Coach: Rich Muraco, fourth season (30-8)
2011 record: 11-2 (6-0 Southeast League)
Returning starters: Four offense, five defense
Top returning players: QB/DB Kai Nacua (Sr.); RB/DB Niko Kapeli (Sr.); OL/DE Jarvis Polu (Jr.)
Top newcomers: OL/DL Chris Noone; RB/DB Jaylen Mitchell; LB K.J. Otuafi; WR/DB Tevis Labrador; OL Jozef Missaleafua; OL Justin Polu; WR Drew Hladek
Outlook: The Patriots won the Sunrise Region title and lost in the state semifinals to eventual state chamion Bishop Gorman last season, and expectations are high again.
Liberty has leaned heavily on its offensive line in recent years, and lost a pair of key players in all-state linemen P.J. Taeao and Cole Morgavi. But Polu (6-3, 240) started all 13 games at right tackle last season, and the Patriots quickly rebuilt around him with Silverado transfer Noone (6-2, 260) and a pair of players — Justin Polu (6-2, 260) and Missaleafua (6-3, 250) — who were on Liberty’s undefeated junior varsity team last season.
That line will open holes for Kapeli, who ran for 2,383 yards and 30 TDs last season and has committed to play at UNLV.
Quarterback Nacua, who has committed to play linebacker at Brigham Young, also is back. He has a 21-4 record as a starter.
Nacua and Kapeli both should see time in the secondary, with Silverado transfer Otuafi helping to lead the linebackers.