The Sea Kings outscored opponents, by nearly 200 points, their 361 points ranked second in school single-season annals and the 288 points scored in the regular season were a school record.
And while an off-season strength program has produced impressive results, there remain enough personnel questions to cast doubt as to whether this team can sustain the level of prowess it exhibited last fall.
All three of Corona del Mar’s losses last season came to league champions, including both Southern Division finalists.
Here’s a position-by-position breakdown:
Quarterback: Mitch Sands fueled much of the aforementioned offensive prowess last year, en route to earning Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year recognition on his way to the University of San Diego.
But senior Michael Borchard, at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, won’t represent a significant drop-off, at least athletically, Hitchens said.
“He’s the fastest kid on the team, he’s wiry strong and his arm may be stronger than [Sands’] was last year,” Hitchens said.
But Borchard, who started some games at enters unproven, having thrown just two passes, completing one for 17 yards, in mop-up duty last season.
Junior Mitch Gardner is the backup, while sophomore Brent Lawson and senior John Christian, a returning starter at receiver, also provide depth.
Junior Clark Cashion was lost for the season after sustaining a broken arm in practice.
Steve Harrington will coach the quarterbacks and assume the role of offensive coordinator from Hitchens, with whom he coached at El Modena and Villa Park high schools.
Harrington was the receivers coach at Servite last season.