Last year’s overall record: 5-6 (North Coast Section Division V qualifier)

Last year’s league record: 1-5 (Bay Football League — NCS)

Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 863rd

Key losses: Richie Martinez III; was the steady workhorse for the Sharks’ run-heavy offense last season, totaling 1,043 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground…Andrew Ciandro; 6-foot, 200-pounder was a tough ball carrier at fullback and physical force at inside linebacker…Ivo Lasich; speedy running back was a threat to score every time he touched the ball…Noe Madrigal; the three-year starter was a vocal leader in the trenches.

Key returners: Derric Estrada-Haro; arguably the Sharks’ best athlete, the senior quarterback is back after having a stellar season cut short by injury…Josh Kovacs; starred on the offensive line and wasn’t too shabby as a linebacker either last season…Mario Velasquez; senior defensive back is solid in pass coverage and a good tackler in the box…Carson Cuzick; at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, the senior will be called on to carry the ball plenty while also spending time on defense.

Notes: John Ausman, who served as the defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, filled in as the Sharks’ head coach after Adam Hazel stepped down…St. Francis is now in the Mission Trail Athletic League’s Coastal division following a restructuring of the football landscape along the Monterey Bay which was sparked by the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League’s decision to disband for football. The MTAL-C is the lower division of the league. Gonzales High, Greenfield High, Harbor High, Marina High, Santa Cruz High and Soquel High will join St. Francis in the “C”-rated league. Neither of those teams finished above .500 last season, creating a sense of parity in the division…St. Francis last year played postseason football for the first time since 2010. It qualified for the NCS D-V playoffs. It was also the first time in three seasons the Sharks had played in a league.


Pajaro Valley High

When: August 25, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Emmett M. Geiser Field

Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 961st

Last year’s overall record: 3-7

Last year’s league record: 1-5 (Monterey Bay League Pacific division)

Notes: Kevin Cordova is the new head coach after the retirement of longtime head coach Joe Gregorio. Cordova spent last season as the Grizzlies’ offensive coordinator…Two-way senior lineman Irepan Romero, senior safety/running back Jaylen Carreon and senior receiver/corner/kicker Diego Navarro lead a youthful group — only 10 seniors on the current roster…St. Francis has played Pajaro Valley each of the last two seasons. Pajaro Valley won in 2015 but St. Francis proved to be too much last year, beating the Grizzlies 34-7.

California School for the Deaf

When: September 1, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Santa Cruz High

Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 742nd

Last year’s overall record: 11-2 (NCS Division V quarterfinalist)

Last year’s league record: 2-0 (Bay Football League)

Notes: Will be second time the Sharks and Eagles will play. Last season, C.S.D. beat St. Francis 49-29 in its regular-season finale…Eagles’ star sophomore running back Calel Aramboles is back along with senior Spezio Harmount. The two combined to total 1,561 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. Harmount also made 36 receptions for 773 yards and 14 touchdowns.

La Salle

When: September 8, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Las Salle High, of Milwaukie, Oregon

Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: NA

Last year’s overall record: 4-5

Last year’s league record: 2-5 (5A Northwest Oregon)

Notes: The second edition of the “Hazel Bowl” lost a little bit of its luster when Adam Hazel stepped down from his coaching duties but the Sharks will nonetheless make the 718-mile trek to the Northwest to play Aaron Hazel and his Falcons. Last season, Aaron got the best of older brother Adam in Watsonville with a 44-21 victory…The Falcons lost several of their top talents from a year ago but still boast a massive 23-player senior class. Six-foot-2 senior Riley McDonough leads the group…Last year’ 4-5 finish was La Salle’s best showing in Hazel’s tenure, which began in 2014.

Pacific Grove High

When: September 15, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Pacific Grove High

Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 697th

Last year’s overall record: 5-5

Last year’s league record: 4-3 (MTAL)

Notes: Noah Cryns is gone a year after running for 1,020 yards and 20 touchdowns and passing for 1,525 yards and 12 scores. Receiver Nick Coppla, who caught 40 passes for 717 yards and nine touchdowns, is also gone…Last season marked the first time since 2011 that Pacific Grove failed to earn a postseason berth…Pacific Grove and St. Francis have met only twice. The Sharks have won both, beating the Breakers in 2009 and 2010.


Marina High

When: September 23, 2 p.m.

Where: Strawberry Field

Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 987th

Last year’s overall record: 1-9

Last year’s league record: 1-7 (MTAL)

Notes: Marina’s lone win of the season came against North Monterey County High in Week 2…The Marina football program is one of the newest in the Monterey Bay and the greater CCS, earning 11-man status in 2010. Since its inception, the Mariners have yet to post a winning record. That, however, could change this season after being placed in the lower level of the restructured MTAL…St. Francis has played Marina three times. The Sharks won the first two by a combined score of 69-7 but escaped with only a 19-14 win in 2015…This game will serve as the Sharks’ homecoming.

Greenfield High

When: September 29, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Greenfield High

Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 867th

Last year’s overall record: 3-7

Last year’s league record: 2-5 (MTAL)

Notes: The Bruins have not had a winning season since 2011…Quarterback Rodriguez Frias, receiver Isaac Pajas and tight end Bryan Ceballos lead the Bruins’ group of returners…St. Francis has played Greenfield five years running. The Sharks own a 3-2 advantage and won last season’s matchup, 31-20.

Harbor High

When: October 6, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Emmett M. Geiser Field

Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 1,038th

Last year’s overall record: 0-9

Last year’s league record: 0-5 (SCCAL)

Notes: James Gaynor Jr. is the new head coach at Harbor after the school dismissed Waylon Prather after two seasons. Gaynor, who has never held a lead position, is the program’s eighth head coach since 2006…Harbor has struggled as of recent. The Pirates have lost 23 straight games and have not tallied a winning record since 2000…St. Francis beat Harbor in back-to-back weeks last season by a combined score of 80-0.

Soquel High

When: October 14, 2 p.m.

Where: Strawberry Field

Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 939th

Last year’s overall record: 2-8

Last year’s league record: 1-4 (SCCAL)

Notes: The Knights are entering the fourth year of head coach Brad Tompkins’ tenure. After an OK 4-6 season in 2014, Soquel has had trouble staying healthy and picking up wins. The Knights were 2-8 last season and 1-9 the year before…All-SCCAL First Team offensive lineman Carlos Mercado is one of few returning players that made a significant contribution last season, meaning Soquel will need several new stars to step up…Soquel edged St. Francis last year for the fourth straight time. The Sharks last beat the Knights in 2010.

Gonzales High

When: October 27, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Gonzalez High

Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 926th

Last year’s overall record: 1-9

Last year’s league record: 1-6 (MTAL)

Notes: Art Berlanga is the new head coach of the Spartans after longtime head coach Kevin Bonincontri stepped down earlier this year. Berlanga has reportedly served as an assistant at Soledad High and Hartnell College…Gonzales is coming off a 1-9 season. The Spartans have not been to the postseason since 2003, which was also the last year they finished above .500…St. Francis last played Gonzales in 2015. The Spartans won, 37-3.

Santa Cruz High

When: November 3, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Santa Cruz High

Last year’s MaxPreps state ranking: 779th

Last year’s overall record: 4-6

Last year’s league record: 2-3 (SCCAL)

Notes: Cardinals have several offensive weapons returning from last season. Quarterback Abram Soriano and running backs Anthony Karagiannopoulos and Johnny Soto lead a group of 21 seniors…This year’s meeting will restart the yearly series between the two county schools. St. Francis and Santa Cruz met in eight straight seasons starting in 2007. St. Francis has beaten Santa Cruz only once. That win came in 2008.

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