PIEDMONT -- Like many East Bay high school football teams this year, the Piedmont squad is looking at this upcoming season from a fresh perspective.
But besides competing in a new conference, the Highlanders have a wealth of players with varsity experience.
"We feel pretty good about our chances," Piedmont coach Kevin Anderson II said. "We are going into a new league. Our goal for the season is to make the playoffs and be successful in the playoffs."
Piedmont moves from the Bay Shore Athletic League to the new West Alameda County Conference. It is in the Shoreline Division this season, which includes Alameda, Arroyo, Mt. Eden, San Lorenzo and Tennyson. There are no former BSAL teams in the division.
Last season, the Highlanders finished with a 4-7 overall record and 3-2 BSAL mark. They advanced to the North Coast Section Division IV playoffs, where they lost in the first round 49-26 to Healdsburg.
Piedmont enters this season with not just one, but a pair of talented quarterbacks in senior Eric Sullivan and junior Spencer Kim. Anderson said the Highlanders are starting the season with a two-quarterback system.
"Both guys have an idea what their roles are going to be. We are going to do what's best for the team. Both of them are ready," Anderson said.
Piedmont definitely has speed in its backfield. Running back Kyle Dalton was a top sprinter for the track and field team in the spring as a junior.
"We are very excited
The Highlanders have a pair of veterans at wide receiver with seniors Andy Slaybaugh and Jake Pacheco. Pacheco won a BSAL track and field championship title in the triple jump last spring. The offensive line is anchored by senior guard Steven Tully.
Defensively, the leaders are linebacker Aaron Fahey and safety Will Meredith, both seniors.
Piedmont lost a lot of senior starters from last year's squad, including five players who have moved on to college teams. A lot of the team's success will ride on the new starters.
"It's just about getting guys to step up into the roles that are vacant and play up to the levels that were left for them, and find their niche," Anderson said.
The Highlanders have the lowest student enrollment of all the schools in their division, so they enter this season with an underdog status of sorts.
"It is going to be very interesting," Anderson said. "We are going to have to bring our A game. It's a new league, nobody knows anybody else's tendencies.
"Just like we are going to have to try to figure them out, they are going to have to figure us out as well."
8/24 HEALDSBURG 7 p.m.
8/31 MOREAU CATHOLIC 7 p.m.
9/6 at Albany 5 p.m.
9/14 JOHN SWETT 7 p.m.
9/22 at Washington-S.F. 1 p.m.
10/5 at S. Lorenzo (Arroyo) 3:30 p.m.
10/12 ALAMEDA 7 p.m.
10/19 at Tennyson 3:30 p.m.
10/27 at Arroyo 1:30 p.m.
11/2 MT. EDEN 7 p.m.