•  Last year’s overall record: 3-7
•  Last year’s league record: 1-5
Notes: Head coach Brad Mendes took over the program last March…The Eagles have several of their statistical leaders returning, including senior dual-threat quarterback Matthew Martinez and senior running back Michael Ramirez…Alvarez is 6-12 in league play since moving to the MBL-Gabilan division.

San Benito High
•  When: October 20
•  Where: San Benito High
•  Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 186th
•  Last year’s overall record: 10-2 (CCS Open Division I semifinal
•  Last year’s league record: 5-1
Notes: Haybalers finished runner-up in the MBL-Gabilan last season after losing a 14-6 heartbreaker to Palma High…San Benito has made the CCS playoffs eight years in a row and won a pair of section titles during that run…Aptos last played San Benito in 2006. The Mariners won, 24-20.

Monte Vista Christian
•  When: October 27
•  Where: Aptos High
•  Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 415th
•  Las year’s overall record: 8-3 (CCS Open Division III semifinalist)
•  Last year’s league record: 4-2
Notes: Monte Vista Christian recently hired former Stevenson head coach Bruce Dini as its replacement for David Reese. In Reese’s nine years, the Mustangs went 63-36 overall and earned five CCS postseason berths. Dini was the head coach at Stevenson for the last five seasons, tallying a 27-20 record over that time…Mustangs lost several starters to graduation, including starting quarterback Devon Daich, top receivers Darren Selck and Holden Lukin and two-way star Jackson Collins…It will be the 11th meeting between the two Santa Cruz County teams and the first since the turn of the century. Aptos leads the all-time series 8-2.

Salinas High
• When: November 3
• Where: Aptos High
• Last year’s MaxPreps state rankings: 334th
• Last year’s overall record: 5-6 (CCS Open Division I qualifier)
• Last year’s league record: 3-3
Notes: Steve Zenk is the new head coach at Salinas High replacing Steve Goodbody, who stepped down as the program’s winningest coach after 11 seasons, in February. Zenk spent nine seasons as the head coach at North Salinas High…The Cowboys have advanced to the CCS playoffs in nine straight seasons…Senior quarterback Brett Reade, who threw for 1,527 yards and 11 scores last season, leads a strong group of returners that also includes senior running back Richard Cerda.

Editor’s Note: This entry is part 1 of 6 in a weekly blog series that will delve in each local high school football program’s schedule. Following alphabetical order, Monte Vista Christian’s breakdown will run in the July 3 edition of the Pajaronian.

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