2022 Dolphin Football Preview: Schedule, Game Preview

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By Zach Cavanagh

Game one: Friday, August 19, 7 p.m

university

Location: Dana Hills HS

Coaches: Vince Mesa

Record 2021: 2-8 (0-3 Pacific Valley League)

2021 against DH: DH win, 43-0

Season Outlook:

Last season was a bit of good news and a lot of bad news for the university.

The good news was that the Trojans won their first game since 2018, even winning back-to-back games to set a three-game winning record in the season.

The bad news was the following four straight shutouts as University was absolutely rolled by the Pacific Coast Conference. The Trojans lost their last seven games of the season with an aggregate score of 308-27.

The university has to change a lot to be successful this season.

Second game: Friday, August 26, 7 p.m

Lagoon beach

Location: Laguna Beach HS

Coaches: John Shanahan

Record 2021: 10-2 (3-0 Pac-4 League)

2021 against DH: DH won, 35-7

Season Outlook:

Laguna Beach was a strong offensive team, especially in the air, with 3,356 passing yards and 45 passing touchdowns. The Breakers’ only blemish in the regular season came against Dana Hills.

Like the Dolphins, however, Laguna Beach needs to rebuild that explosive offense as the Breakers graduate their quarterback and top receivers.

Despite being neighbors, Dana Hills and Laguna Beach haven’t played often. The two played for the first time in this millennium in 2018 when Laguna Beach won 34-8. Dana Hills won 2019 and again last season, 10-7.

Game three: Friday, September 9, 7 p.m

Aliso Niguel

Location: Dana Hills HS

Coaches: Michael Callahan

Record 2021: 4-6 (0-3 Sea View League)

2021 against DH: DH win, 29-28

Season Outlook:

Aliso Niguel was Dana Hills’ closest local rival on the football field, but the series has evolved in streaks. Dana Hills won eight straight from 2005 to 2013 and Aliso Niguel won the next five. The Dolphins broke the Wolverines’ streak with a last-minute touchdown in an all-out thriller last year.

This season, Aliso Niguel’s offense is in the hands of junior quarterback Hunter Najm, who started the last three games for the Wolverines. Najm threw for 605 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions in those games.

Game four: Friday, September 16, 7 p.m

wooden bridge

Location: Dana Hills HS

Coaches: Aaron Craver

Record 2021: 5-8 (Pacific Valley League)

2021 against DH: DH win, 34-6

Season Outlook:

Last season was a strange one for Woodbridge. The Warriors were handled fairly lightly in their non-league standings, rebounding for a couple of league wins and then assembling their best playoff run in years with a trip to the CIF-SS Division 12 semifinals.

The good thing for Woodbridge is that all of his key players are returning from this run. It was youth that took over late in the season.

Junior Edward Ma returns as quarterback, senior Feiamma Armstrong returns as running back, and senior Daniel Goodrich returns as receiver.

Game five: Friday, September 23, 7 p.m

Eisenhower

Location: Eisenhower HS

Coaches: Al Brown

Record 2021: 6-4 (2-1 San Andreas League)

2021 against DH: N/A, first meeting

Season Outlook:

Dana Hills welcomes a new face to his schedule when the Dolphins travel to Eisenhower at Rialto.

Last season, Eisenhower took his first steps on the football field since 2019, as the Eagles didn’t have a 2020 season at all due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Eisenhower was basically a two-man show with a running quarterback and a top receiver, both of whom graduated.

This is only Eisenhower’s second game against an Orange County team in recent years. The Eagles traveled to Newport Harbor in 2015.

Sixth game: Friday, September 30, 7 p.m

Beckman

Location: Dana Hills HS

Coaches: Marcello Giuliano

Record 2021: 2-8 (1-2 Pacific Valley League)

2021 against DH: DH win, 42-0

Season Outlook:

Last season was more than a struggle for Beckman as the Patriots found themselves on the wrong side of many big points. Beckman’s only two wins came in the season opener against a 2-7 Bellflower team and a 2-8 varsity team.

Beckman had five different players attempting a pass last season, three of whom earned big time. Two of those key quarterbacks were a freshman and a sophomore. The Patriots also return with their top rusher.

It’s a long road to fight for the Patriots.

Game seven: Friday, October 7, 7 p.m

Portola

Location: Dana Hills HS

Coaches: Peter Abe

Record 2021: 7-3 (0-3 Pacific Hills League)

2021 against DH: DH won, 35-28

Season Outlook:

Despite a league record without a win, Portola were an impressive team last season. Committed to ground play, the Bulldogs were competitive in every league game. Portola still qualified for the Division 9 playoffs but lost in the first round to eventual champion Colony of Ontario.

Portola graduated his star running back and quarterback, but the Bulldogs have proven to be a well-trained and disciplined group under Peter Abe. You will not be left behind this season.

Portola has posted a 21-8 record over the past three seasons.

Eight game: Friday, October 14, 7 p.m

irvine

Location: Irvine HS

Coaches: Tom Ricci

Record 2021: 10-1 (3-0 Pacific Hills League)

2021 against DH: Irvine wins, 47-28

Season Outlook:

Irvine recorded his first undefeated regular season since 2000 and last season won his second straight championship. The Vaqueros’ unfortunate reward in the new CIF-SS playoff system was a jump to Division 4 and an away game against eventual CIF-SS finalists St. Francis of La Canokay.

Irvine lost his league MVP running back and top receivers, but junior quarterback Joseph Tierney is making a comeback. The Vaqueros also bring their sack leader back on the defensive in senior defensive tackle Harry Soltes.

Irvine has won three of the last four against Dana Hills.

Game nine: Friday, October 21, 7 p.m

lagoon hills

Location: Laguna Hills HS

Coaches: John Lester

Record 2021: 7-4 (1-2 Pacific Hills League)

2021 against DH: DH win, 55-23

Season Outlook:

Laguna Hills is a prime candidate for significant improvement this season.

The Hawks had a strong run of results last season, with close-game wins and a playoff appearance in John Lester’s first season at the helm. Laguna Hills also brings back its starting quarterback, top two rushers, top four receivers, top tacklers, sack leader, and turnover leader.

Laguna Hills was good last season and with most of his squad intact they should get even better.

Senior Kaden Austin is the quarterback and seniors Nick Ferlauto and Troy Leigber are the returning running backs.

Game ten: Friday, October 28, 7 p.m

north wood

Location: Irvine HS

Coaches: JC Clarke

Record 2021: 9-6 (3-0 Pacific Valley League)

2021 against DH: DH win, 56-30

Season Outlook:

Northwood caught fire at the end of last season.

Once the Timberwolves reached league play, Northwood dominated their league opponents and rolled through the Division 11 playoffs for the program’s first CIF SS Championship.

Northwood is now moving up to the Pacific Coast League and while the challenge will be tougher, the Timberwolves will be better off given their playoff experience and a multitude of returnees.

Senior running back Adam Harper was Northwood’s biggest offensive threat, and he is joined by returning senior quarterback Eugene Miyata and senior receiver Andrew Penrod.

Zach Cavanagh

Zach Cavanagh is Sports Editor at Picket Fence Media. A multiple California Journalism Award winner, Zach has been covering sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. email to [email protected].

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