League: Class 4A Northeast
Head coach: Robert Cutts, fourth season (6-23)
2017 record: 2-8 (1-3 Northeast, fourth)
Returning lettermen: Five
Returning starters: Seven offense, Seven defense
Base offensive set: Pistol
Base defensive set: 4-2-5
Top offensive players: QB Jalen Malone (Sr.); RB Michael Perez (Sr.); TE Guillermo Hernandez (Jr.); OL Justin Taitano (Sr.); WR Satonio Smith-Hightower (Sr.); WR Trezon Turner (Jr.)
Top defensive players: S Jalen Malone (Sr.); CB Shomari Perry (Sr.); DE John Lee (Jr.); DT Rogelio Saldivar (Jr.)
Top newcomers: WR/DB Satonio Smith-Hightower (Sr.); WR/DB Trezon Turner (Jr.); OL/DL Nijerious Mills (So.); OL/DL Kevin Orellana (Sr.); DL Steven Garcia (Sr.)
Key losses: QB Jaime Rangel; WR Andres Aviles; LB Brian Soto
Outlook: The Sundevils have made the playoffs the last two seasons, but a return trip will be tougher with Desert Pines, Legacy and Mojave joining the league.
“Realignment was not very kind to us,” Cutts said. “We are in a very tough division and have to rise to the challenge.”
Malone should be key on both sides of the ball. He as a first-team All-Northeast League pick at safety after recording 63 tackles and picking off five passes.
Perez led the team in rushing with 421 yards last season, and could take a bigger role with the graduation of Rangel and leading receiver Aviles (36 catches, 504 yards).
Cutts is high on several newcomers to the program, and hopes the Sundevils can make another run at the playoffs.
“We have had key additions at every position on the field and we are excited to see what they can do for us,” Cutts said. “It will take more effort on our part to make the playoffs for the third straight year, but it is completely possible.”