Division 12 Southern Section football preview: Artesia, Adelanto among contenders

Scorebook Live’s 2019 Southern Section football preview continues with a look at Division 12. There are 46 teams in D-12 this season.

Last season, Linfield Christian beat Artesia 70-32 in the Division 12 championship game. After winning every game in the D-12 playoffs by at least 36 points, Linfield Christian has been moved up to Division 11 for the 2019 season.

Division 12 doesn’t have the glitz and the glam of some of the higher Southern Section groupings, but there is legitimate talent on these rosters. The top teams will be too competitive to have another Linfield Christian scenario.

DIVISION 12 OUTLOOK

Last season’s runner-up, Artesia, finished 10-4 and went undefeated in league. The Pioneers are one of the favorites to win the division this season, especially with Linfield Christian now in D-11. However, they’ll be hard-pressed to deal with the losses of several star seniors, particularly QB/WR Heder Gladden.

Adelanto, the reigning champions of Division 13, are now members of D-12. They are also among the favorites to win the division despite being newcomers. Even after losing a number of impact starters, particularly defensively, Adelanto might be even better this year. Leading receiver Hosia Stokes, leading rusher and Washington State commit Marshawn Buchanan, and quarterback Angel Ochoa are all seniors. That core may very well form the most explosive offense in the division. 

Down from Division 10, Shadow Hills is also expected to contend for the championship. The Knights finished just 2-3 in league last season, but were 5-0 in non-league action. While most of their offensive weapons graduated, a number of their leading tacklers will be seniors this year.

Orange Vista was unstoppable last season outside of narrow losses to El Monte and Adelanto. The Coyotes, who lost to Adelanto in the Division 13 title game, were one of the most run-heavy teams in the section, but have lost the majority of their 2018 ball-carriers to graduation. Orange Vista’s defense projects to be among the best in the division led by seniors Dion Wilson (Arizona commit) and Ethan Saunders (Cal commit). Most Division 12 teams have zero Pac-12 kids. OV has two.

Ethan Saunders

One of the most dangerous dark horse teams is Oak Park. The Eagles were winless in league last year but should take a big step forward in 2019. Despite losing excellent playmakers in Cam Fouts and Cole McCreary, they return eight starters on offense and nine on defense.

If Rio Hondo can manage to replace star QB Evan Foor, they should improve on last season’s strong showing. Junior Jack Van Cleve and sophomore Damyan Diaz will battle for the starting QB spot. Rio Hondo nearly knocked Artesia out in the quarterfinals last season with a team full of underclassmen. This year, they will return six starters on both sides of the ball.

Northwood might be the most entertaining team to watch in D-12 this season. New head coach Paige Nobles takes over a Timberwolves squad that made the quarterfinals with very few prominent seniors. This year, Northwood is eyeing the Division 12 championship game, and such a leap is definitely possible. Just about every single Northwood contributor plays on both sides of the ball. Coach Nobles cites the team’s athleticism and incredible conditioning as one of their biggest strengths.

Yucca Valley made the playoffs in Division 11 last season. While they’ll lose a lot of senior contributors, star quarterback Braden Brimhall will still be at the helm. They’ll hope for leaps from talented receiver Jesse Meza and running back Tayten Shartel offensively. Those two also happen to be perhaps their best returners on defense.

Maranatha is coming down from D-11 as well after a successful season. The Minutemen went 3-1 in league under former NFL star LaVar Arrington, and return most of their playmakers as seniors. QB Enrique Garza threw for over 1900 yards, and RB Jacob Moreno is poised for a breakout season.  Moreno is also a threat to catch some passes, having notched 260 receiving yards last season. Wide receiver Isaac Fields poses a major downfield threat. He may continue to break out next season after 737 receiving yards and eight touchdowns last year.

Pasadena Polytechnic went 7-3 in Division 10 last season, but is moving to D-12 for the 2019 season. Expect the Panthers to be in the mix for the division crown.

A strong Savanna team is moving up from D-13 after going 4-1 in league in 2018. New head coach Mike Willey might struggle to replace star QB Justin Holguin, but he’s set at running back. Shamonte Rogers not only ran for nearly 1,700 yards as a junior, but also registered a whopping 12.5 sacks playing DE. Jose Jimenez is another strong senior to watch who plays both sides of the ball. He racked up 111 tackles last season as a safety while also compiling 267 receiving yards at WR.

Jurupa Hills will also move down to D-12 after a winning season in Division 11. While losing dual-threat QB senior Zane Scarborough is an enormous loss, the Spartans have a number of rushers ready to break out. Returners Miguel Rodriguez, Trayton Cooper, Jausquin Spratt and Junior Medina combined as a whole for nearly 1,000 rushing yards last season. Scarborough did the heavy lifting out of the grouping. All four of those players also were among the leading receivers last year, in addition to rising senior Justin Price.

D-12 incumbent Glenn made the playoffs last season, and gave Nogales a major scare in round one. They lose a number of major contributors on both sides of the ball, but RB Edwin Udengwu is still around, and he rushed for nearly 2,000 yards last season. WR Bobby Sanchez and TE Francisco Ruiz figure to make a nice receiving duo again. And Glenn’s defense will return a number of key contributors, such as Davione Keith, Ulices Ayala, and Christopher Roca.

Bell Gardens was also a D-12 playoff team last season and they don’t project to go away this year. While they will need new contributors to replace graduates at QB and WR, they return an excellent rushing core. Rising seniors Arthur Sanchez and Gabriel Campos Jr. both rushed for roughly 600 yards last season. Alfredo Padilla III should be an outstanding third back.

Ocean View has moved down from D-11 despite a 9-2 campaign, and has major playoff aspirations. Their strong defensive line should be able to routinely control the line of scrimmage. Their offensive line lacks experience but is filled with talented youth. While Ocean View is losing their key playmakers, they’ll return junior RB Jonathan Gonzalez and an excellent WR in senior Brandon Alcaraz

Moreno Valley is a strong playoff contender that is moving down from Division 10 despite a 6-0 campaign in league. The Vikings lost leading rusher Doryan Cole, who went for over 1,200 rushing yards last year. They’re returning starting QB Davonte Grandy and other top rushers in Leroy Louis, Elijah Kelsey, and Mafilao Avatango.

El Monte brings back the Division 13 offensive player of the year in star running back Davon Booth. The senior rushed for 2,429 yards and finished the 2018 season with 44 total touchdowns. Booth and Adelanto’s Marshawn Buchanan are co-favorites to win the D-12 offensive MVP award.

Don’t rule out Laguna Beach quarterback Andrew Johnson for that offensive MVP award either. Last season as a junior Johnson led Laguna Beach to the D-12 semifinals. He threw for 3,246 yards and 42 TDs. With Johnson, the Breakers are definite contenders.

3 GAMES TO WATCH

Orange Vista at El Monte, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.

Laguna Beach at Rio Hondo, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.

Glenn at Artesia, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.

PROJECTED TOP 5

Here are our projected top-5 teams in Division 12, in alphabetical order:

Adelanto2019 schedule

El Monte2019 schedule

Laguna Beach2019 schedule

Orange Vista2019 schedule

Savanna2019 schedule

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