While the preseason Super 25 football rankings won’t come out for a few weeks, this is one of a series on teams that could contend in the Super 25 high school football rankings next season. We previously looked at De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), South Panola (Batesville, Miss.), Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.), Miami (Fla.) Central, Chandler, Ariz, DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.), Allen, Texas; Cedar Hill, Texas, Webb City, Mo., Clay-Chalkville (Pinson, Ala.) and Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas).
Team: Bishop Amat, La Puente, Calif.
2014 finish: The Lancers went 9-4 and lost to Centennial (Corona) in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division semifinals.
Tradition: Bishop Amat’s football team is 427-163-12 since the school opened, winning five CIF titles.
2015 schedule: The Lancers open with traditional powerhouse Mater Dei (Santa Ana) on Aug. 28, then play host to Servite (Anaheim) on Sept. 4 and also have a game at JSerra (Gardena) on Oct. 9.
Top returnees (years listed are for next school year): Begin with elite senior DB-WRs Trevon Sidney and Tyler Vaughns. Sidney, a USC commit, was an All-Area defensive back with 47 tackles and four interceptions. He also had 38 catches for 540 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver. The uncommitted Vaughns set a school record with 83 catches for 1,183 yards and 12 touchdowns. On defense, he had 24 tackles and four interceptions. Senior running back Torreahno Sweet ran for 851 yards on 193 carries. The Lancers also have two solid quarterbacks in Ryder Ruiz (144 completions in 204 attempts for 1,866 yards and 14 touchdowns) and Damian Garcia (145 for 216 for 2,027 yards and 21 touchdowns). On defense, senior linebacker Danny Vasquez had 65 tackles and seven sacks, but is recovering from a knee injury.
Toughest to replace: Graduated linebackers Christian Wiley and Anthony Camargo will be missed for their tackling (Wiley had 108 tackles and Camargo, who is headed to Harvard, had 55) and their leadership.
Outlook: Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty is loath to predict how good his team will be until it begins fall drills next month, but the Lancers have plenty of talent returning a maybe a chip on their shoulder after a one-point playoff loss to Centennial.
“I wouldn’t say that we are absolutely loaded,” Hagerty said. “Some of the other teams in our league will have more talent. But our kids are tough and they expect to win. We expect to be in the thick of it when it matters.”
While Amat has two great receivers in Sidney and Vaughns, there’s a question which quarterback will be doing most of the throwing. Garcia played well last season, but Ruiz won four of the team’s final five games when Garcia went down with a rib injury.
“They’re both a little different,” Hagerty said. “If you could fuse them together, you’d have a really good quarterback.”
Some of the other players expected to be big-time contributors include offensive lineman Matt Brayton, a UNLV commit, and defensive backs Aaron Austin and Chris Gaston.
The Lancers will be tested by Trinity League toughs and their Mission League schedule.
“There are six weeks in a row where there’s no letup,” Hagerty said. “They’re all quality teams. Only three of those teams are going to qualify for postseason team. The thing that concerns me is we’ll be in playoffs from week 4 on. Every week, there’s a well-coached football team that we’ll play.”