ALAMEDA -- Last season, Alameda High football coach Kemp Moyer believed his team could improve its strength in its front seven defensively.
After a successful off-season strength program, the Hornets are determined to show that improvement this season in the new West Alameda County Conference-Shoreline Division.
"The strength on our defense is our d-line," Moyer said.
The Hornets, who were 3-7 overall and 2-4 in the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League last season, return second-team all-ACCAL pick Weston Tolbert at defensive end. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior has drawn attention from colleges such as San Jose State, Fresno State, Boise State, San Diego State and UC Davis, Moyer said.
"We feel he can take away that wide side of the field," Moyer said. "He's definitely got some burst at that side."
Alameda, which has 14 returners who started at least one varsity game, also have senior Adham Awa at defensive end and middle linebacker Jack Rausser returning. The defensive backfield is also solid with junior returners Sulaiman Hameed and safety Keelan Doss. Hameed was a second-team all-ACCAL pick at defensive back last season, but he will miss at least the first game of the season while he rehabs a knee injury, Moyer said. Cornerbacks Ernest Gardner and Darnell Rose have both been impressive in the preseason, Moyer said.
"We have some good athletic ability in our defensive backfield," Moyer said.
Awa and senior James Knight will both get a good amount of carries at running back, as will Hameed when he returns, Moyer said. Hameed, Doss and senior Chris Bussey will be Lewis' top three targets at wide receiver.
8/31 REDWOOD 7 p.m.
9/7 at Northgate 7 p.m.
9/14 MIRAMONTE 7 p.m.
9/21 at Hillsdale-S. Mateo 7 p.m.
9/28 ENCINAL 7 p.m.
10/5 TENNYSON* 7 p.m.
10/12 at Piedmont* 7 p.m.
10/19 MT. EDEN* 7 p.m.
10/26 at S. Lor. (Arroyo)* 3:30 p.m.
11/3 at Arroyo* 1:30 p.m.
* Shoreline Division games
Home games at Thompson Field