Huntington Beach, once a longtime resident of the Sunset League before moving to the Sea View League when several Orange County leagues went through realignment four years ago, is once again part of the Sunset Six.
The Oilers replace Esperanza, which moved to the Century League.
"We're glad to be back," fourth-year Oilers Coach Eric Lo said. "We can't wait to get started."
Lo and his Oilers enter the fall with high hopes, anticipating that a great run to end the 2009 season, coupled with a solid work ethic during the offseason, will translate to a successful 2010 campaign.
Huntington, 7-5 a year ago, boasts an experienced and impressive offensive line and defense that could continue on last year's success.
"My expectations are high," Lo said. "We've work hard this offseason. I believe we can compete in the Sunset League. We need to be well-prepared and play hard to compete with the teams in this league.
"Our players are very excited about being back (in the Sunset). They know guys on the other teams and are looking forward to seeing them on the field."
Eleven starters are back from a team that last year reached the quarterfinal round of the CIF Southwest Division playoffs, a group that includes all-league players in defensive end/tight end Luke Holler (6-1, 230. Sr.) and linebacker/running back/tight end Nolan Biegel (6-2, 215, Jr.). Lo said that Holler is being recruited by UC Davis and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
On offense, Lo said that Mike Chislock (6-2, 185, Jr.) and Jake Umphreyville (5-10, 170, Sr.), both "good athletes with good arms," will play quarterback and direct the spread offense. Scheduled to start in the backfield is Biegel, who Lo said is "very strong and runs hard," and junior running back Austin Simpkins (5-10, 185), who Lo says is the "fastest player on the team." The offensive line is an impressive group, led by Zane Hudak (6-5, 275, Sr.), Sebastian Corley (6-3, 280, Sr.), Derrick Murrietta (6-6, 300, Sr.), Esequil Fernandez (6-3, 280, Sr.) and Christian Abe (6-3, 240, Jr.).
Lo said that Hudak, a right guard, is being pursued by Ivy League schools Brown, Columbia and Harvard.
The Oilers lost Kaller Roemer, Orange County's top receiver and an All-CIF player last year, to graduation. This year's receiving group is led by one senior and a trio of juniors: John Mata (6-0, 18-0, Sr.), Ramon Vargas (6-2, 175, Jr.); Zach Hadlock (6-0, 190, Jr.) and Chris Ogilvie (5-91, 175, Jr.). The speedy Vargas won the Sea View League boys' 110 hurdles title last spring.
The defense, playing out of a 3-3-5 scheme, is led on the line by Holler, Kevin Klaess (6-3, 240, Sr.), Jack Rulon (6-0, 250, Jr.) and Blake Breunig (5-11, 220, Sr.). Joining Biegel at the linebacker ranks is senior Brett Hornstein (5-11, 225) and junior Cameron Trentini (6-0, 220). Lo said that Hornstein is being recruited by UC Davis. Scheduled to start in the defensive backfield is Simpkins, Hadlock, Ogilvie and Billy Cochlin (5-9, 170, Jr.).
Max Talbert (6-1, 175, Sr.) will handle kicking and punting chores.
The Oilers begin their season at 7 p.m. Friday against Corona del Mar at Newport Harbor High. They'll open their home slate Sept. 17 against former Sea View League rival Foothill. The nonleague schedule also includes games against Aliso Niguel, Westminster and San Juan Hills.
A return to Newport Harbor on Oct. 15, this time for a date with the Sailors, marks Huntington's return to the Sunset League.
Huntington Beach Oilers
Head Coach: Eric Lo (4th year)
Coaching Staff: Kurt Clemens (Offensive line/offensive coordinator); Diego Segura (strong safeties/defensive coordinator); Jim Houston (wide receivers); Mark Zigenhagen (linebackers); Kaz Bilenski (defensive line); Brett Brown (quarterbacks); Eric Prezsler (wide receivers); Brandon Brown (running backs); Clem Moore (defensive backs); Dean Eddy (defensive backs); Brendan Rosen (offensive line assistant).
2009 record: 7-5; 3-2 league (third-place Sea View League)
Type of offense: Spread
Type of defense: 3-3-5
Friday: at Corona del Mar, 7 p.m.
Sept. 17: vs. Foothill, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23: vs. Aliso Niguel, 7 p.m.
Oct. 1: vs. Westminster, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8: at San Juan Hills, 7 p.m.
Oct. 15: *at Newport Harbor, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22: at *Edison, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28: vs. *Fountain Valley, 7 p.m.
Nov. 5: vs. *Los Alamitos, 7 p.m.
Nov. 12: at *Marina, 7 p.m.
(*denotes Sunset League game)