Preparations began at Cap Sheue Stadium Monday for the Huntington Beach High football team, which launches its 2013 season in three weeks.
The Oilers return several starters from a 2012 unit that won six games, finished third in the Sunset League, and reached the quarterfinal round of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs.
"Our players are working hard in the weight room and on the practice field," said Eric Lo who begins his seventh year as head coach. "I like our team unity and our players desire to improve."
Quarterback Kai Ross returns for his senior year and will head the Oilers offense that averaged 24 points per game last fall. A year ago, Ross thew for 1,420 yards and 16 touchdowns, and rushed for 890 yards and nine scores. A key defensive returnee is another senior, linebacker/running back Matt Tavakoli, who registered 135 tackles during the 2012 season.
Gone from last year's team are all-league players Adam Khouri (offensive guard/nose guard), John Vis (offensive line/defensive end), Sebastian DeMartini (offensive tackle/defensive line), Bo Breunig (running back/linebacker) hand Jeff Wiederkehr (linebacker) who graduated in June.
Huntington will play host to a scrimmage against St. John Bosco at 6 p.m. Aug. 22. The Oilers officially kick off their season on Aug. 30 at home against Bakersfield Christian.
Huntington Beach Oilers
Head coach: Eric Lo (seventh year)
Coaching staff: Brett Brown (quarterbacks/offensive coordinator), Diego Segura (strong safeties/defensive coordinator), Greg Olquin (offensive line), Kaz Bilinski (defense), Jim Houston (wide receivers), Justin Howe (wide receivers), Matt White (offensive line), Kenny Villalobos (running backs), Kurt Clemens (defensive tackles), Dean Eddy (free safeties), Joey Cusick (cornerbacks), Alex Alagata (defensive ends), Teddy Vo (linebackers), John Thoma (kickers).
2012 records: 6-6 overall/3-2 league (third)
2012 CIF playoff results: Quarterfinal round, Southwest Division
Last league title: 1993
Offensive scheme: Spread
Defensive scheme: 3-3-5
Returning starters offense: 8
Returning starters defense: 7
Players returning with honors: Kai Ross (quarterback/cornerback), all-league, All-CIF; Matt Tavakoli (linebacker), all-league.
Coach's comments: "Our experience and overall team strength is very good," Lo said. "Our team speed will be improved from last year."
The schedule: The Oilers will play seven games, six as the home team, on their home turf. Their "away" game is against Fountain Valley in the second week of the Sunset League season. Both Bakersfield Christian and Downey are new to this year's schedule. Lo called the slate "tough."
"Bakersfield Christian played in their section final [last year]," he said. "JSerra is very well-coached and talented. Trabuco Hills will be tough and physical. Downey won a CIF title last year. By far, the toughest preseason schedule we have played since I've been here."
2013 Oilers Schedule
Aug. 22: vs. St. John Bosco (scrimmage), 6 p.m.
Aug. 30: vs. Bakersfield Christian, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6: vs. Magnolia, Handel Stadium, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13: vs. JSerra, Saddleback College, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20: vs. Trabuco Hills, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27: vs. Downey, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11: vs. *Edison, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18: vs. *Fountain Valley (away), 7 p.m.
Oct. 25: vs. *Marina, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1: vs. *Los Alamitos, Veterans Stadium, 7 p.m.
Nov. 8: vs. *Newport Harbor, 7 p.m.
(*denotes league game)