League: Class 4A Southwest
Head coach: Kenny Sanchez, fourth season (43-2)
2017 record: 13-2 (6-0 Southwest, first)
Returning starters: Five offense, two defense
Base offensive set: Spread
Base defensive set: 4-3
Top offensive players: OL Beau Taylor (Sr.); OL Cade Briggs (Sr.); RB Ikaika Ragsdale (Jr.); QB Micah Bowens; WR Rome Odunze (Jr.)
Top defensive players: DE Falcon Kaumatule (Sr.); DB Kyu Kelly (Sr.)
Top newcomer: DE Treven Ma’ae
Key losses: QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson; WR Jalen Nailor; TE Brevin Jordan; OL Jacob Isaia; DL Adam Plant; LB Palaie Gaoteote; DB Jordan Lee; K/P Jordan Ng; WR Cedric Tillman; LB Jeffrey Ulofoshio;
Outlook: The Gaels will look to run their string of consecutive state titles to 10 this fall, and the Gaels return plenty of talented players.
But graduation also left plenty of holes and some question marks.
Gone are all-state picks Thompson-Robinson, Nailor, Jordan, Isaia, Plant, Gaoteote, Lee, Ng, Tillman and Ulofoshio.
Gaoteote was the Review-Journal’s Player of the Year, Thompson-Robinson had a hand in 44 touchdowns and Jordan accounted for 1,111 receiving yards.
The team’s offensive strength figures to be up front led by Taylor, who was a first-team all-state selection and has committed to UCLA.
Ragsdale rushed for 436 yards and six TDs on 54 carries (8.1 yards per carry) as a sophomore, and could supplant returning starter Amod Cianelli (997 yards, 19 TDs).
Either way, the Gaels should be able to move the ball on the ground.
Bowens only attempted 25 passes last season, but is a dynamic dual-threat athlete.
The defense also took a big hit, losing its top two linebackers, but returns all-state defensive back Kelly, who has committed to Stanford.
Kaumatule (6-8, 245) didn’t play a major role last season, but figures to team with Ma’ae (6-4, 240), a transfer from Hawaii, to form a fearsome defensive end combination.
Gorman figures to find out just what kind of team it hands right away, as the Gaels host Mater Dei (California) to open the season on Aug. 24. Mater Dei finished the 2017 season ranked No. 1 in the nation and defeated the Gaels 35-21 on Sept. 1 to end the team’s 55-game win streak.