State bowl game appearances had become the norm at Gardena Serra in recent years. Expectations fell dramatically in 2011 following the graduation of elite talent, namely George Farmer and Marqise Lee. Still, Serra was good enough to earn a No. 1 seeding in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs, but stumbled in first-round shocker against Culver City.
The Cavaliers will be looking to bounce back this year. They have one of the region's top running backs in senior-to-be Anterio Bateman, and there's a crop of young talent moving up the ranks.
Quarterback Jalen Greene, athlete Jordan Lasley and linebacker Dwight Williams were among a handful of elite sophomores invited to USC's prestigious "Junior Day" camp last week.
Bateman averaged over nine yards per carry last season despite being limited by a nagging ankle injury. Greene accumulated more than 2,000 yards of offense and had 17 total touchdowns in a dual-threat role. Lasley transferred in from Carson, where he was the heir apparent to all-City Section honoree Darreus Rogers. Williams is the team's leading returning tackler.
Serra opens the season in late August against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame before leaving the state for a game in Utah.