Last year’s record: 8-3 (Central Coast Section Open Division III qualifier)
Last year’s league record: 4-2 (second place in Monterey Bay League Gabilan division)
Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 415th
Key losses: Jackson Collins; Mustangs will have a tough time replacing the 6-foot-2, 200-pound standout linebacker and receiver that recorded a pair of pick-sixes and led the team in receiving touchdowns… Devon Daich; dual-threat quarterback that completed 59 percent of his passes and tossed 16 touchdowns…Darren Selck; M.V.C.’s top red zone option averaged 14.6 yards a catch and hauled in four scores…D.J. Deas; a family move from the area has stripped the Mustangs of a star running back that totaled 1,014 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman… Christopher Denning; The 6-foot-2, 235-pound lineman was the Mustangs’ leader in the trenches.
• Key returners: Nick Arroyo (Sr.); led the team in interceptions last season (5)… Cody Paresa (Sr.); with D.J. Deas gone, Paresa, who ran for eight touchdowns, will be asked to run the ball plenty… Garret Laine (Sr.); a ball-hawk and sure tackler from the safety spot that will be asked to do more on offense this season… Daniel Brierley (Jr.); averaged 14.8 yards per catch last season and figures to hold a prominent role in the Mustangs’ pass-happy spread offense… Cory Margo (Sr.); a lot will be asked of the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder after the Mustangs graduated a majority of their starting offensive line.
Notes: Bruce Dini was hired as the Mustangs’ new head coach after longtime coach David Reese stepped down. Dini spent the last five years as the head coach of the Stevenson football program, leading the Pirates to their first CCS playoff berth in 17 years…With Aptos High joining the MBL-Gabilan, the Mustangs’ league schedule grew to seven games and their preseason schedule shrunk to three…M.V.C. has advanced to the playoffs each of the last three seasons, which is a program record.

King City High
• When: August 25
• Where: Monte Vista Christian
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 666th
• Last year’s overall record: 5-5
• Last year’s league record: 4-3 (Mission Trail Athletic League)
Notes: King City has not recorded a winning season since 2013, when it finished 5-2…The Mustangs were selected to compete in the “B” division of the newly formed Mission Trail Athletic League with Carmel High, Pacific Grove High, San Lorenzo Valley High, Scotts Valley High, Soledad High and Stevenson… King City graduated a strong class of 19 players, including leading rusher Christian Olmos, but returns its 1-2 offensive punch in dual-threat quarterback Thomas Stephens and receiver Clay Barbree…This year’s meeting will mark the sixth straight year in which the teams have played in the preseason. M.V.C. holds a 5-1 advantage in those games.

North Monterey County High
• When: September 1
• Where: Monte Vista Christian
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 900th
• Last year’s overall record: 2-8
• Last year’s league record: 2-4 (MBL-Pacific)
Notes: The Condors have not finished with a above-.500 record since the 2010 season…Head coach Sean Gomes is heading into his second season of his second stint with N.M.C.…The Condors nearly stunned the Mustangs last season, staging a fourth-quarter comeback that fell just short in a 20-16 loss…Nearly all of the Condors statistical leaders from last season are gone following graduation. Junior defensive back and receiver Oscar Munoz is the lone returning skill position player that was used in the offense last season.

Scotts Valley High
• When: September 8
• Where: Scotts Valley High
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 412th
• Last year’s overall record: 7-4 (CCS Division IV qualifier)
• Last year’s league record: 4-1 (Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League)
Notes: As usual, the Falcons graduated plenty of playmakers. Quarterback Tyler Stow, who tossed for 1,932 yards and 25 touchdowns, is gone and so is his main target Ryan Johnston, who caught 17 scores. The duo shared SCCAL Offensive Player of the Year honors last season. They do, however, have plenty of talented returning stars. Six-foot-6, 225-pound tight end and linebacker Carson Spence and speedy running back Ryan Conte lead the group…Scotts Valley has finished .500 or better in five of the last six seasons… This year’s contest will be the first time the Mustangs and Falcons have played since 2004. Scotts Valley won that preseason game, 69-6.

North Salinas High
• When: September 22
• Where: North Salinas 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.

San Benito High
• When: September 29
• Where: Monte Vista Christian
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 186th
• Last year’s overall record: 10-2 (CCS Open Division I semifinalist)
• Last year’s league record: 5-1
Notes: San Benito finished runner-up in the MBL-Gabilan last season after losing a 14-6 heartbreaker to Palma High…The Haybalers have made the CCS playoffs eight years in a row and won a pair of section titles during that run…The Mustangs led 13-0 during last season’s game against the Haybalers but wound up losing 42-20.

Alvarez High
• When: October 6
• Where: Monte Vista Christian
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 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.

Palma High
• When: October 13
• Where: Rabobank Stadium
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 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: 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…The Mustangs were shutout 35-0 by the Chieftains last season.

Salinas High
• When: October 20
• Where: Salinas High
• Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 334th
• Last year’s overall record: 5-6 (CCS Open Division I qual
• Last year’s league record: 3-3
Notes: Steve Zenk is the new head coach at Salinas High replacing Steve Goodbody, who stepped down in February as the program’s winningest coach after 11 seasons. 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…The Mustangs have had the Cowboys’ number the last two seasons, beating them 31-20 last season and 31-27 the year before.

Aptos High
• When: October 27
• Where: Monte Vista Christian
• Last year’s MaxPreps State ranking: 149th
• Last year’s overall record: 9-3 (CCS Open Division III semifinalist)
• Last year’s league record: 5-0 (SCCAL champions)
Notes: It will be the Mariners’ first go-around in the MBL-Gabilan after the SCCAL coaches voted to split up…Aptos has won six straight league championships and three CCS titles in seven years with head coach Randy Blankenship…The Mariners have not had a problem with replacing talent in the past but they do have their work cut out for them this season. They graduated the record-breaking trio of quarterback Gavin Glaum, receiver Joey Riccabona and running back Jack Wolf…It will be the 11th meeting between the two Santa Cruz County programs and the first since the turn of the century. Aptos leads the all-time series, 8-2.

Seaside High
• When: November 3
• Where: Monte Vista Christian
• 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…The Mustangs and Spartans have played instant classics over the past years but no game was more memorable than their MBL tilt in 2009. M.V.C. held explosive Seaside, then a powerhouse that would go on to win a CCS D-III championship, in check for most of the game in a 10-0 loss, which proved to be the turning point for the program under Reese.

Editor’s Note: This entry is part 2 of 6 in a weekly blog series that will delve in each local high school football program’s schedule. Following alphabetical order, Aptos was part 1 and North Monterey County High will follow M.V.C. as part 3.

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