Head coach: Mark Bailey, fifth season
2016-17 record: 21-1 (9-1 Northwest, first)
Returning letter winners (starters): Twelve (nine)
Top players: QB/CB Tiarra Del Rosario (Jr.), LB Elizabeth Asoau (Sr.), LB Diona Whitley (Sr.), S Nancy De La Torre (Sr.)
Outlook: The defending Class 4A state champions will have giant targets on their backs and less experienced targets to whom to throw.
Alyssa Karpinski, Logan DeLong and Haylei Hughes combined for 362 receptions, 5,156 yards and 62 touchdowns as seniors last year.
“Losing three of the best receivers in the city will be tough to overcome, but bringing back the state player of the year in Tiarra Del Rosario is a huge boost,” Bailey said. “I know we have to replace Hughes, Karpinski, and DeLong, but we’ve got a few players ready for the challenge. We look forward to seeing where this season takes us. We’ve lost great players in the past and found success.”
Del Rosario threw for 5,046 yards and 66 touchdowns and ran for 751 yards and 16 scores last season.
Asoau (154 tackles, eight sacks), Whitley (108 tackles, six sacks) and De La Torre (10 interceptions) return to guide the defense.
“We bring back the core of the defense, which will help,” Bailey said. “Right now we’re focusing on defense and fundamentals. We expect to be firing on all cylinders when playoffs roll around.”