Football: Official practice begins in one week for City Section teams
Never in the history of the City Section has prep football practice offically started as early as it will begin next Monday.
That's when coaches will gather players, have them fill out forms and start conditioning workouts leading up to putting on pads and preparing for scrimmages and then the season openers on Aug. 24.
It's all the result of the CIF passing a proposal to hold regional football games in December and create a possible 16th game for some schools. The season was moved up a week, and it means coaches will have to be on guard in dealing with heat issues. The National Federation of State High School Assn. is offering a free online course to minimize risk of heat stroke.
There's more than 20 new head coaches, including Chris Richards at Sylmar, Jimmy Nolan at Carson, Duane Horn at Locke, Scott Thompson at Marshall, Adam Brubaker at Panorama, Robert Garcia at San Fernando, Jose Casagran at South Gate, Harry Causey at Washington and Napoleon Banks at West Adams.
Harbor City Narbonne is the defending Division I champion and a heavy favorite to repeat with the return of quarterback Troy Williams, but there are lots of potential challengers. Carson has running backs Kendell Sparks and Tony Ingram. Dorsey returns quarterback Reginald Bell. Crenshaw has the versatile Mossi Johnson. Venice started seven sophomores last season. San Pedro is reloading after being the No. 1 seed in 2011. Birmingham returns All-City running back Isaiah Hastings.
In Division II, South East will be difficult to beat with the return of quarterback Jonathan Santos. View Park moves up to Division II after dominating the small schools level.
And don't forget there could be more player movement in August because of new transfer rules that don't require athletes to change residences to become eligible. They'd gain eligibility on Oct. 1.
-- Eric Sondheimer