The California High football team, the defending East Bay Athletic League champions, looks to extend its rule with an experienced secondary and another solid group of running backs.

But it won't be easy.

Always explosive San Ramon Valley should contend again in the post-Marcus de la Pena era under new coach Aaron Becker, its former offensive coordinator. The Wolves and Grizzlies shared the EBAL title in 2012.

Foothill has first-rate talent and experience at the skill positions, but is unproven on the lines. The Falcons' crosstown rival, Amador Valley, advanced to the North Coast Section playoffs with a junior-laden squad in 2013 and could be sitting on a big season.

Granada is coming off a solid campaign, in which it advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2010 and beat Amador Valley in the first round.

Young Monte Vista looks for steady improvement under veteran coach Craig Bergman. Livermore is inexperienced but has some exciting playmakers.

Amador Valley

COACH: Rick Sira, 29th season

2013 RECORD: 5-6, 2-4 EBAL

TOP RETURNEES: WR/S Collin Miller, Sr.; RB/OLB Mitchell Copenhaver, Sr.; OLB/TE Harrison Mayo, Sr.; MLB/FB Patrick Pipitone; QB Ronnie Jones, Jr.; G/DT James Moore, Sr.; LB/RB Patrick Loughnane, Jr.; C/DL Jake Gigilotti, Sr.; WR/S Bryan Bottero, Sr.; TE/DE Nick Martin, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: WR/DB Malachi Davidson, Sr.; LB/FB Sean Tomonari, Jr.


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KEY LOSSES: WR/DB Parker Newman; RB/LB Michael White; OL/DL Alex Jader, OL/DL Robert Faris.

OUTLOOK: The Dons played with a great spirit last season, which could portend a bright future for a strong group of seniors. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Mayo is coming off a big season and getting looks from Division I and Division II programs. Sira, who has retired as Amador Valley's vice principal, said his team had a great summer of workouts.

California

COACH: Eric Billeci, sixth season

2013 RECORD: 11-3, 6-0 EBAL

TOP RETURNEES: FS/RB Zac Guardino, Sr.; OL/DL Tyler Whisenhunt, Sr; TE/DE Matt Snyder, Sr.; FB/LB Simi Hingano, Sr.; WR/DB Ryan Groleau, Sr.; K Spenser Thompson-Meyers, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: LB/RB Chris Tobtuu, So.; OL/DL Nick Fridel, Jr.; TE/SS Ryan Shell, Jr.

KEY LOSSES: QB Cameron Owen; QB Matt Lorenz; OL/DL Mario Diaz; RB Blake Bierwith

OUTLOOK: With 11 returning starters, including six on defense, the Grizzlies are well-stocked for another deep run in the playoffs. They have a question mark at quarterback as two of its signal callers graduated. An experienced secondary and the running backs are strengths. Hingano ran for 482 yards last year, including 108 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-7 win over Foothill. Snyder has multiple Division I offers, and Whisenhunt anchors the lines. Guardino might be sitting on a big year on both sides of the ball. He and Hingano offer a one-two punch out of the backfield.

Foothill

COACH: Matt Sweeney, 28th season

2013 RECORD: 8-3, 4-2 EBAL

TOP RETURNEES: WR/RB/DB Isaiah Langley, Sr.; QB Kyle Kearns, Sr.; RB/LB Cash Connolly, Jr.; RB/LB Matt Gates, Jr.; DB/WR Ruben Mercado, Jr.; RB Isaiah Floyd, Jr.; C Dustin Dukleths, Jr.; G/DT Mike Parisi, Jr.; OT/DT Justin Silliman, Sr.; OT/DE Justin Gronley, Sr.; K Dan Rodriguez, Sr.; OT/DL Kholten Clark, Sr; DT Jimmy Ritter, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: QB/DB Josh Merryman, Jr.; OG/LB Brennan Gallagher, So.; OG/DL Dylan Walsh, So.; TE/LB Blake Braden, Jr.; OG/DT Jaron Jackson, Jr.

KEY LOSSES: G/MLB Johann Bolt; OLB Perry Cheney, RB Jamirr Holland, RB/DT Matt Luey.

OUTLOOK: High-scoring games, anyone? The Falcons have an ultra-explosive offense, led by SMU-bound quarterback Kearns, the dynamic Langley -- who is headed to USC -- Floyd and power runner Connolly. The question is: Can the Falcons stop people? They'll find out quickly in their opener against San Leandro. Dukleths and Parisi are returning starters, but three offensive line spots and the tight end position need to be filled. Gates is looking to make his mark at running back.

Granada

COACH: Tim Silva, eighth year

2013 RECORD: 7-5, 3-3 EBAL

TOP RETURNEES: NG/FB Aaron Andrews, Jr.; TE/DE Matt Kirby, Sr.; QB/DB Ryan Barnett, Sr.; RB/SS Jonathan Davis, Sr.; FS/QB/WR Spencer Hickerson, Sr.; G/LB Brandon Derdak, Sr.; LB/G Joe Carr, Sr.; OL/DL Nick Perry, Sr.; OL/DL Will Johnson, Sr.; OL/DL Vick Essa, Sr.; WR/DB Morgan Ellis, Sr.; WR/DB Jacob Mitchell, Sr.; RB/LB Robert Payne, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: RB/LB Ryan Silvas, Jr; RB/LB Theo O'Farrell, Jr.; QB/DB Chandler Davis, So.; RB/LB Scott Latenga, So.; TE/DL Nate Redditt, So.

KEY LOSSES: RB/DB Casey Soltis; LB Colton Paynter; LB Riley Draa; OL/DL Kaipo Radanini; RB/DB Jacob Shinnick; JRB/DB Jason Silva

OUTLOOK: Usually around .500 at the end of the season, the Matadors are coming off their first playoff win since 2010. Gone to graduation is versatile standout Soltis. They'll look for better luck in the cliffhangers, after to Windsor, California, San Ramon Valley and Foothill last season by a combined 20 points.

Livermore

COACH: Greg Haubner, fifth season

2013 RECORD: 2-8, 0-6 EBAL

TOP RETURNEES: RB/DB Tim Harris, Sr.; RB/LB James Silva, Sr.; OL/DL David Thomas Sr.; TE/LB Russel Lovett, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: OL/DL John Brunell, Jr.; OL/DL Daniel Nunez, Jr.; WR/DB Andrei Kasten.

KEY LOSSES: LB Taylor Disbrow; OL/DL Sam Ogee; DL Everett Powell; TE/DL Corbin Cofer.

OUTLOOK: The young Cowboys will surely learn keep their fans on the edge of their seats with exciting playmakers. They have just two returning starters on defense and offense. Staying healthy will be a big key, especially when EBAL action rolls around.

Monte Vista

COACH: Craig Bergman, 18th season

2013 RECORD: 2-8, 1-5 EBAL

TOP RETURNEES: S/WR Noah Sol, Jr.; LB/C Scott Shirreffs, Sr.; LB/OL Jake Clare, Sr.; DB/WR Alex Brown, Sr.; OL/DL Russ Milin, Sr.; RB Zach Cribb, Sr.; WR Eric Dobberpuhl, Sr.; OL/DL Jack Kundred, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: QB Jake Haener, So.; WR/DB Trae Banda, Jr.; TE/DE Erik Krommenhoek, So.; LB Nate Landman, So.; RB/LB Miles Tucker, So.; LB Jake Klooster, Jr.; LB/RB Albert Smith, Jr.; DL/OL Maurice Theriault, Jr.; DL Syan Haghiri, Jr.; LB Shane Perry, So.

KEY LOSSES: WR/DB Marco Zamora, QB Nikita Zamora, RB Matt Rood, TE/DL Erik Mensendiek; OL/DL Brendan Landman.

OUTLOOK: The young Mustangs could have as many as five sophomore starters, including Haener, who is showing promise at quarterback. Cribb returns for his senior season after running for a team-high 616 yards in 2013.

San Ramon Valley

COACH: Aaron Becker, first season

2013 RECORD: 7-5, 5-1 EBAL

TOP RETURNEES: OL/DL Dru Samia, Sr. WR/DB J.J. Koski, Sr.; OL/DL Mitchell Allan, Sr.; WR/DB Carter Nichols, Sr.; WR/DB Christian Fuca, Sr.; QB Zack Baker, Sr.; RB Josiah Alvira, Sr.; FB/DL Ryan Murphy, Sr.; TE/LB Zach Nelson, Sr.; OL/DL Christian Cannon

TOP NEWCOMERS: LB/TE Nick Kane, Jr.; OL/DL; Jake Javier, Jr.; OL/DL Connor Sinclair Jr.; LB/OL Daniel Aguilar, Sr.

KEY LOSSES: QB Matt Winaker; RB Marcus de la Pena

OUTLOOK: The Wolves, who advanced to the playoffs for the eighth straight season, have strong offensive and defensive lines, led by standouts Samia and Allan, and an experienced receiving corps. de la Pena, who had 1,739 yards and 20 touchdowns rushing last season, and the crafty Winaker to graduation. "We believe we will be in the hunt by the end of the season," Becker said.

PREDICTED FINISH
1. California
2. San Ramon Valley
3. Foothill
4. Amador Valley
5. Granada
6. Monte Vista
7. Livermore

Local Schedules:
AMADOR VALLEY
8/29 WASHINGTON 7 p.m.
9/5 ENCINAL 7 p.m.
9/19 EL CERRITO 7 p.m.
9/26 GRANADA* 7 p.m.
10/3 at Monte Vista* 7 p.m.
10/10 at California* 7 p.m.
10/17 SAN RAMON VAL.* 7 p.m.
10/24 at Livermore* 7 p.m.
10/31 DE LA SALLE 7 p.m.
11/7 FOOTHILL* 7 p.m.
CALIFORNIA
8/29 PITTSBURG 7 p.m.
9/5 RODRIGUEZ-FAIR. 7 p.m.
9/12 at Castro Valley 7 p.m.
9/26 LIVERMORE* 7 p.m.
10/3 at Granada* 7 p.m.
10/10 AMADOR VALLEY* 7 p.m.
10/17 at Foothill* 7 p.m.
10/24 MONTE VISTA* 7 p.m.
10/31 at San Ramon Val. 7 p.m.
11/7 DE LA SALLE 7 p.m.
FOOTHILL
8/29 at San Leandro# 7 p.m.
9/5 FREEDOM 7 p.m.
9/19 CASTRO VALLEY 7 p.m.
9/26 SAN RAMON VALLEY* 7 p.m.
10/3 at Livermore* 7 p.m.
10/10 MONTE VISTA* 7 p.m.
10/17 CALIFORNIA* 7 p.m.
10/24 at De La Salle 7 p.m.
10/31 at Granada* 7 p.m.
11/7 at Amador Valley* 7 p.m.
GRANADA
8/29 at Windsor 7 p.m.
9/5 ANTIOCH 7 p.m.
9/19 GOLDEN VALLEY 7 p.m.
9/26 at Amador Valley* 7 p.m.
10/3 CALIFORNIA* 7 p.m.
10/10 DE LA SALLE* 7 p.m.
10/17 at Monte Vista* 7 p.m.
10/24 at San Ramon Valley* 7 p.m.
10/31 FOOTHILL* 7 p.m.
11/6 LIVERMORE* 7 p.m.
LIVERMORE
8/29 NEWARK MEM. 7:30 p.m.
9/5 EL CERRITO 7 p.m.
9/12 at Northgate 7 p.m.
9/19 at Arroyo 1:30 p.m.
9/26 at California* 7 p.m.
10/3 FOOTHILL* 7 p.m.
10/10 SAN RAMON VAL.* 7 p.m.
10/24 AMADOR VALLEY* 7 p.m.
10/31 at Monte Vista* 7 p.m.
11/6 at Granada* 7 p.m.
* EBAL game
MONTE VISTA
8/29 at Castro Valley 7 p.m.
9/5 BERKELEY 7 p.m.
9/12 at Pittsburg 7 p.m.
9/19 LIBERTY 7 p.m.
10/3 AMADOR VALLEY* 7 p.m.
10/10 at Foothill* 7 p.m.
10/17 GRANADA* 7 p.m.
10/24 at California* 7 p.m.
10/31 LIVERMORE* 7 p.m.
11/7 SAN RAMON VAL.* 7 p.m.
SAN RAMON VALLEY
8/29 LAS LOMAS 7 p.m.
9/5 at Pittsburg 7 p.m.
9/12 JAMES LOGAN 7 p.m.
9/26 at Foothill* 7 p.m.
10/3 DE LA SALLE 7 p.m.
10/10 at Livermore* 7 p.m.
10/17 at Amador Valley* 7 p.m.
10/24 GRANADA* 7 p.m.
10/31 CALIFORNIA* 7 p.m.
11/7 at Monte Vista* 7 p.m.
* EBAL game