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Division I

September 11, 2002|Ben Bolch

2001 champion: Long Beach Poly.

League favorites: Redlands (Citrus Belt), Long Beach Poly (Moore), L.A. Loyola (Serra), Los Alamitos (Sunset).

Contenders: Rialto Eisenhower (Citrus Belt), Long Beach Jordan (Moore), Santa Ana Mater Dei, Santa Margarita (Serra), Huntington Beach Edison, Anaheim Esperanza (Sunset).

Key dates: Sept. 20, Redlands vs. Santa Margarita at Saddleback College; Oct. 12, Poly vs. Concord De La Salle at California; Oct. 18, Redlands at Eisenhower, Mater Dei vs. Loyola at East L.A. College; Oct. 26, Los Alamitos vs. Esperanza at Placentia Valencia High; Nov. 2, Santa Margarita vs. Loyola at Glendale High; Nov. 9, Santa Margarita vs. Mater Dei at Cal State Fullerton; Nov. 14, Edison vs. Los Alamitos at Long Beach Veterans Stadium; Nov. 15, Poly at Jordan.

The scoop: Early indications are that Poly and Edison, last year's playoff finalists, may not be as strong this season. Several coaches seem to think Poly has lost its aura of invincibility in the wake of graduating such standouts as running back Hershel Dennis and tight end Marcedes Lewis. Edison lost its season opener to Honolulu Iolani, which isn't considered one of the Hawaiian prep powers. Los Alamitos could contend for its first section title since it won Division II in 1993.

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