Coach: Hunkie Cooper, fourth season (21-10)
2011 record: 7-3 (7-0 Northeast League)
Returning letterwinners: 20
Returning starters: Eight offense, nine defense
Base offensive set: Pro
Base defensive set: 4-3
Top offensive players: RB Donnel Pumphrey (Sr.); WR Michael Gayden (Sr.); FB Rayshawn Henderson (Jr.); OT Fabian Leos (Sr.); WR/RB Stephon Revels (Sr.)
Top defensive players: DB Stephon Revels (Sr.); DB Diamante Luna (Jr.); DB A.J. Cooper (Jr.); DT Rayshawn Henderson (Jr.); OLB Isiah Carter (Jr.); OLB Kentabius Traylor (Sr.); DB Raequon Bascombe (Jr.); MLB Tobias Carson (Sr.)
Top newcomers: OL/DL Melvin Johnson (So.); TE/DE Kajuan Casey (So.); QB Brad Alexander (So.); RB Zaviontay Stevenson (So.); QB Steve Farmer (Jr.)
Key losses: OL/DL Adam Tuala; TE/OLB James Jones; OL/DL Nick Vergara
Outlook: The Pioneers have plenty of experience from a team that won the Northeast League title last season before getting bounced by Basic in the first round of the playoffs.
After opening the season with two losses, the Pioneers won seven straight, including an overtime victory over perennial power Las Vegas on the final night of the regular season to win the league.
Pumphrey, who has committed to San Diego State, was a second team all-state pick after rushing for 1,647 yards and 22 TDs last season. He should be one of the area’s most exciting players.
Carson, who was a second team all-state linebacker and Northeast League Defensive MVP, will key what coach Cooper expects to be a very solid defense. He’ll get help from fellow All-Northeast picks Traylor, Luna, Revels, Henderson and A.J. Cooper.
Canyon Springs leaded heavily on its sophomore class last season, and with a year of experience, the Pioneers should find themselves in the mix for a league title again.