Not to be presumptuous, but this could be the year if ever there was a year that Judge Memorial fans should put off vacation plans in early November.
The Bulldogs have made the playoffs in nine of the last 10 years, and with 17 players returning with experience and a total of 22 seniors on the team, it's easy to buy into the optimism coach James Cordova has for this year's team.
"The nice part of this group is we don't have a marquee guy," Cordova said. "There is a team mentality. If we can find some leadership, we can be a very good team. It all depends on who prevails as leaders. If they take charge on the field, we can be a pretty good team."
Quarterback Kaden Elliss returns to run the triple-option offense. He led the team in rushing and passing last year, but he could be pushed for playing time from Michael Perry.
Who leads the offense will depend on what opposing defenses do, but look for the combination of Henry Garcia, Max and Mark Barnett along with Michael Kearns to get the bulk of the carries.
There are plenty of options that will include Braden Pelly, Sean McMinimee, Scott McKennon, Malike Adams and Dominic Fuoco when Judge decides to throw.
With so much of the team back on offense, the biggest concern to start the season may be on defense.
Chase Radcliffe will be an anchor on the line, and McMinimee keys an experienced secondary that should make it difficult for other teams to have success through the air.
ASSIGNMENT • Class 3A North
LAST YEAR • 5-6 overall, 3-2 Region 10
KEY RETURNER • Quarterback Kaden Elliss returns as the team's leading rusher and has a firm grip on the offense.
PLAYER TO WATCH • Chase Radcliffe will be a key to the lines at guard on offense and nose guard on defense.
BIGGEST HOLE • There doesn't appear to be any glaring holes, but one concern with this team is size. The Bulldogs may not have enough size to hang with teams like Morgan.
NEED TO KNOW • With 22 seniors on the team, coach Cordova's biggest challenge could be balancing playing time and developing team chemistry.